Tomorrow’s FA Cup final should be a fascinating game, as the 2011 winners Manchester City take on first-time finalists Wigan Athletic. Many people have made City firm favourites to win, but is there a chance that their near-neighbours could spring a real shock? We’ve spoken to a fan of each club to get their opinion on how they think the game will go, their views on this season and a few other things as well. First of all, we spoke to Liam Tootill (pictured above with the cup), one of the men behind SBTV, a long-time Wigan Athletic fan – here’s what he had to say….
City are big favourites, but do you think you can win it?
‘Yeah, we can win it – Martinez has put together a squad that on their day can beat anyone, that’s been proven by the wins against teams like United and Arsenal. We scored three goals in four minutes against Everton, so why not?
Tomorrow, I’m just hoping that we go there, apply ourselves and play some decent football. I want us to score a goal, and still be in the match with about half an hour to go. Then who knows?’
This is Wigan’s first ever FA Cup final - did you ever think that the club would reach such an occasion?
‘I did think that maybe we wouldn’t give the FA Cup the attention it deserves, because the league is always such a priority for us. But it’s been so great to see us progress this season in the Cup and give it the attention it deserves and to get to the Final for the first time.’
It’s a tough question, but would you rather see the club win the FA Cup or stay in the Premier League?
‘It’s funny, I know the sensible thing to say is staying up, but in my opinion we’re a club that’s not sustainable in the top flight, and the fact that we’ve done it for eight years is incredible anyway. So I think I’d say winning the FA Cup over staying up because that trophy is something that you’ll remember forever, as a highlight of what is our golden era. It’d be lovely to have winners of football’s oldest competition next to our name.’
If Wigan do win it, how will you celebrate?
‘Is the tradition for everyone to head to Trafalgar Square? If we were to win, I’m not sure how I’d react. I’d obviously be ecstatic and a bit mental straight after the final whistle, but then you’d want to savour it and remember it.’
Whatever happens tomorrow, Wigan will be in Europe next season. Will you be travelling to watch them?
‘Yeah, I can’t wait! There’s going to be some August trip to somewhere obscure, but I’m definitely going to be in there with the Empty Seats On Tour brigade for a bit of Europa League action.’
You’ve lived in London for most of your life, so how did you end up supporting Wigan?
‘I was born there, that’s what it says on my passport! My parents moved down south when I was three, so I’ve lived down here a long time. But a lot of my friends say that I’m the most northern southerner they’ve ever met! When I was a teenager up my auntie took me to a Wigan game, and then I ended up going to more and more games with her. But it was when I started going to a lot of away games down in London that I got the buzz properly, and I’ve been following them home and away since then.’
What are your favourite memories of following the club through the divisions?
‘My first ever game was when Wigan won promotion from the old Division Three, what’s now League Two, I remember that game really well. The first ever away game we went to was at Gillingham, we won 3-0 and I just remember that was when I really started to feel that this was my club. In more modern times, getting promotion to the Premier League on the last game of the season against Reading and then some of the games where we’ve survived at the last minute have been quality.’
Do you manage to get to many games?
‘I do, I love visiting new grounds and new places, when the fixtures come out in the summer I always look for a few key games that I definitely want to get to. I think that being a football supporter, you need to go and put those hours in, when you talk to other fans that’s where the excitement comes from, visiting these places and telling the stories that come out of them and the games. It’s the unscripted nature of football, you never know what to expect.’
Tell us a little bit about SBTV – for anyone not familiar with it can you explain what it is?
‘It’s an online youth lifestyle broadcaster, we put out youth-related content on our YouTube channel. It started off being very music-centric, but in the last 18 months we’ve been covering fashion, sport, comedy, all sorts of stuff that young people can be inspired by. We’re like a magazine online, rather than hard print.’
As someone who works in this area, how do you think online and digital will affect how we watch football?
‘I think that online and tech apps are only going to get more prominent. There’s already been a massive shift towards people being able to select what game they listen to, whether they’re streaming it online or they get it through an official club app, you can see the goals minutes after the games finish on most occasions.
In the not-so-distant future, I think there’ll be some broadcasters online offering exclusive deals where you can watch any game live as they kick off – I don’t necessarily agree with it, as its such an excuse for people not to go to the game, but I can definitely see it happening.’
Finally, what advice would you offer to anyone looking to follow in your entrepreneurial footsteps?
‘Just that you have to really enjoy what you do, because it allows you to put a lot more energy into it. You’re a lot more committed about something you care about, and that enthusiasm will make more people believe in you as well. And then I think it’s just a matter of believing in your own ability, and exploring all the possibilities that become available to you, even if you don’t know where they’re going to lead.’
Thanks to Liam for speaking to us, and good luck to Wigan for tomorrow’s game. But what about their opponents? Manchester City are the favourites, but do the fans think that a win is a formality? We spoke to Daniel ‘Sped’ Spedding (pictured above), City fan and guitarist in the excellent indie-rock band Dutch Uncles, about how he thinks it’ll go down….
First things first, City in the Cup
Final and they’re strong favourites - can you see anything except a win?
‘Strong favourites indeed and I'm confident. We've beaten better sides already
to be in the final, and of course we recently beat Wigan at home in the league.
