Go Havant & Waterlooville!

The Havant & Waterlooville F.C. logo.If this story involved practically any sport other than soccer in Britain, Hollywood would probably be salivating over the potential movie rights.

The best way I can think of how to explain Havant & Waterlooville’s FA Cup run to most Americans is to imagine that there is a gigantic, nationwide baseball tournament that occurs once a year and includes all major league teams, all minor league teams, and a bunch of twilight and rec league amateur and semipro teams full of local people who have day jobs and play just for the heck of it. Now, imagine one of those local twilight league teams has somehow advanced to the third round of the tournament, where they have just somehow knocked off a decent Triple-A team, and now they will be playing the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium in the next round.

Since I’ve been staying home with the baby, I’ve been watching an awful lot of English soccer. I’ve discovered that there is absolutely nothing worth watching on network and most cable TV in the middle of weekday afternoons, when the kid typically takes a nap. Luckily, we get the Fox Soccer Channel and a five-hour time delay between here and England, which means that night games pop up on the tube live in mid-afternoon. It beats the snot out of soaps and Oprah, that’s for sure. Combine that with my having spent eight years making a living out of covering and promoting college sports for a school with often nationally-ranked men’s and women’s soccer programs, and with my grandmother being from Manchester — home of the Red Devils, mind you — and it makes sense that I’ve gotten hooked on watching Barclays Premier League and FA Cup games very quickly.

While I would love to see Havant & Waterlooville pull off one of the biggest sports upsets of all time against Liverpool in the next round January 26, they’ll almost certainly just wind up being sacrificial lambs to the team that piled five goals on Luton Town in just over one half yesterday. Still, I’d bet the players on Havant & Waterlooville will look back fondly on the chance to play in such a less-than-once-in-a-lifetime game no matter how lopsided the final score becomes. Although, if Liverpool plays in the next round like it did in its first go at Luton last week, I suppose anything could happen.

I thought going into this week that I’d like nothing more than to see Liverpool get axed from the tournament live on TV by a lower-tier League One club teetering on the brink of financial meltdown and relegation to League Two. However, the infinitesimally small possibility of seeing Liverpool get eliminated by a non-league team of part-timers would be even better (note to confused Americans: Liverpool-Manchester United is probably a bigger rivalry than the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox in baseball over here).

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10 Responses to “Go Havant & Waterlooville!”

  1. davidconnor Says:

    Hello,

    Great sentiment in the above article and I absolutely agree that H&W have done tremendously well to reach the Fourth Round. I really didn’t give them a prayer of beating Swansea and the game against Liverpool will be the biggest moment of their careers.

    Glad to see an American enjoying a proper sport for once (only joking!)

    I hope the little one keeps going down for that afternoon nap so you can keep watching the football!

    Cheers

    Dave

  2. steviethek Says:

    I greatly enjoyed this post as well, from the first sentence. Being an American and football lover (EPL as WELL as NFL!) as well as stay at home new dad, there were a lot of thoughts in common as I read. My wife rues the day I discovered FSC!

    As for H&W, I had been reminded of the great basketball film “Hoosiers” – perhaps this situation is a bit like that.

    Stevie the K

  3. Twigz Says:

    Well written post bud (apart from wanting to see Liverpool get knocked out of the cup ). If Liverpool put their regular team out, then it’ll be an absolute hammering for Havant & Waterlooville. Unfortunately this won’t be the case. Benitez will field his 2nd team (which aren’t that good) incase his multi million pound players sustain an injury, and the scoreline will be quite low, only 6 or 7 goals I’d imagine.

    Still we can all hope he’ll stick Torres on for one half… then we’ll see some goals flying in.

    Keep up the good work!

  4. The Ville Says:

    Well the Hawks will get a huge amount of money out of the match ticket takings and will probably get higher ticket sales in their normal matches afterwards (above the 600 that normally turn up).
    I think they have plans to improve their football grounds.

    Who are the Hawks…
    http://www.liverpoolfc.tv/news/drilldown/N158536080124-0931.htm

    A Waterlooville blog:
    http://lovelywaterloovlille.blogspot.com/

  5. This is a great story… « Stevie the K: Don’t do as I do, do as I say Says:

    […] https://ianheath653.wordpress.com/2008/01/16/go-havant-waterlooville/ […]

  6. Mark Says:

    Well written! I get a lot of quizzical looks when I try to explain the FA Cup to non-football fans, and you explained it perfectly.

  7. Why the FA Cup is so great. « View From The Terrace Says:

    […] thoughts on this). While others enjoy the idea of part timers getting their day in the spotlight (https://ianheath653.wordpress.com/2008/01/16/go-havant-waterlooville/). And both sides have their good […]

  8. Rita Sharp Says:

    Our son is Neil Sharp (number 6) for Havant, we flew 3,000 miles to see the game, It was amazing! The Anfield crowd were a credit to football and made the boys very welcome. When Havant got the first goal we all went crazy, the second goal was icing on the cake and if Neil had have scored with the two chances he had, who knows? They were never expected to win but they certainly did not disgrace themselves.
    2 very proud parents

  9. Weapons: Escrima Says:

    What type of football do you yourself play?

    Can I ask though – how did you get this picked up and into google news?

    Very impressive that this blog is syndicated through Google and is it something that is just up to Google or you actively created?

    Obviously this is a popular blog with great data so well done on your seo success..

    Soccer / Football greats you should write about next!

  10. Weapons: Kamas Says:

    Always good to read about baseball and its players, I’ve played since a kid..

    Can I ask though – how did you get this picked up and into google news?

    Very impressive, is it something that is just up to Google or you actively created?

    Obviously this is a popular blog with great data so well done on your seo success..

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