It's FA Cup 4th round weekend, and just watching football focus you can see the esteem with which the competition is held. Stadiums will be full, a non league side will give someone a big scare, everyone, even the minnows, dream of Wembley.
In midweek the Copa Del Rey semi-finals first legs took place. And at all conquering, super, mega, best team-of-all-time (sic) Barcelona, there is an example of why, despite winning everyting, Barsa's finances are in disarray. In a stadium with a 100,000 capacity, only 49,000 bothered to turn up.....for a cup semi final. Can you imagine Old Trafford with only 35,000 for a semi of the FA cup? Or even the first leg of a Carling Cup semi?
Barca, predictably, won 5 - 0, and I'm told there are worries.....as when they scored the third after just 15 minutes, the TV turn-off was massive. Financial doping, too many advantages, and, admittedly, a great youth system, has made them far too good for the rest to compete with.
Real Murcia travel to Jaén tomorrow after a friendly draw with CSKA Moscow in midweek (1 - 1). Real Jaén pleasantly decided no cameras will be allowed in, so no TV, no internet coverage.....so, it's a choice of going the 350 kms (700 round trip)or the commentary from the excellent and very excitable José Manuel on the official club radio. Undecided.....kick off is at 4 p.m. (3 p.m. UK time) as it seems Jaén don't have any money for electricity. A sad state of affairs, but indicative of what things are like outside of Madrid and Barcelona.