Behind The Scenes

A taste from the FA Cup

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Tonight in London, Manchester City and Stoke City vie for the 2011 FA Cup.

Wembley Stadium should be rocking for the 130th championship game of the world’s oldest soccer tourney.

Those lucky enough to be watching on ESPNUK will see the event given the red carpet treatment, with 12 hours of coverage including a commercial-free presentation of the match.

In April, I had a chance to visit my ESPNUK colleagues to work on some projects and photograph the two FA Cup semifinal matches, pictured above.

My Saturday after arriving was the first event I covered and it is considered a derby — roughly translated, it’s essentially a heated crosstown rivalry.

Think Yankees versus Mets without the warmth.

Manchester United and Manchester City dueled, and City — in the light blue jerseys — won, 1-0. In the FA Cup Final, the Citizens are looking for their first Cup in 35 years.

The second FA Cup semifinal I shot came the next day, pairing Bolton versus Stoke City. Stoke City (in the stripes) won, 5-0, and thus made their first appearance in the FA Cup Final in their almost 150-year existence.

I was impressed by Manchester City’s Carlos Tevez and Mario Balotelli.  As for Stoke City, I like their fans. Loud, energetic and relentless.  

It should be a great FA Cup Final.

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