Take That! The FA Cup keeps on fighting back, while it’s hats off to the battling Elise Christie
PUBLISHED: 18:13 23 February 2018 | UPDATED: 07:55 24 February 2018
Bacon’s Bites: In this week’s column, Mike Bacon takes a look at how the FA Cup is alive and kicking, plus, have you taken in a Spanish football game?
Ipswich Town fans have forgotten what it is like to win an FA Cup tie.
All the more galling when you see the likes of Rochdale and Wigan fans enjoying their day in the sun thanks to the world’s oldest and best knock-out domestic football competition.
The last time Town won an FA Cup tie (versus Blackpool in January 2010), many children currently at Primary School in Suffolk weren’t even born.
It’s a pathetic record but I suppose, like you, I wouldn’t mind if it had been Chelsea (which admittedly it was in 2011), Man U, Arsenal and Liverpool, who had sent the Blues packing year in, year out.
Still, we’ve been over all this, even though my mate down the pub, ‘Crafty’, still goes on about losing to Lincoln City in last season’s competition.
I’ve told him he needs to move on. But it doesn’t help when Man City are beaten by Wigan and Rochdale grab a late equaliser against Spurs - both teams still in this season’s sixth round draw!
And isn’t it great that, despite all the ‘elite’ clubs and those who are interested only in money, not trophies, wanting to rubbish the FA Cup, you can’t keep the old competition down.
Hell, I even enjoyed watching Gary Lineker (who I am no great fan of), interviewing Keith Hill, the Rochdale boss, after his side’s late leveller at Spotland last Sunday evening.
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The game itself was pure footballing drama and far more exciting than Chelsea’s 1-1 draw with Barcelona in the ‘money, money, money’ Champions League.
Talking of Spanish football, which we weren’t but Barcelona is - still at least - in Spain!
I was in the land of sunshine and sherry last week and it was really rather cold – for Spain anyhow.
Indeed, it made me smile to think of West Brom players enjoying that ‘warm winter break’ in 12 degree ‘heat’. No wonder a few of them resorted to taking the taxi in the early hours – would have been freezing walking home, I can vouch.
Anyhow, back to my trip to Spain.
And luckily for me and the family, Villarreal, our Spanish ‘team’ were at home on the day we arrived at the nearby airport in Castellon.
I know, the wife couldn’t believe the luck of it!!
Indeed, 25 minutes after landing, I’m picking up our tickets for the La Liga clash with Alaves. I don’t know if you have ever been to a Spanish La Liga match but it is quite fun and very affordable. I recommend it.
Derbies apart, most tickets are available, many on the day – all the more so for European games, where, unlike England, season ticket holders don’t automatically get in. Few sides regularly sell out before match day, either.
There is invariably a friendly atmosphere around the ground with fewer away fans travelling as they do in England – the 70 or so Alaves fans in the Estadio de la Cerámica – renamed last year to recognise the local ceramic industry in Villarreal – perched high in the gods up one end of the ground...A bit like Newcastle.
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The stadium has almost 25,000 seats, a figure which is half the population of the city of Villarreal. There can’t be many, if any, grounds in England that can boast that!
Anyhow the ‘Yellow Submarines’ as the home side are known due to their shirt colour, were well and truly sunk!... Losing 2-1! I blamed the cold weather, Alaves in the north of Spain are used to the cold!
There was plenty of ‘hijo de puta!’ (son of a bitch) expletives coming from the home fans as their team struggled to fulfil their high-flying position in La Liga and at the final whistle... the whistles (not boos), rung out.
A shame really, Villarreal had beaten Read Madrid in the Bernabéu just a few weeks earlier.
Still, if you are going to play in yellow...!!
I haven’t been watching much of the Winter Olympics, have you?
It’s probably the time thing in PyeongChang that stops me. Everything seems to take place when I’m at work and I can’t get into the ‘Today at the Winter Olympics’ on the Beeb later that night.
However, I have taken a slight interest in speed skater Elise Christie – is there currently a more unlucky sportsperson on the planet?
The 27-year-old from Livingston, in Scotland was disqualified not once, not twice, but three times in the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia four years ago.
And this time, in South Korea, the British athlete has fallen twice (once in the 1,500m semi-final and once in the 500m final) and was disqualified in the 1000m heats!
How many black cats has she run over?
“I promise Britain I will fight back from this and I will come back in Beijing in four years and hopefully I can do Britain proud then,” a tearful Christie said.
Good for her I say. I wish here the best of luck.