FA Cup Memories – Series 3:3 Stewart Gardner

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Recollections and thoughts on this famous competition from across the whole spectrum of the game, from well-known commentators to unsung heroes.

Every day this month, having started on July 1st 2020, a new set of EXCLUSIVE FA Cup memories are being published via this FACupFactfile blog, and today is the turn of a commentator and reporter for MUTV.

SERIES THREE, No. 3

STEWART GARDNER

Connection to the world of Football: I’m a commentator and presenter for MUTV – Man Utd Television.

3rd Series Pic Stewart Gardner

First memory of the FA Cup: Stewart says, “The 1979 Final between Arsenal and Man Utd. I was seven and can vividly remember Alan Sunderland scoring a late winner for Arsenal and then racing outside with my brother to re-enact the goal in the back garden. I used to be transfixed by the hours and hours of build-up on FA Cup Final day – it was the undoubted highlight of the sporting calendar.

Pic Z Alan Sunderland 79

 

Favourite memory of the FA Cup: Stewart says, “I come from a family of Bristol City fans and it was incredible to be at Anfield in January 1994 to knock out Liverpool in a 3rd round replay – a night like that will be remembered long after league success, which shows the sheer power of the FA Cup.

3rd Series Pic Z Brian Tinnion Bristol City 1994

I’ve also been incredibly lucky to work at six FA Cup Finals featuring Manchester United from 1999-2018 – these are career highlights for me because the competition means so much to me. The emotion of ‘Abide With Me’ always stands out for me, although Jesse Lingard smashing home an extra time winner in 2016 is my favourite moment in a Final that I’ve worked on.

3rd Series Pic Z Jsse Lingard 2016

Last FA Cup match attended: Stewart says, “I’ve been at Manchester United’s ties versus Wolves, Tranmere and Derby so far and will be at Norwich for the Quarter Final. Tranmere was the archetypal FA Cup tie – the pitch was covered overnight and when the cover was taken off an hour before kick-off, it revealed a literal bog of a pitch with not even a hint of grass! The stadium was packed to the rafters and I’m sure the tiny dressing rooms were a culture shock to the United squad. It was the classic FA Cup scene, but thankfully United were hugely professional and romped to victory.  And then the draw paired United with Derby and a chance to re-unite with their record scorer Wayne Rooney – the sort of storyline that only the Cup can provide.

3rd Series Pic Z Tranmere v Man Utd 2020

 

Thoughts on the future of the FA Cup: Stewart says, “I’m an arch FA Cup traditionalist, but realise that I’m in the minority and the competition will have to evolve to flourish. Sadly, I feel that replays will have to go. And I wonder if we should designate January as FA Cup month, ie play from Round 3 to the semi-finals in January with total focus on the competition and let the leagues take a break. This way, the focus of football will be on the FA Cup rather than shoehorning in the fixtures as tough they are an annoyance.

One thing I would insist on though is that the final kicks off at 3pm on a Saturday! I can accept change but please, no more 5.30 KO!

 

Many thanks to Stewart for sharing his wonderful FA Cup memories and interesting thoughts on the competition’s future. Another Wembley date beckons for him and Manchester United in this season’s competition which may add even more memories of this famous competition.

 

Some Other FA Cup Memories in Series Three

Series 3 No. 1 – Ray Houghton (Two time FA Cup winner with Liverpool) – https://facupfactfile.wordpress.com/2020/07/01/fa-cup-memories-series-31-ray-houghton/

Series 3 No. 2 – Andy Campbell (@NonLeagueCrowd on Twitter) – https://facupfactfile.wordpress.com/2020/07/02/fa-cup-memories-series-32-andy-campbell-nonleaguecrowd/

Follow @FACupFactfile on Twitter for news of when the next exclusive FA Cup memories are published.

FA Cup Memories – Series 3:2 Andy Campbell (@NonLeagueCrowd)

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Every day this month, having started on July 1st 2020, a new set of EXCLUSIVE FA Cup memories are being published via this FACupFactfile blog, and today is the turn of a dedicated statistician who provides fantastic insight into crowd numbers at Non-League football matches via Twitter.

