It's Friday, there's an FA Cup Final tomorrow, and Manchester United are in it. So stop even pretending to do any work and enjoy this amble through Manchester United's 11 FA Cup victories, from Billy Meredith and Sandy Turnbull to Cristiano Ronaldo and Ruud van Nistelrooy.
1. 1909 - Manchester United 1-0 Bristol City
The first great Manchester United team picked up one FA Cup to go with their two league titles, and while video footage eludes us, we can turn to The Times for this account of the fixture:
On a very pleasant afternoon the sports arena looked its best, the green turf of the playing pitch and trees in the background throwing out in strong relief the thousands of people that covered the vast slopes. The crowd followed the game less noisily than usual, probably because of the novelty of the surroundings to the people who came from the West Country, and because there was little in the play to cause excitement. Manchester United looked like winners from the start and nothing happened in the nature of a surprise.
Absolutely murdered them.
2. 1948 - Manchester United 4-2 Blackpool
"It's the North's big day!" Here's some footage of United's fourth-greatest goalscorer of all time, Jack Rowley, scoring twice and making another. In the process he completely overshadowed two of the greats of English post-war football, Stan Mortensen and Stanley Matthews, and up in Ashington, Northumberland, a young lad called Robert Charlton heard United winning on the radio and decided that he wanted to be a footballer.
3. 1963 - Manchester United 3-1 Leicester City
In 1962-63, Manchester United were, from certain angles, complete rubbish. They finished 19th in the league, narrowly avoiding relegation, and only two of the teams below them conceded more than the 81 let in by Alex Stepney and friends. But they were clearly on the way to being very good indeed: Denis Law had arrived and scored 29 goals in his first season at Old Trafford, Bill Foulkes, Bobby Charlton and Nobby Stiles were all established in the first team and, most importantly, they won the FA Cup, the club's first trophy since Munich. Pathé's man on the commentary reckoned that "the whole world of English football" congratulated United on this trophy, and given the circumstances, that might actually have been true.
4. 1977 - Manchester United 2-1 Liverpool
The official line on Jimmy Greenhoff's winning deflection here is that it comes off his chest. That's what it says in the books. Yet when you watch it, that seems a little low for a chest. It seems, if we're being frank and a little crude, as though it comes off his backside. And so it falls to the Busby Babe to take a stand against the official record and stick our flag in Greenhoff's buttocks, metaphorically speaking. Because if Liverpool being denied an unprecedented treble by a Manchester United chest is funny -- and oh, is it funny -- then Liverpool being denied an unprecedented treble by a Manchester United arse is transportingly gigglesome.
5. 1983, Manchester United 2-2 Brighton & Hove Albion (4-0 replay)
One of those odd finals -- like West Ham vs. Liverpool, many years later -- where the Magic of the Cup (TM) turns up and does its best, yet isn't quite good enough. Plucky Brighton! Relegated a couple of weeks before the final! "And Smith must score!" A blessing from a United point of view, of course, and a hammering in the replay.
6. 1985 - Manchester United 1-0 Everton
Manchester United, professional Scouse treble-wreckers. Everton, league champions, had won the Cup-Winners' Cup three days before the FA Cup final, yet fielded the same team. It's a game most remembered for Kevin Moran's red card -- the first in an FA Cup final -- and Norman Whiteside's extra-time goal, which means that history tends to overlook Mark Hughes' inch-perfect tackle on an accelerating Jesper Olsen. A shame.
7. Manchester United 3-3 Crystal Palace (1-0 replay)
There'll be something up about the 3-3 first leg later, so here's the replay, which was significantly less ridiculous. Not shown in the highlight below: Les Sealey shrugging off the attentions of various Palace players who were trying to establish whether he was anything like as dodgy form as Jim Leighton had been. He wasn't.
8. 1994 - Manchester United 4-0 Chelsea
There used to be a time, kids, when commentators didn't mind a little bit of silence. Consider the first penalty here (which, by the by, is arguably the most obvious penalty decision of all time; far more so that the second). John Motson, having done his build up -- "A Frenchman! A Russian!" -- responds to Cantona's gorgeously cool conversion with an "Oh!" and then a pause. He lets the moment be the moment. That or he'd dropped something.
9. 1996 - Manchester United 1-0 Liverpool
CANTONAAAAAAAAAAAAA! Does it get lost, a little bit, behind all the chuckling about white suits, just how good a finish this is? It's behind him, and he's moving backwards, and yet he's able to get it on target and generate enough power to push it through the crowd. It's a technical marvel.
10. 1999 - Manchester United 2-0 Newcastle United
Leg Two of the Treble, and while Paul Scholes and Roy Keane's suspensions were a blow in Europe, it meant that Ferguson could happily start them both against Newcastle at Old Wembley. Jaap Stam and Dwight Yorke got a rest, however, and Denis Irwin was suspended. As it turned out, Keane lasted just eight minutes, but three minutes after coming on his replacement Teddy Sheringham scored United's first. The commentator below refers to Steve Harper, in the Newcastle goal, as "inexperienced". The Busby Babe had genuinely assumed he was born aged 36.
11. Manchester United 3-0 Millwall
Finally, Millwall. The game wasn't much of an event, but take note of Dennis Wise in the handshakes. Making sure he looks everybody in the eye, the loveable rogue. The cheeky chappy. The notorious card. Didn't do him any good, mind; United won at a canter and his contribution was limited to a lot of running about, a series of niggling infractions and leaving the ball alone for United's opener.