If you happened to miss today’s FA Cup action because you were hungover, sleeping off shame, exhausted of talk of FA Cup-related “magic,” brunching, or getting bailed out, here’s what you missed:
Chelsea 2 – 4 Bradford City
Manchester City 0 – 2 Middlesbrough
Southampton 2 – 3 Alan Pardew’s Crystal Palace
Sidenote for Arsenal fans: Marouane Chamakh scored, Yaya Sanogo scored, and Yaya Sanogo was taking free kicks.
Yeah, I know.
Blackburn Rovers 3 – 1 Swansea City
Tottenham 1 – 2 Leicester City
Some will hold this day of upsets up as representative of FA Cup magic, but it’s worth considering whether viewers actually just experienced the most prolific day of match fixing since the Chinese invented soccer in 1986.
And then, after taking a two-goal lead against League One’s Bradford City, Chelsea conceded four times, disgracing all over Stamford Bridge. Stamford the Lion is probably huddled in a dark corner of a bar right now, with his head under his arm, drinking his sorrows away. Unless, however, he’s out somewhere collecting his money. Stamford is known for living a fast life.
If that last possibility sounds crazy to you, just take a moment to think of a world where you put money on a Bradford win after Chelsea’s second goal. You’d be searching the internet right now for retirement properties in southeast Asia; maybe ordering random flowered shirts on Amazon.
I’m simply suggesting we may want to keep out eye for Chelsea players making extravagant purchases post-defeat. Or maybe just watch that damn lion. No one’s going to suspect his of orchestrating this madness, but that’s exactly why Stamford’s suspect. Something foul is afoot.
Also consider: this conspiracy might not stop there. Imagine how much you would have made if you put bet on Chelsea and Manchester City, the Premier League’s top two teams, to lose.
Earlier this week, Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini said his team couldn’t lose its upcoming game with Chelsea after falling to Arsenal last weekend. And then City went out and lost to Middlesbrough, quite possibly to clear its schedule to “concentrate on the league” (allegedly). But that just might be the view from the surface. There’s a similar river of suspicion flowing through City’s loss as well.
There’s a pattern here. Manager asserts a need to take things very seriously; team capitulates. Players generally branded as useless show up wearing their useful shoes and do shockingly useful things. Players paid lots of money because they’re presumably good simultaneously decide to go on vacation during games. And all of this happening within a two-hour window?
Perhaps it’s a coincidence, but as your mother probably told you as a child, if it looks like a standard match-fixing syndicate and acts like a standard match-fixing syndicate, it probably is a standard match-fixing syndicate. And while this all may seem harmless in the short-term, in the long-term, it will kill the game, because everyone will be banned and we’ll have to watch darts.
So, keep our eye out for people (and mascots) with new money this week. Remember, magic is sometimes shorthand for a criminal act.
God save us all.
Sincerely, Alex Jones