Belfast Telegraph

Auf Wiedersehen to Zlatan and cups

By Billy Weir

For fans of knock-out action, thankfully there was something more edifying to watch than David Haye over on Dave as Europe went cup crazy at the weekend.

From Glasgow to Berlin and all places in between there appeared to be a final happening somewhere, so here's my look at how things panned out across the continent - just don't tell anyone from the Brexit camp.

A is for Auf Wiedersehen: The highlight of the German Cup final on BT Sport came right at the start with Pep Guardiola's final match as Bayern Munich boss billed as Auf Wiedersehen Pep. They should have just stopped there, a deadly dull scoreless draw saw him end his Bayern career with a win on penalties against Borussia Dortmund, a man called Douglas Costa scoring the deciding one. His name was clearly on the cup.

B is for bygone days: Things took a slightly unsavoury turn as Hibs got the better of Rangers in a classic Scottish Cup final on Sky, where co-commentator Andy Walker was disgusted by the post-match shenanigans. "We're seeing images that are reminiscent of 1980, it's an absolute scandal, fights breaking out everywhere here," he said... so like a normal night out in Glasgow really.

C is for Coppell: A purely self-indulgent one here, my boyhood footballing hero Steve Coppell bringing on the FA Cup with Sir Alex Ferguson before the game. He was the man who started my love affair with all things No.7 - that's the United shirt, not the Boots make-up range.

D is for Davie: Back in Glasgow and in the studio Neil McCann gave us some insight into the character of former team-mate and now Rangers assistant manager David Weir. "You knew Davie was a wee bit different, we'd be away playing golf or playing Playstation, Davie was going to the Antiques Roadshow," he said. I know he was old when he played but that's a tad harsh.

E is for Spain: The Copa Del Rey final in Espana and they do things a little differently with Barcelona's Javier Mascherano sent off in the win over Sevilla in Madrid, accompanied by a Sky caption of 'Capital Punishment'. A bit much, over here it is only a two-game ban.

F is for Fergie: Having safely delivered the cup to its perch, Sir Alex took time out to have a chat with the BT Sport team on the sidelines, including Ian Wright demanding to know why he hadn't signed him. "Because you were too f****** dear," came the response, conveniently missed by presenter Jake Humphrey and almost everyone else because they were watching BBC1.

G is for Gullit: And why not with gems such as the following provided by Ruud Gullit: "Crystal Palace are the underdogs, you never know how a cow can catch a rabbit, but it could happen," he said, as a strange puff of smoke emanated from the studio and someone set off for a lot of confectionery rambling on about Eagles and Red Devils.

H is for horses: A nice touch by the SFA to mark the length of time it had been since Hibs last won the cup by sending on horses at the end to join in the celebrations with the fans. Rangers supporters were slightly confused as to whether to join in or not but when a white horse arrived they soon found their mojo again.

I is for Italia: Worst match of the weekend but the best anthem as always belonged to Italy and with AC Milan taking on Juventus, there was no guessing who Sky turned to for expert opinion - Trevor Francis, David Platt, Graeme Souness, Luther Blissett? No, Garry Birtles. He once almost opened a jar of Dolmio.

J is for Jimmy: Possibly the highlight of the BBC's build-up to the final was Jimmy Hill: A Man for All Seasons, a fascinating look back at the life and times of the man who was Match of the Day for me in my childhood. What's that? It was a repeat from earlier in the week? Very unlike the Beeb that.

K is for KK: Sky commentator Kevin Keatings doing a Jackie as it's known in the business as Barca took the lead against Sevilla. "And Neymar's in there," he bellowed, only to find that it wasn't the Brazilian but everyone's favourite Scotsman from Newcastle, Jordi Alba, who had scored.

L is for Logan: One for fans of One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest as Gabby Logan turned up with her one-woman tribute to the evil Nurse Ratched, bedecked in white tunic, white top and strange comfy shoes, and then came dressed as the Proclaimers in a pre-recorded piece with Yannick Bolasie later on.

