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.

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
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen