THE Cup part 1
1 - The Magic.
A short three part series looking at why the FA Cup is so special. One of the truly magical days in the footballing calendar is going to occur in the next few days. The draw for the Third Round of the Football Association Challenge Cup or the F.A. Cup or as its known simply THE Cup. No other trophy can drop its name and retain its identity. That’s the magic that encompasses this competition. The oldest and most famous cup competition in the world. Its history stretches back more than a 140 years to before Spurs were formed. It has its own special pageantry and customs that are known to millions around the globe.
In the Cup everyone starts as equals. From village teams to the most famous clubs in the world. It doesn’t matter how badly your season is going there is a inner belief in every fan that this might just be the season that their team writes a small page in history that will be retold over the years. Tales of giant killers are an integral part of the tapestry surrounding the trophy. We all love it and want to see it happen again this year, just as long as it isn’t us that falls victim to Jack.
In this modern day when the TV companies try and convince us that every game in the
League is the biggest thing that’s happened to mankind and money commands attention. Fourth place in the League has become the football equivalent of the Holy Grail. The Cup still retains its magic. As someone once said the game is about glory. Glory doesn’t come any better than winning at Wembley before100,000 and parading the trophy to your supporters massed at one end of the stadium. The players bedecked in hats and scarf’s thrown from the crowd by delirious fans as they commence their triumphant procession. Or the following day traveling through your local town in a open topped bus with thousands lining the streets to cheer.
The first ties in this years competition were played out in August. Teams that normally play in front of 40-50 people each week suddenly find the gates leap to 100 or more on cup day. As a young lad I would follow my local amateur team through the early rounds. We even went to a nearby rival who had reached the Second Round and for one day only cheered them as they lost to a Third Division team (now Division 1).
Ask the brick layers and students who turn out every week for their local side as they harbour dreams that possibly they could make it all the way to the Third Round and face Spurs or Liverpool or just to walk out at a packed stadium like White Hart Lane or Old Trafford. Or the Yeovil supporters who before they joined the League overcame more than 20 league teams if the Cup isn’t magical.
The Competition is special that’s why its the FA Cup sponsored by …not the Budweiser Cup. The Final traditionally marks the end of the domestic season. For a few seasons it was moved but sense won through and now its back where it belongs. Schoolboys (of all ages) still image beating two defenders and rocketing home the shot that ensures the trophy. They don’t dream of a boring draw at Stoke they means fourth in the League. Despite all the changes that have occurred in the game, there may be bigger rewards, there may be better bragging rights but there will always be a special place for THE Cup.
In Part 2 we will look at what happened when some teams dreams came true and Spurs met non-league opposition. In the meantime I’ll leave you with this FA Cup upset in 1992 Wrexham, 24th in Division 3, beat Arsenal 2-1. Did someone just say Magic? Tottenham for the Cup.
Pictures - Tottenham FA CUP Winners 1921 and 1991
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