M is for Music: And talking of that, Sky's David Tanner was struggling to drown out the musings of the Leith rock behemoths at Hampden: "I hope you can hear us over The Proclaimers, they're not here today, they've got a gig down south," he told us. "Is it 500 miles away?" asked Neil McCann. Genius.

N is for Neville: Dan Walker taking a walk down Wembley memory way with Phil Neville, reminding him that he missed a history exam to attend the 1990 final. "I didn't need that though when I was playing and Marc Overmars was running at me, but all kids out there make sure you do your exams," said Phil.

O is for Oops: BBC commentator Guy Mowbray reliably informed us that the National Anthem at Wembley would be sung by Karen Harding, whose 'debut single 'Say Something' reached No.7 in the charts'. Her follow-up on Saturday should have been 'Sing Something' as she stood silently looking blankly into the London air as 90,000 people around her belted out God Save The Queen.

P is for Pointless: Dan Walker handing us over to that rarest of all commodities - a BBC repeat - for a special FA Cup version of Pointless, so special they showed it last year, but worth seeing for Walker's quiz partner, Mark Lawrenson, letting himself down a bagful with 'name a country beginning with A'. It still isn't Alaska.

Q is for Question of Sport: Lawro may have let himself down on Pointless but showed great bouncebackability on A Question of Sport by being on the winning team on a special FA Cup version of the panel show. I'm surprised there wasn't a special FA Cup version of Crimewatch with a reconstruction of Arsenal stealing the trophy from United in 2005.

R is for Referee: Not a great weekend for the men in black, blue, white, yellow and red, with Mark Clattenburg having a nightmare at Wembley but Spanish cohort Carlos del Cerro Grande kept up a proud cup tradition by needing treatment for cramp. Of course, Carlos del Cerro Grande translates as Charlie the big girl's blouse.

S is for sums: Ian Crocker had been a busy boy in the build-up to the Scottish Cup. "We were all here the day Hibs finally won the Scottish Cup, after 114 years, 41,664 days of waiting for it, six little words that generations of Hibs fans have waited for," he said. I think they were 'Hibs finally lift the Scottish Cup' but it could have been 'get off the pitch, you muppets'.

T is for Tiny: A worrying trend continues as entertainment is needed before a football match, with Tinie Tempah drafted in just to ensure the FA Cup final had no chance of kicking off on time. "I can only assume Tinie Tempah is so tiny they can't find him," said Gary Lineker, who managed to get through a whole programme without mentioning Leicester.

U is for unnecessary: Never mind the ugly scenes at Hampden, the sight of Alan Pardew busting some moves after Palace's goal for an all-too premature victory dance was even more disturbing, although the sight of Louis van Gaal barrelling down from his seat to celebrate like a cow chasing a rabbit probably edged it.

V is for vocabulary: Over on BT Sport again Paul Scholes may score goals but he could do with buying a thesaurus. "This is a big game, it's massive for Manchester United, it's massive for Wayne Rooney, it's massive for Michael Carrick, massive for the manager, massive for the fans." Clearly it was massive.

W is for walkabout: Also on BT Sport, presenter Jake Humphrey and Rio Ferdinand played second fiddle to Ian Wright, voted Crystal Palace's greatest ever player, we were informed, breaking off to hug Eagles fans in the crowd. That's Crystal Palace supporters, not followers of the smooth, melodic easy-listening tones of Glenn Frey and co.

X is for X-rated: There were some pretty disturbing and distressing sights at Hampden Park as some people on the pitch took things a little far but nothing quite as jaw-dropping as the sight of a big bare-chested Rangers fan, no stranger to a Blue Nose burger, being trailed off by stewards.

Y is for Yannick: Crystal Palace's Mr Bolasie joined by Nurse Ratched on his old stamping ground in south London briefly on Football Focus and then a longer version before the start on BBC1 and he has now taken over from Mr Noah as the only Yannick anyone ever knew.

Z is for Zlatan: And saving the best for last, the French Cup final was a real cracker, two goals from Mnsr Ibrahimovic helping PSG see off Marseille, although somehow lots of goals, two teams who hate each other and fans going crazy at the end wasn't deemed worthy of showing on telly. Then again, Glasgow had fulfilled those requirements and the Beeb probably thought it was a repeat.

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