Rob Annable went to Wembley with 90,000 others and watched a pretty poor Cup Final (John Motson offered this in his commentary: "I'm sure you're all relieved that I'm not talking much, but it's just that there's absolutely nothing to say. Nothing has happened.") Drogba's goal wasn't remotely indicative of the play, and it was a shame to see Giggs fail to beat Mark Hughes's Cup Final record.
I saw it at DT's house and afterwards we suffered a 21-19 defeat in the garden at the hands of his brother-and-nephew team Matthew and Joe, a game apparently marred by my persistent off-the-ball fouling. There was a moment when I was on my hands and knees after being nutmegged again by young Joe to push the score to 17-13: I could faintly hear the sound of the football bouncing down the patio steps behind me over both the asthmatic roaring-wheezing coming from my mouth and the much fainter sound of my ligaments holding their hands up in defeat and gently detaching from limb bones. Bounce-ROAR, ping, bounce-WHEEZE, twang, bounce-bounce-ROAR. At this moment, staring at the grass, hot tears dropping to the turf, I suddenly remembered a passage on memory from Richard Williams' Perfect Ten book, which Dan Hill had recommended to me some weeks ago. Here he is writing about Zidane's volleyed goal for Real against Leverkusen in 2002:
There were no television monitors in the press box that night. I saw the goal once, with my own eyes and in real time, and never again. by the time I finished work and got back to my hotel room it was after midnight; the reruns on TV were over. In that moment I took the decision to try not to see it in the future. [...]"
It was Frank LeBoeuf, Zidane's former France teammate, who said that he never watched replays of an important match in which he had been involved [...] He wanted, he said, to preserve the integrity of his memories, which would be compromised if someone else's images - those from a television camera - were imposed on them [...]
One of the pleasures of being a football fan is that archive of individual images saved on the memory's hard drive [...] Each of the little memory sequences is like an animated cigarette card, and together they form a completely portable file of images of some of the finest footballers I've seen. It's like people of my grandparents' generation, who committed vast amounts of poetry to memory, creating a resource upon which they could draw at any time [...]
If I watched it again on television, I would inevitably be replacing my own image of the moment with that of a television camera, if only partially. The television image might be more accurate than my own recollection, and would certainly be a lot sharper, but it would not contain within it the surge of exhilaration and admiration that I felt in that moment [p212-4]
This moment passed in a flash, and by now my lungs had escaped my body cavity and were flapping around my face in a desperate search for oxygen. There was no time to think about Socrates and Plato, nor of Freud's mystic writing pad, nor of Derrida on the trace of memory or writing or repetition, nor of Benjamin and the aura of an artwork/memory in the age of electronic reproduction. I peeled the spongy, pink lung-mass from my cheeks, and resolved to volley DT's next cross through the goal posts in the manner of, in Williams's memory of, Zidane. That, of course, I failed to do.
See also Dan Hill's Design. Architecture. Football. and 'Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait', by Douglas Gordon and Philippe Parreno.