Robin Scott-Elliot: Terry Venables v Joe Royle is match of the day

View From The Sofa: FA Cup Final, ITV & SETANTA

The FA Cup's return to ITV has been a unique, refreshing experience. First you feel the smooth, sweet flavour, then you begin to smile... Hang on, how did an ad for Tic Tacs sneak in here? What with the mints, the naked man, the sweary man, not to mention the third-round debacle, the greatest-cup-competition-in-the-world has not enjoyed the smoothest of channel hops.

No station seems to attract quite so much opprobrium as ITV, and this season they have managed to bring a deal of it on themselves. Not so much the swearing and nudity; after all the best foul-mouthed tirade, as we newspapersmen are duty bound to label it, was Micah Richards' "fucking hell" when faced with Garth Crooks' meandering post-match questioning a couple of years back. Then there was the "shit" voiceover on Match of the Day. And, of course, Mark Lawrenson's studio streak, although that might have been a dream.

Missing Everton's winning goal against Liverpool and making an almighty editorial muddle of the third round was less excusable, so Steve Rider and Co will be on their best behaviour today as they go head to head with Setanta. If you wanted to be unkind, it's the channel nobody wants to watch against the channel nobody watches.

But cruelty is frowned upon at The Independent, and Cup final day is all about shots of young Everton fans frolicking in Fellaini wigs, Armani-suited players strolling on the Wembley pitch before kick-off to be asked how they are feeling, panoramic shots of the empty middle tier after half-time and, eventually, shots of young Everton fans crying into their Fellaini wigs.

Setanta have taken the Venezuelan approach to the final and cleared the schedules. We are promised more than just Angus Scott lecturing us for hours on end à la Chavez, although the president's views on Phil Neville's range of passing would no doubt be instructive. The channel, which is unscrambled for today (insert joke about Steve McManaman's accent here), pitches a pundit line-up of the tousle-haired one, Terry Venables and Kevin Ratcliffe against ITV's Andy Townsend, Joe Royle and Flashheart Sheringham, which is not inspired casting on either side. At least ITV won't be letting Graham Poll anywhere near our screens, so brownie points for them.

In the commentary box it's Clive Tyldesley and Jim Beglin or Jon Champion and Craig Burley. It's the classic football conundrum. Tyldesley and Beglin were in action on Wednesday in a massive, massive game, Clive. Can they raise their game again so soon? Champion and Burley are fresh, but will the lack of big-match action hinder them?

There remains, though, the big question of the day. What will Motty be doing this afternoon? As a BBC man to the core, will he listen faithfully to the radio? Or will he turn the sound down on his telly, settle on the sofa with a packet of strong mints and provide his own commentary? Let it be the latter.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links