The glittering Football Association Challenge Cup – yup, that’s its full name – was displayed at the British Consulate in San Francisco earlier this month (AP Photo).
You can when holders Manchester City play the Galaxy at 1 p.m. at Home Depot Center (live on ESPN).
Tickets, starting at $30, are still available.
The knockout FA Cup, where minnows were pitted against giants beginning in the third round and the tournament built to its day-long televised finale a la the Super Bowl, was a much-loved and prestigious sporting event when I was growing up in England, unlike the lightly-regarded U.S. Open Cup here.
It’s Victorian Era beginnings – it began in 1871 – and reputation for unlikely giant-killing moments (Hereford United and Ronny Radford anyone?) gave the tournament an air of nostalgia and romance.
The 1923 “white horse” final (the first at Wembley), the epic 1953 Stanley Matthews final and classics like Chelsea-Leeds United in 1971 on that bog of a pitch are an integral part of the competition’s lore.
And the indelible images of any post-final celebration always included the iconic trophy being held aloft by the captain and its lid atop the Man of the Match’s head.
From the Football Association website:
The original trophy, much smaller than the present one, was made by Messrs Martin, Hall & Co. and cost 20. In 1895, after Aston Villa had won the competition, the cup was stolen from the window of a firm of football outfitters in Birmingham where it had been placed on display. It was never recovered.
The present trophy, played for since 1992, is the competition’s fourth and an exact replica of the third. Manchester United have won the Cup the most times (11), followed by Arsenal (10) and Tottenham Hotspur (eight). Forty-two different clubs have won it.
But never by Norwich City – not that I’m bitter (ahem).
From the Galaxy press release:
Fans at Sunday’s game will be able to have their photo taken with the actual FA Cup that Manchester City won last year, as well as the Supporters’ Shield which the Galaxy won in 2010 for having the best regular season record in MLS. Additionally, fans will have the chance to enter to win an authentic Galaxy or Manchester City jersey from Sunday’s game, simply by having their photo taken with either of the trophies inside the Southwest entrance of the stadium.
City beat Stoke City 1-0 to win the cup.
Now Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson is describing his club’s closest rival as being among the favorites for the EPL title.