Pretend Cup Finals
If there’s one football cliché that irks MOMS the most it’s when a manager or owner refers to the remaining games of a season as cup finals. “We now have 10 cup finals left” etc.
Former Villa boss Paul Lambert used to be very fond of the phrase when we were fighting relegation every season, and we’d go on to lose more of these ‘cup finals’ then we’d win.
Yet, it hasn’t put Lambert off using the cliché once again at his latest job and even stretching out the amount of cup finals a team can have in a season.
Paul, you can’t have 15 cup finals in a season. It’s almost half a Premier League season. They call it a league for a reason; it’s a series of games with a league table to collect combined results to show who’s the best. It’s not a knock-out tournament, mate.
Using the analogy only ends in doom. Two months on from Lambert’s latest use of the ‘cup finals’ cliché, when you transfer the fictional cup finals results into the real league table, Stoke are now in the relegation zone.
Anyway, enough of Lambert.
Villa & Cups
After Villa’s 4-1 win against Wolves there were a few giddy references in the media and from Villa staff to there being 10 cup finals remaining of the Championship season. It was perhaps odd as a Villa fan to now hear the cliché used in the positive light of promotion rather than relegation.
Unfortunately, the result seems to be the same.
What happened in the first of these cup finals? It was a performance so lacklustre against QPR, that I was transported back to Wembley Stadium in May 2015, when Arsenal were met with minimal resistance for their 4-0 win in Villa’s last proper cup final.
Now the Villa owner Doctor Tony is talking about there being nine cup finals left. I smell danger ahead!
Heads up and do the best for the last 9 finals, all lads. @JackGrealish1 @robsnodgrass7 @ConorHourihane @grabbs22 @ScottHogan_9 @lansburyhenri @AVFCOfficial I believe chances are still in our ‘feet’! #UTV
— Dr. Tony Xia (@Dr_TonyXia) March 14, 2018
Recent Cup Final Woes
The last time Aston Villa won a proper cup final was in 1996. Unless the cup final is in preseason ala the Peace Cup and Club of Traditions, then it’s perhaps not the most inspirational of rally calls.
Villa’s last three cup finals have featured two of the most disappointing performances by a Villa team I have ever seen in my decades supporting the club.
The aforementioned performance against Arsenal in 2015 was so shocking, never have so many Villa fans left a game with around half an hour still to play.
Watching the previous FA Cup final Villa were involved in, the infamously dull last FA Cup final at the old Wembley stadium against Chelsea in 2000, was akin to having your toe nails slowly pulled out over 90 minutes.
So depressing was the match as a game of football, I think they would have knocked Wembley down after that match anyway, even if it wasn’t scheduled to be modernised.
The League Cup final loss against Manchester United in 2010 was the other more recent cup final that eventually saw Villa come up short. Bar a poor referee decision, the outcome could have been different, but you shouldn’t cry too much, if you’re relying on the opposition to go down to 10 men to beat them.
So, to recap, Villa have lost their last three proper cup finals:
2015 – Arsenal 4 Villa 0 (FA Cup)
2010 – Manchester United 2 Aston Villa 1 (League Cup)
2000 – Chelsea 1 Aston Villa 0 (FA Cup)
Plus, it’s been 22 years since the club last won a cup final – beating Leeds 3-0 in the 1996 League Cup final.
So can we please ditch the ‘now we have [insert how many games left] cup finals to play’ cliché.
It’s getting us nowhere!
A Venglos View is a satirical (and sometimes surreal) look at the Villa. 😉