SERIES THREE, No. 2

ANDY CAMPBELL

Connection to the world of Football: Run the Twitter account ‘Non-League Crowds’ – so I used to post some numbers before the lockdown and now settle for a lot of retweeting plus posting an array of programme covers.  Dreaming of tweeting some Non-League Crowds again at some point in the future!!

3rd Series Pic Andy Campbell

First memory of the FA Cup: Andy says, “Got to be the 1971 Final and Charlie George and his celebrations as Arsenal beat Liverpool to win the FA Cup and secure the Double.  From the Non-League side of things, my first memory is of Hereford United and their replay win over Newcastle United in 1972 and ‘that’ goal by Ronnie Radford!!  The first FA Cup tie that I attended was in 1974 when I went to the much-loved and sadly missed Lynn Road to see Ilford vs Southend United in the Second Round – I was heart-broken that Ilford lost.

3rd Series Pic Z Ilford v Southend

 

Favourite memory of the FA Cup: Andy says, “So, so many – and they probably change pretty much every single day.  If pushed, though, I will go back to Sunday 20th February 2011 and I give you the one and only Jonathan Tehoue.

My team, Leyton Orient, haven’t played too many of the top sides in recent years – let alone in games that were shown live in Nigeria (where I work) on DSTV.  That changed with this tie and watching it at the Bar at the British Club in Abuja.

Approaching the last few minutes, I was, I think, half chuffed that we hadn’t been stuffed out of sight by Arsenal (they’d beaten Barcelona just days before) and half disappointed that we were heading out of the FA Cup.

And then the joy of the 89th minute – as our super-sub Jonathan Tehoue burst his way through a weak Arsenal defence and smashed his shot past Almunia to make it 1-1 and earn us a replay at the Emirates.

3rd Series Pic Z Leyton Orient v Arsenal

We may have got stuffed in the replay, but the pride in getting that draw in the first game – unreal, so proud and my favourite FA Cup memory!!

 

Last FA Cup match attended: Andy says, “Living overseas, I had to check the spreadsheet for this – I thought it might have been at Coggeshall Town or Heybridge Swifts, but no it was from the 4th Qualifying Round in October 2018 when Maidstone United beat Leyton Orient 2-0 – it was, I think (Mr FactFile might confirm this) the first time that the Os had failed to take part in the First Round Proper for over 100 years!! (Yes, 111 years in fact)

It wasn’t a great day out – wedged with the away support into a packed corner of the ground, the sun shining in our eyes for the 90 minutes and a great Maidstone goal scored by an ex-Leyton Orient player – Blair Turgott.  Not the happiest of memories!!

3rd Series Pic Z Maidstone United v Leyton Orient 2019

 

Thoughts on the future of the FA Cup: Andy says, “What a great question and where to start!!  To me, the FA Cup is nowhere near as special as it was when I was growing up in the 1970s.

The Final was a real all-day occasion back then and I think I can easily recall and list all the Finals of the 70s and 80s – they were special days – from early morning to late afternoon and early evening – even buying the programme from the local branch of WH Smiths.

Nowadays, I struggle to list the last 5 Finals – I’ve watched them, but I struggle to remember them – they are one of literally hundreds maybe thousands of games live on TV.

I love the Qualifying Rounds and the stories that they generate. 

I love the First and Second Rounds – the stories that the likes of Maldon & Tiptree (yes, I know who they beat in the First Round) and Chichester City generated were magical.

I’ll stick with it until the Third Round and am interested in how far non-league teams can progress, but after that and once they are all knocked out?  No, it’s not, for me, the competition it used to be and the thought of semi-finals featuring much-changed sides from Arsenal, Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United does nothing for me – my interest has gone.

