THE BIGGEST MATCH IN THE FOOTBALL WORLD: Party to confuse Aussies

Nothing illustrates better the grip that English club football exercises on supporters across the globe than the clamour to see the FA Cup final. Independent correspondents shared the Wembley experience with fans from Sydney to Nairobi
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The Independent Online
The FA Cup party I went to in a TV studio here featured 500 Poms and a few dozen bemused Aussies gathering round a giant screen for the midnight kick-off.

(Also in attendance were several groups of young women, doubtless lured by that rare commodity in Sydney, a roomful of straight, single men.)

Regarded by many in the ex-pat community as the hottest ticket in town, the invitation said it would be an authentic recreation of the Wembley atmosphere. However, as everyone knows, the Wembley atmosphere is actually a unique aromatic blend of beer and pie farts, urine and police manure.

So it was disappointing to discover that the meat pies contained meat, not the mad cow gristle and pig sphincters that we remembered so well, and were thus quite unable to generate the necessary flatulence.

Worse, toilets had been provided, and there was not an incontinent police horse to be seen.

Yet once the game kicked off these limitations were quickly forgotten, though they were soon replaced by those of the match itself. All the same, when Eric's sublime volley snaked its way into the Liverpool net, the room erupted and for one brief, shining moment we really were all at Wembley.

Ah well, back to the beach until next year.

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