Belfast Telegraph

Two doctors, but just one Time Lord and a bit of Prince in BBC FA Cup Manchester United, Everton showdown

By Billy Weir

You have to hand it to the Beeb, when they get hold of an idea they flog it to within an inch of its life, as was the case in Saturday's FA Cup semi-final between Manchester United and Everton.

We began proceedings with clocks ticking and fans tocking - and then talking - to emphasise that it had been a long time since either team had made it to the final.

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We were told how times had changed, it was time for a change and the time was 5.15pm shown by use of a thing called a clock and just in case you hadn't quite got it, Gary Lineker told us it was 'time for the Emirates FA Cup semi-final'. Really? Doesn't time fly when…

Then it was time for out guests, Alan Shearer and Kevin Kilbane very much in the blue corner while straddling both was Louis Saha who was injured equally for both teams in his career, and helpfully pointed out and slipped in a gentle plug for the next day too that the cup was a sprint and the league a marathon. It was time for bigger plugs later about Dr Who, but take your time, we'll get to that.

It was also time for another Louis, that of the Van Gaal variety when the United boss was asked by reporter Dan Walker 'what does an FA Cup semi-final mean to you?'

"I don't know yet, it's my first," came the reply, said LVG, a man only 90 minutes away from being shown the door, something that would resonate with Sir Alex Ferguson, the original Time Lord, as Fergie Bingo returned to our screens.

This is a game I have devised and it can roll over so excitement is unlimited, unlike watching United these days, where you pick the time when Fergie will be shown looking as bored in the stands and throw a quid into the pot. For the record, his first appearance on Saturday was 18 minutes and 52 seconds.

That may have been easier to predict than Marouane Fellaini scoring the opening goal, like Tom Hanks tipping Leicester for the title, a big shout and let's hope he doesn't cast away his docket because they're extremely loud and incredibly close to doing it.

Time to move on and at half-time we went back in time with Graham Taylor to look back at Watford, who were to take on Crystal Palace in Sunday's second semi-final, but we were soon back with Lineker, who managed to plug the highlights coverage of that game.

"There's something else coming up on BBC1, the doctor has a new companion - and a lot of Daleks," he said, and, in fairness, not the first time Lineker has been accused of talking a lot of Daleks, before we had footage of a strangely-spoken middle-aged man accompanied by a younger curly-haired saviour - it turns out it wasn't LVG and Fellaini but Dr Who and his new sidekick.

"The Doctor isn't the only person with a new companion because Dan Walker is pitchside with Lee Martin who scored the winning goal in the 1990 Cup Final," interjected Lineker, with the hero of that time a little larger than 26 years ago.

But not as large as some as Fergie Bingo sorted for the day we were back in the crowd and commentator Steve Wilson helping us out by saying 'now that's a familiar face, the Brazilian Ronaldo' and a bit like Martin, you wouldn't like to getting the pair of them and an angry Dalek into the TARDIS in a hurry.

Everton grabbed an equaliser and in the nick of time Anthony Martial scored the winner, Wilson pointing out 'that the goal comes in what they used to call Fergie time' but the last words went to Lineker.

"Manchester United win an FA Cup match at Wembley for the first time in 17 years with a brilliant finish from their young prince, tonight they're going to party like it's 1999," he said as the purple-clad pop star's famous song closed the show.

It wasn't the only blast from the past as another Doctor stole the show on BT Sport the following day as Valentino Rossi turned back the clock to win the Spanish MotoGP.

It was even better though to see the superb Suzi Perry, who failed to survive Formula One's move from the BBC to Channel Four, back in the land where she first rose to fame. And another timely plug.

"Speedway has a new home, fast, filthy and so much fun," she said, as I checked to see if I'd stumbled into a TARDIS by mistake, but no it really happened. Man Utd in a cup final, a new Dr Who assistant, Rossi winning and Suzi Perry in leather, never mind turning back time, the good times are back.

Belfast Telegraph


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