I’m also genuinely appalled that there are rumours (are they more than that now?) that:

  • Not all the normal 640-650 non-league clubs will enter the competition in 2020-21
  • Prize money for non-league sides is to be reduced

Given everything that has happened in 2020 so far, non-league teams need the FA Cup – yet the suggestion is that even that (like the 2019-20 season for teams at Steps 3 to 7) could be taken away from them and that fills me with dread and loathing, so hopefully those reports/rumours are wrong and I can keep tweeting about Non-League Crowds from the wonderful Qualifying stages of the FA Cup.

 

Many thanks to Andy for sharing his FA Cup recollections and thoughts on its future. If you’re not following him on Twitter (@NonLeagueCrowd) then I recommend that you ought to do so.

 

Some Other FA Cup Memories in Series Three

Series 3 No. 1 – Ray Houghton (Two time FA Cup winner with Liverpool) – https://facupfactfile.wordpress.com/2020/07/01/fa-cup-memories-series-31-ray-houghton/

Series 3 No. 3 – Stewart Gardner (Commentator for Manchester United TV) – https://facupfactfile.wordpress.com/2020/07/03/fa-cup-memories-series-33-stewart-gardner/

Follow @FACupFactfile on Twitter for news of when the next exclusive FA Cup memories are published.

 

FA Cup Memories – Series 3:1 Ray Houghton

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Recollections and thoughts on this famous competition from across the whole spectrum of the game, from well-known commentators to unsung heroes.

Welcome to the first in this third series of EXCLUSIVE FA Cup Memories.

Series 1

https://facupfactfile.wordpress.com/2020/05/01/fa-cup-memories-series-11-john-murray/)

Series 2

https://facupfactfile.wordpress.com/2020/06/01/fa-cup-memories-series-21-jonathan-overend/

 

Every day, starting from 1st July, a new set of exclusive FA Cup Memories and thoughts will be provided via this FACupFactfile blog. And I couldn’t be more pleased to announce that Series 3 begins with the recollections of a two-time FA Cup Winner.

RAY HOUGHTON

Connection to the world of Football: Twice FA Cup winner and twice League Champion with Liverpool, plus 73 caps with Republic of Ireland. Now a pundit for RTE Sport and talkSPORT.

3rd Series Pic Ray Houghton 1

 

First memory of the FA Cup: Ray says, “I recall watching the 1970 FA Cup Final between Chelsea and Leeds United, a Final which nowadays would end up as a 5-aside match due to the strength of the challenges. Also Ricky George’s goal for Hereford still sticks in my mind.

As a family we would watch the whole build-up to the Cup Final. All of the Cup Finals in the early 70s are memorable – Charlie George lying on his back after scoring, Jim Montgomery’s excellent double save, Ian Porterfield’s winner, Alan Taylor’s double for West Ham – and after each one I would go outside straight after the match and pretend to be one of the players. I mainly identified with the technical players, the ones who knew where to be on the pitch, knew what pass to make, and seemed to have a picture of the game in their heads.

As a player my first ‘experience’ of a Cup Final was in 1980 when a member of West Ham’s reserves, and I accompanied the other reserve players to watch the first team at Wembley. I had been a team-mate of Paul Allen when first playing in the reserves and it was great to see him and the team win the Cup against the odds. I also remember Paul Brush, who had played in every round of the Cup that year. It must’ve been heart-breaking for him to be an unused substitute in the Final itself, something I was keen to avoid experiencing myself.

3rd Series Pic Z Paul Allen 1980

My first experience of actually playing in the FA Cup was for Fulham away at Oldham Athletic in the 3rd Round. It was my 21st birthday and I scored one of the goals in the 2-0 win. After the match we all celebrated in the coach back to London and upon returning home I then went to my favourite nightclub in Tottenham where I celebrated the special day in style.

 

Favourite memory of the FA Cup: Ray Says, “My favourite memory is one that is also heavily tinged with sadness. It was the 1989 FA Cup Final between Liverpool and Everton with the tragic events at Hillsborough a month earlier still very raw in people’s hearts and minds. The Cup Final brought the city of Liverpool together with Reds and Blues joining in a very emotional singing of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’.

