The key moment in Manchester City history? Many would say the Abu Dhabi takeover on 1 September 2008. But it may not have happened without this Wembley in 1999.
The gap between the two clubs’ fortunes could not have been more acute in the run-up to those finals. City had failed to secure one of the automatic promotion places, finishing well adrift of runaway champions Fulham and five points behind second-placed Walsall. The day before United secured their 12th league title by beating Tottenham 2-1 at Old Trafford in front of 55,189 fans, City had travelled to Springfield Park to draw 1-1 with Wigan Athletic in the first leg of a playoff semi-final that was watched by a crowd of just 6,672.
In a statement on Friday Marciniak said people had been “rightfully alarmed and disappointed” by his presence at the event and said: “I want to express my deepest apologies for my involvement and any distress or harm it may have caused.”
Memory lane: perhaps the best goal in PL history?
A Premier League spokesperson said: “We are shocked and appalled by the unacceptable abuse directed at Anthony Taylor and his family as they travelled back from the UEFA Europa League Final. No one should have to suffer the inexcusable behaviour they had to endure yesterday.
“Anthony is one of our most experienced and accomplished match officials and we fully support him and his family.”
There’s only one team in Manchester. It just depends on who you think that is.
Drinking a breakfast can of Monster energy drink at the Bishop Blaize, a United pub round the corner, Mike Bennett was also looking forward to Saturday’s match. With multicoloured hair and a suit covered in patches, he looked like someone you ought to recognise – which you would if you are into the Blockheads, as he is their lead singer. He described himself as a “passive fan”, until moving to a flat in nearby Media City and becoming a “massive fan”.
He hoped to squeeze in to the Bishop Blaize on Saturday and predicted a 2-1 win for United. The pub manager plonked down Bennett’s beans on toast and interjected with his own prediction: “Three-nil to City.” Hang on a minute, the manager of the nearest pub to Old Trafford is a blue? Apparently so.
Stu Goodwin has been rifling through the transfer rumours; what a summer it’s going to be.
Crysencio Summerville mainly got Leeds fans out of their seats for a 20-day period straddling last October and November, which was when all of his four league goals came, including notable late winners against Liverpool and Bournemouth. He’s remained on the Cherries’ radar, who have joined Crystal Palace in showing interest in signing the 21-year-old Dutch forward.
Kai Havertz, and his 19 league goals in three seasons at Chelsea, could send Spanish eyebrows shooting towards the ozone layer if he is indeed being earmarked to fill a forthcoming Karim Benzema-shaped hole at Real Madrid. The Frenchman, admittedly now 35, is said to be close to taking his 68-goals-in-three-La-Liga-campaigns talents to pepper Saudi nets at Al-Ittihad.
Friend of the website Steven Pye has sent in his old-fashioned FA Cup final TV memories.
Strictly not a crucial part of the FA Cup final day experience, but as the cameras panned around the terraces, there were always a few homemade banners that stood out. Here is a selection of a few I spotted during my research, but I’m sure there are plenty of others that some of you will recall.
Hoddle’s got more spice than Currie (1982)
Miller grinds Hazell’s nuts (1982)
Simon Stainrod eats three Shredded Wheat (1982)
Our Currie’s hotter than vindaloo (1982)
Currie gives Spurs the shits (1982)
Bald is beautiful (1983 – a Brighton fan’s tribute to manager Jimmy Melia)
Look out Elton – Hair we go (1984)
Sorry Elton, I Guess That’s Why They Call Us The Blues (1984)
We’re expecting reaction and developments through the day on this story, for which a special one ought to be feeling a certain level of responsibility.
After the incident at the airport, the body responsible for officials in the English professional game said in a statement on Thursday evening: “PGMOL is aware of videos circulating on social media showing Anthony Taylor and his family being harassed and abused at Budapest Airport.
“We are appalled at the unjustified and abhorrent abuse directed at Anthony and his family as he tries to make his way home from refereeing the Uefa Europa League final. We will continue to provide our full support to Anthony and his family.”
Brendan Rodgers for Leeds could work – for a couple of years, at least.
Perhaps the club dieticians preclude this behaviour these days. Still it lines the stomach.
The Messi reunion with Barcelona – Ronaldo always was a pioneer – looks to be on. What could possibly go wrong for a new team finding its way back and title winners?
Still, the removal of Phil Neville from Inter Miami has set a few minds thinking there’s a chance the great man heads to MLS.
Perhaps the least surprising news of the day: Leeds have announced Sam Allardyce will leave the club by mutual consent.
The club statement:
Leeds United and Sam Allardyce can confirm that both parties have mutually agreed for Sam’s spell at the club to end following the completion of the 2022-23 season. Sam joined the Whites for the final four games of the campaign and despite spirited performances against Manchester City and Newcastle United, the objective of staying in the Premier League was not reached.
It has been an honour to manage Leeds United, a great club with an incredible fan base, who deserve to be in the Premier League. I have really enjoyed working with the staff and players at the club and I would like to thank Angus Kinnear for the opportunity.
I’d also like to highlight the outstanding work of (assistants) Karl Robinson and Robbie Keane who have worked tirelessly over the past few weeks. At this stage in my career I am not sure taking on this challenge, which is potentially a long-term project, is something I could commit to, but I wish the club every success for the future and hope the club returns to the Premier League, where they belong.
FA Cup finals weekend, the one that matters most. Or used to, though this one has plenty riding on it; trebles either side of the border. Though they are more common in Scotland, history and civic pride will be on the slab at Wembley. Less mouth-watering than mouth-drying, both Manchester clubs appear to have a sense of dread about them. City don’t want it to go wrong against United of all clubs; United don’t want their Treble of 1999 repeated by City. Oh, it’s going to be tense.
Beyond that, plenty of news about. Thanks to José Mourinho, mostly. Plus, in largely close-season there will ins and outs across the continent.