If Arsenal win the FA Cup come 30th May, Arsene Wenger will win the trophy for the sixth time and the boss has been speaking about his admiration for the cup.
If we succeed against Aston Villa, Wenger will have won the cup more times than Sir Alex Ferguson – this is a huge achievement. An achievement that’s not lost on Le Professeur.
The Frenchman has spoken about how he used to watch the cup as a young boy, admiring the teams, pitches and coaches from afar.
“It was a dream when I was a kid to watch the FA Cup,” he said. “It was one of the competitions you could watch in black and white on television. What struck me was the ball was white and the pitch was perfect, absolutely immaculate, because I played in a village where the pitch was a disaster. The players had their hair well combed, and the managers were relaxed at that time – they joked together on the bench.”
The manager went on to describe how the cup is different to other trophies, including the league; that the atmosphere and feel of the matches is completely removed from the rest. The fans, commentators and pundits alike all refer to the ‘magic‘ of the FA Cup and it seems the boss has picked up on that.
“I believe the FA Cup is the best domestic knockout competition in the world, because it is the most traditional, this is the country where the FA Cup has been the first competition. I understood very quickly after arriving at Arsenal nearly 20 years ago that when the FA Cup games approached, they are something different, these games are something special.”
He added, “You go to Wembley, it is a special day for the fans and the responsibility you feel as a manager that day is even bigger.”
Interestingly, he added that part of the cup’s charm is also the ability for anyone to win it. He clarified, “If you are in the FA Cup everyone can dream of winning it at the start of the season, while the (Premier League) – only seven clubs can dream of winning it. In the (Premier League) you can talk and talk, but we know the biggest budget will win it. That open dream is what makes (the FA Cup) special in football. In basketball if you play against a team from Division Two, there is absolutely no chance unless you give them 30 points (start), only our sport can create that excitement because it is uncertain.”
It’s exciting to have a manager who loves the FA Cup just as much as the fans. The way we’ve approached and succeeded in all our cup games this season thus far has proven that. Hopefully we approach the final in the same way.