Take a look at just a couple of the upcoming FA Cup fourth round matchups and get yourself a case of Cup Fever. Not to be taken (or mistaken) with Bee Gees music from the Seventies. This Cup fever predates the Saturday Night Fever of the Seventies by a century and is still as relevant today as it was in the days of Wanderers playing Royal Engineers. For those of you with short memories, that was 1872.
It would be hard to miss the Manchester United versus Liverpool game and many a column could be consigned to this one alone. (indeed will be around the world). I will resist the temptation to devote a thousand words to it but will share with you one fascinating pen picture which tells a story and which you will probably not be aware of. As if this fixture wasn’t difficult enough to predict anyway, consider for a moment the two clubs cumulative historical FA cup records.
This is amazing: Man Utd have played 362 FA cup games – Liverpool have played 364. Ok! That’s borderline amazing but not really mind blowing amazing. Now read on.
Man Utd have won exactly 190 of those games. Liverpool have won exactly 190 of their games. That’s Star Trek amazing.
Are you amazed yet. If you fabricated this script in Roy of the Rovers comic fashion, the editor would refuse to run it on the grounds that it is stranger than fiction and people wouldn’t believe it. (I suspect William Jefferson Clinton would, however). Read on.
Man Utd have drawn exactly 85 of their cup games. Liverpool (would you believe) have drawn exactly 85 of theirs. Now that’s amazing in anybody’s language.
Their historical FA cup game winning percentages therefore work out to Man Utd 52.49% and Liverpool 52.20%. As my Gillette said to me in the mirror this morning, “How close can you get?”
Come back next week for some more classic (better than sick) observations.