Thursday, March 6, 2008

FA Cup Motivations

Oh the majesty, oh the history, oh the glory of the FA Cup. Professional team sports are big business around the world, and as businesses, they naturally fall into the category of "Entertainment," a field that inevitably follows trends and hides its past. For that reason alone, it's wonderful and to me a bit amazing to see some of our favorite "Entertainment companies" (i.e. football clubs) continue to play in a 130-year-old tournament against competition against all-comers. It's good that those aspects of being a sports fan that make sports more than mere entertainment have survived long enough and well enough that we get to see near-amateurs score twice against one of the most-storied clubs in the world.

Clubs and players want to win the FA Cup for the glory, the prestige, the honor of it. They want to win for the players' and managers' egos or to be featured on the largest stage in British football. They want to win to be a part of history. They want to win it to show they can compete with the best in the world. They may even want to win it for the fans. Often, of course, there is the promise of riches to be spent on new stadiums, new cars, or any number of other things.

Never before, I think, have we seen so glorious a motive for winning an FA Cup match as Cardiff City has for winning against Middlesbrough on Sunday:

Litigation management.

From what I can tell, the fans and (I believe) the players would be alright with just glory, pride, and adulation, but if it's the prospect of paying legal bills that get Pete and Dave get all hot and bothered, we can now rest assured that they will give it their all come Sunday.

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