I noticed a post from the excellent TheFootballPink this morning regarding the lateness of this season’s FA Cup Final – indeed this afternoon’s, on May 30th, is the joint latest in the year the final has ever been held – Chelsea’s 2009 victory over Everton being the other, but it is an indisputable point.
So I thought I’d have a look at whether or not it has crept forward and when that trend started.
That, in and of itself is fairly conclusive. Pretty much since the cup final began, it has been getting later and later in the year; the spread of football is not just geographical but also chronological – more and more football is played, and for longer, too.
Yet football isn’t the only sport that has been expanding its boundaries since the late 1800s. Here’s that same graph but representing the date of the first day of England’s first test of the summer.
Cricket, then, has been taking itself the other way. I’m sure you can see where this is going, but while I was looking through the dates of the cup finals themselves I noticed that in a couple of instances, the final was on the same day as the varsity Boat Race. Indeed, when West Brom shocked Preston North End in 1888, Preston partly laid the blame on the fact that they’d been watching the Boat Race in the morning.
So I thought I’d factor in the date of the Boat Race, too. Here, then, is that graph – Boat Race v FA Cup Final v First (Home) Test.
The FA Cup Final has clearly worked its way back later into the year, while the first test has edged towards it. The Boat Race(s) are remaining fairly consistent, but there’s a slight suggestion of going a little bit further back.
Sport is dominating the calendar and, where you could previously enjoy them all, they’re frequently running into one another.