Belfast Telegraph

Being Butch helps in search for romance of the FA Cup

By Billy Weir

The FA Cup took centre stage at the weekend with the minnows given the chance to go Fourth and multiply but as it turned out, the big fish had little to worry about.

First to avoid the hook was Manchester United on Friday night (this will never be right) as they travelled to take on Derby County with Gary Lineker lurking around looking mysterious, either that or looking to avoid someone.

"For both clubs the old world shadows hang heavy in the air," he warned as the music from True Detective kicked in and we got a montage of when both clubs were good before we cut to the studio and Gary told us "true perspective is required after another turbulent week".

"I'd love to see a win and in that win I'd love to see some goals, good play and exciting tricks by players," said United's great Dane Peter Schmeichel, but let's face it, a scrappy win would Scooby Doo for them at the minute.

"All my friends are Man United fans and they're bored to tears," said Robbie Savage and all viewers were shocked as United won easily and even moreso with the revelation that Savage had friends other than Darren Fletcher, who he was back with the following day as the FA Cup train moved on to Colchester, up against Tottenham.

It didn't augur well as Fletch and Sav were prevented access to the Weston Homes Community Stadium (ah, the romance of it all…) and a hilarious sketch ensued with all the day's guests playing their part, with Owen Hargreaves pushing a lawnmower. He is recovering well in hospital.

The highlights of the show, apart from Robbie struggling to read, were Ray Wilkins and a great piece with Ronnie Radford, the man who scored that goal for Hereford against Newcastle when romance was very much alive in the cup.

Wilkins, or Butch as he was known in his playing days, or Raymondo as he is known to only Savage, was in great form, saying Chelsea's new striker Pato "looked rather jowly, a bit chubby" although he did provide a solution for linesmen of a similar ilk trying to keep up with players.

"They don't run the line on motorbikes, they can't catch (Raheem) Sterling up, he runs at a rate of knots," said Butch, clearly not remembering that you can't ride a Honda on water, unless of course it is a motorpike and sidecarp…

"Not only that, it would have to be a 750 because they run so quickly these days," he continued but it wasn't just the linesmen struggling to keep up as Colchester were thumped and onto Sunday and it was the same story as BT Sport and BBC tried in vain for big fish to flounder at Carlisle and in Milton Keynes but Everton and Chelsea refused to play ball.

Even reuniting old lovers Alan Shearer and Ruud Gullit couldn't light a fire, Lineker asking "what possesses a manager when he's got a striker who's a proven goalscorer to unload someone like that?" but they've long since kissed and made up, so our last hope for FA Cup romance was when Gullit joined Mark Lawrenson for the draw.

And then it arrived, Shrewsbury Town will play Manchester United and not at Gay Meadow but at the New Meadow. Who said romance was dead?

Belfast Telegraph


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