That 1-0 was shaky and a poor performance, but I’m glad in some ways we didn't
mow them over 5-0. It's a warning that they're not pushovers. It will be a
tough game no doubt and they will be fighting for it. I just hope our fans get
behind the club in full swing that day and the added worry of their potential
looming relegation is all too much to handle.’
If City do win the FA Cup, will you be happy with a trophy and finishing second
‘Yes, happy for now. It’s disappointing not to retain the league title, but
again, it’s a reminder that nobody is invincible. I think there was an element
of complacency this season with some fixtures. We assumed victories too much
over teams before the game had even started, and we threw away so many silly
points. There is a lot of hard work to do over the summer and we need to
strengthen the squad. To be honest, I’d rather see some experienced Premier League
players come to City over summer rather than fancy foreign names. It’s all well
and good spending big, and signing a player that’s scored 30 goals in Spain or
Germany, but when they can’t cut it over here, it’s such a waste.’
Do you agree with people who say that the FA Cup has lost its glory?
‘No not at all. I still think it’s a great and exciting cup. I think the people
that say it’s lost its glory are the people who support clubs that haven’t had
any recent success with it. It gives lower league teams the chance to prove
themselves too against the higher divisions, which as we know can leave us with
some very shocking/entertaining results.’
Pantilimon or Hart in goal? And why?
‘Pantilimon all the way. Bobby can’t possibly go with Hart on Saturday can he?
Pantilimon has been great for us all the way to the final, to suddenly drop him
and say “You’re not good enough to win us this game, but Hart is.” would be
How will you choose to celebrate if City win the cup on Saturday?
‘I think I may have to ring all the blues I know and get on the beers. Maybe
even have a Blue Moon or 5. I tell you what, whatever minute the first goal
comes in, I’ll have that many beers. Let’s hope it comes within the first 8 minutes,
for everyone’s sake.’
Looking at the season as a whole, what’s been your highlight?
‘Drawing 0-0 with QPR away. That or losing to Aston Villa by 4 in the League Cup.’
How did you start supporting City? Do you have any favourite memories of
following the club when you were younger?
‘My whole family is blue, and so I fell in line too. That rhymes! I remember
when I was 11 and Nicky Weaver saved that penalty in the play-off final, just
his face, and then that leap over the barrier and his run. Amazing, he
literally flew. You couldn’t believe the amount of excitement that had already
come out of us all from the equalizer, let alone the winning save. And then of
course, there is that little man, Sergio Aguero. Need I say any more? I also
met some of the greats back in the day in the car park at Platt Lane after one
of those “Soccer Schools.” Uwe Rösler,
Kinkladze and a few others.’
Being in a band, how do you keep up with games while you’re on the road? Any
big games you’ve had to miss due to being onstage?
‘I use Twitter mainly for the quickest updates when I’m away, I find it less
frustrating than waiting for Jeff Stelling’s beaming face to load in crap
signal areas. Then there is the ESPN app, for the goal aftermath. I missed us
winning the FA Cup because I was in a van coming back from a gig in Holland.
Good gig and all, but bloody hell!’
There’s been a great response to the Dutch Uncles album this year, how’s that
gone down with the band?
‘It’s been amazing. Twitter has been very busy and now verified which is nice,
and our Facebook fans have more than doubled. We’ve sold a really solid amount
of records in the UK already and there is still so much more to do.
We've got a bunch of festivals coming up and
all the tours so far have been a success. We’ve also had some really great
videos this time as well and support from 6music with two of our previous
singles making the A-List
Being able to round off the last tour with a sold out home show in a 600
capacity venue was outrageous. The day after my 25th birthday too, adrenaline
was flowing. It’s always getting better. There is still a lot of hard work to
do, and hopefully a lot more shows. Exciting times.’
Would you rather headline Glastonbury, or see City win the double?
‘I’d love to see that! And I’m sure I will one day soon. But there are four
other people to think of here and I’ve got to be selfish. Glastonbury all the
If you could compare your guitar playing to any City player past or present,
who would it be?
‘I’d have to compare my playing to David Silva I think... I’d like to say it’s
fiddly and precise. Most of the stuff we do is fairly ambitious and creative,
much like his style of play. He’s one of a kind, just like me!’
And if you could have any City player join the Dutch Uncles, who would it be?
‘I think I would have to go for Milner. He is solid. Great technical ability
and a fair amount of pace. Very reliable, honest and, hard working. Great set
pieces and can absolutely fizz one if needs be. Seems like a very genuine guy.
I think he would make a great asset to the band. Also, I see him at Adlington
Driving Range having lessons all the time, we could play golf on our days off
on tour and he could lend me money for beers, all the time.’
Finally, if you could pass on one bit of advice for aspiring guitarists, what
would it be?
‘You’re never finished as a guitarist. There is always more to learn. Don’t want to be anyone else, by all means take influence and techniques from your heroes, but learn to make them your own. Develop your own style and yourself as a musician. Always practice. Nothing is beyond you either. If someone else can play something, so can you, and when you can do it as good as them, you can still do better and so on… It’s endless. Be unique. Be successful.’
Thanks to Sped for answering our questions, good luck to Manchester City for tomorrow’s game as well – we hope it’ll be an entertaining game!