I tried to see if the kids would be interested in watching the FA Cup this evening. I hooked them in by telling them they'd be able to eat crisps while watching it, which was enough to get my daughter's interest. But that's my main memory of FA Cups of the 70s and 80s. We were allowed to watch the whole build up to the 3 o clock kick off and because it was a special day we could have treats. I barely remember anything else at all, except for the commentator once saying "Sweet skills by Brady" which I still occasionally quote, even though hardly anyone would understand that reference. Brady's FA Cup was an exciting one. I think if ended up 3-2 to one of the teams. I think one of the teams wore yellow. And there was a man with a moustache and long hair. Obviously there's no way of checking up on this after all this time.
I was mainly there for the crisps.
Like all FA Cup viewers of my age I, of course, bemoan TV having ruined the tradition of crisps (and bowls of minstrels) by moving the FA Cup to an evening kick off, but we are correct to bemoan it, because an evening kick off is rubbish.
In the end we didn't eat crisps, but some chocolate cake that I'd made with the kids (or maybe in spite of the kids) this afternoon. I'd forgotten to put in the baking soda so it was more like chocolate brownies, but it was still a cheat. Phoebe, continuing the fine Herring tradition of not really being that interested in football, decided to support the blue team, but I wanted the purple ones to win. Ernie wasn't interested. And Phoebe wasn't for long when the score stayed steadfastly at 0-0. "What's the count now?" she'd ask. "Are my time winning?"
Being constantly told that both teams had nothing was unsurprisingly a bit boring and Phoebe was soon on her iPad, whilst Ernie had been grasped by the post 5pm devil of tiredness and was just emptying out boxes of toys and flipping things over on their side. Maybe next year they will be gripped by the sporting narrative. Or at least realise that if they shut up and sit down they can fill themselves with food.
The purples won, but I was doing bed time by then so missed most of the last minute drama. Phoebe and I watched the last couple of minutes on my phone and she now pretended to be interested, knowing this would give her two more minutes before lights out. But despite that we connected a bit and she cannily decided to support both teams when she learned that hers was losing. Maybe next year.
The other big event like this was the Eurovision song contest, which I see is on next week, but I don't think I can bear having to sit through that now. Though as a kid that one sometimes surpassed the crisps. Falling in love with the blonde one from Abba was a seminal moment for the six year old me. She so bedazzled me that I can't even remember what snacks we were eating. So that's true love.