Finals are always treated with utmost importance. It does not matter whether the cup is big or small. There are particular traditions attached to finals which signify how important and respected they are.
One such tradition is that of replacing usual training kits and tracksuits for formal suits by players and managers. The FA Cup final would see players come out in suits to inspect the pitch, before changing to their training kits and match jerseys.
Similarly, managers would wear suits instead of their usual tracksuits/attire. Such traditions were followed across different competitions. Often there would be a ceremony too before the teams lined up for the kickoff.
However, over the years such traditions seem to be diminishing. No longer is it considered a formality to wear suits for either the managers or their players.
While players have more or less stopped wearing formal attire, even managers are now gradually shifting away from this tradition. This shift has not been met positively by a large group of fans.
Such a reaction was seen again when Chelsea and Liverpool met for the FA Cup final this year. Many fans were frustrated about how Thomas Tuchel and Jurgen Klopp dressed for the final. People felt it was disrespectful to the legacy of the cup and its traditions.
Some fans referred to how Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger presented themselves. Both managers can be seen wearing formal attires for matches, even if it was a Community Shield match.
Arsenal fans especially felt that it was disrespectful to Wenger’s legacy.
The FA Cup losing its identity has been a worry for a long time. Over the past few years ‘Top 6’ clubs or ‘big’ clubs have regularly reached the final and won the trophy.
With European competitions expanding, fans feel the priority is given to the league and continental competitions. Managers wearing normal tracksuits seem to be further evidence for them of the lessening relevance of this cup.
However, the players’ reaction after the match was decided contradicts the opinion that the cup no longer has value. Liverpool players were elated after winning the cup, while Chelsea players looked devastated. Perhaps one cannot attach ‘formality’ or ‘tradition’ to how important a trophy is for players, managers or fans.