Hacks across the nation were gearing up today to shout a group "Ha Ha!" in a Nelson from the Simpsons stylee, as they anticpated the announcement from Multiplex, Australian constructors of the new Wembley, that the stadium was NOT going to be ready for the FA Cup Final in May. Our sporting scribes have had to put the schadenfreude on hold however, as the Aussies have instead proclaimed that they will be able to finish up before the March 31st deadline. Which is good of them really, seeing as they're going to make a whacking great loss on a project that has already caused their share price to haemorrhage. You'd half expect them to bin the whole thing off and go home, just to get one over the Poms, but fortunately this is not an option, as we understand that there are all sorts of penalties for a failure to complete to schedule, such as Multiplex executives being forced to sit in a darkened room and watch 24 hour re-runs of the Ashes DVD. Ho ho. Hmmmm......sorry.
UPDATE : It now looks like some schadenfreude might be on the cards after all. The Wembley story has developed over the course of this afternoon, and we now have Multiplex saying that the odds of handover being completed on time stand at 70%. Apparently the FA are less than convinced, which is unsurprising when Multiplex change their tune over the course of a day and admit that if the deadline is to be reached, everything needs to now run like clockwork. Cardiff it is then. Story here.
And here's London's draw for the fifth round:
Preston/Crystal Palace v Coventry/Middlesbrough
Everton/Chelsea v Colchester
Charlton v Brentford
Bolton v West Ham
Ties to be played on weekend of 18 February.
In other Cup Final news, Millwall's New Den has been announced as the venue for the 2006 FA Women's Cup Final, due to take place on Monday 1st May, a Bank Holiday. The draw for the quarter-finals, which was made this morning, sees Chelsea take on Arsenal in a mouth-watering derby, whilst London's other representatives, Charlton Athletic, have an away trip to Bristol Academy to look forward to.
Elsewhere in the wired world of sports, Lawrence Dallaglio edges closer to an England recall, Dennis Rodman plays basketball for the Brigthon Bears and Gabriele Marcotti writes an article for The Times about the amount of tax that footballers in England pay, that is more interesting than it sounds.