Things have changed since I was a lad and “the Cup” was a big thing.
Mind you, a lot has changed since I was a lad. Colour tellies, mobile phones – you get the picture.
But winning the cup was a massive event back in the day and I can remember what seemed like the whole of east London turning out in 1975 to welcome back West Ham.
It was the same back in 1980 when I forgot I’d just become a surly teenager and joined in the knees-up at East Ham town hall the day after we beat Arsenal.
Trevor Brooking’s bullet header will always be a highlight and it’s to the Emirates Stadium we turn again this weekend in the hope of making a profit.
Now Arsene Wenger is usually one of the worst offenders when it comes to snubbing the cups with weakened teams.
But this season things are a bit different down north London way.
The locals are well and truly revolting as TV pictures graphically highlighted last weekend during Arsenal’s defeat by Man Utd.
It was stunning to see Arsene Wenger booed by some of Islington’s finest over his controversial substitutions.
Wenger doesn’t get everything right but I’m sure the Arsenal boss knows a bit more about the game than the average N1 wine bar pundit.
And to that end he knows the crowd won’t stand for a second string being bundled out of the cup.
This is Arsenal’s last realistic chance of any silverware this season so I expect a full-strength Gunners team to be fired-up from the whistle against Aston Villa.
Wenger will be urging his men to get the crowd back on side with an early strike so Paddy Power’s price of 7/5 about the home team winning at half time and full time looks worth a punt.
The rest of the ties all look a bit trappy but Man Utd at 7/4 to beat Liverpool makes some appeal and Fulham could spring a 14/5 surprise at Everton.
Of course West ham have taken their traditional early bath in the competition.
Just as well really, I’m not sure my old man would be up to carrying me on his shoulders at the victory parade any more.
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