By Chris Wright
It’s being reported this morning that ITV are planning to put the FA Cup Final back to 5:30pm in an attempt to ‘freshen up’ and ‘bring back the magic’ of the competition.
Discussions regarding the switch are apparently at an advanced level, with FA and TV executives agreeing that a later kick-off would maximise viewing figures and advertising revenue, but Malcolm Clarke of the Football Supporters Federation thinks that the later start time would appall most fans;
“The FA Cup has a great tradition and we see no reason to depart from that by moving it to an evening kick off. It would be hugely unpopular with supporters and would damage the famous competition.
There are already too many evening kick offs and supporters are suffering just to keep TV companies happy.”
The final has always traditionally kicked-off at 3pm and has only ever deviated three times since the FA Cup was first contested in 1872: In 1873 it began at 11:30am so as not to clash with the Boat Race, in 1896 it began an hour late and in 1923 the kick-off was delayed for 45 minutes due to crowd congestion.
Personally, it make no difference to me as there’s no danger of me having any vested interest in either of the two teams competing (Forest fan) but money talks (or rather screams like a howler monkey with it’s nadgers caught in a bear trap) in football these days so expect to see the final bumped back sooner rather than later – all in the name of ‘progress’.