It was very hard to want to play in that Cup Final. After the semi-final most of us just wanted the season to end. But the Cup Final was seen to be an important event to help with people’s emotions and so it proved to be. It was a great day for the city of Liverpool.

3rd Series Pic Z Liverpool v Everton 1989  

It was my second FA Cup Final but the defeat against Wimbledon the year before kind of ruined my memory of that day. By the time I made my 3rd appearance in 1992 I was kind of blasé about it. I remember Graeme Sounness had been ill in the build-up to that Final and shouldn’t really have been at Wembley that day. We had a straightforward win against second division Sunderland.

I love the FA Cup and believe everyone should take it seriously. I get annoyed when people don’t. I treasure my FA Cup winners medals and would not like to see their worth diminished.”

 

Last FA Cup match attended: Ray says, “I still get a kick out of watching FA Cup games, and now as a co-commentator I get to see them from a different perspective. It’s difficult to remember which game was my last FA Cup match; West Brom versus Newcastle I think. I remember being hugely impressed with Newcastle that day.

3rd Series Pic Z Newcastle at WBA 2020 

I really enjoy co-commentating, something I fell into. You don’t get any feedback as to how you’ve performed, but I just believe in being honest in what I say when expressing opinions, and informing the audience of the reasons why something happened on the pitch.

Commentating is enjoyable, but it’s not the same as playing.

 

Thoughts on the future of the FA Cup: Ray says, “I have a big concern about the impact of the Covid_19 pandemic on the next two or three seasons of the FA Cup. The Premier League is all-consuming with teams wanting to focus on that, although I do know that players still value the FA Cup. I admire Pep Guardiola for always playing a strong team in the Cup, but not all clubs choose to do that. Something’s got to give, I suppose.

The FA has a responsibility to do more to promote their competition. It provides smaller teams with a chance to shine on a national stage. The FA Cup is the only competition that provides such an opportunity.

3rd Series Pic Ray Houghton 2

It has been a privilege to be able to recount Ray’s FA Cup memories. My sincerest thanks to him for being involved in this lockdown project.

 

Other FA Cup Memories in Series Three

Series 3 No. 2 – Andy Campbell (@NonLeagueCrowd on Twitter) – https://facupfactfile.wordpress.com/2020/07/02/fa-cup-memories-series-32-andy-campbell-nonleaguecrowd/

Series 3 No. 3 – Stewart Gardner (Commentator for Manchester United TV) – https://facupfactfile.wordpress.com/2020/07/03/fa-cup-memories-series-33-stewart-gardner/

Follow @FACupFactfile on Twitter for news of when the next exclusive FA Cup memories are published.

FA Cup Memories – Series 2:22 Mike Collett

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Recollections and thoughts on this famous competition from across the whole spectrum of the game, from well-known commentators to unsung heroes.

Every day this month, having started on June 1st 2020, a new set of exclusive FA Cup memories are being published via this FACupFactfile blog, and today is the turn of someone whom I regard as the ‘Godfather of FA Cup stats’.

SERIES TWO, No. 22

MIKE COLLETT

Connection to the world of Football: My professional connection to football began in January 1972 when I joined the Hendon & Finchley Times as a junior reporter covering Finchley FC in the Isthmian League, the start of a 45-year journalistic career, the last 24 of which I was the Global Football Editor for Reuters, the international news agency. I am also the author of two histories of the FA Cup: The Guinness Record of the FA Cup, and the Complete Record of the FA Cup.

Before retiring in December 2016 I covered 38 FA Cup finals, 25 European Cup/Champions League finals, nine World Cups, seven European Championships and six Olympic football tournaments. I was also on the management committee of the Football Writers Association (FWA) for 21 years. Now I co-manage Tippy Athletic, a grassroots team in the London Weekend League.

My love of the beautiful game began when I had mumps when I was about seven and my dad bought me a football book to cheer me up. Not sure how aware of the game I was before that, but these beautiful colour pictures fascinated me and definitely got me over the worst of the mumps! The passion was ignited and has never stopped.

 

2nd Series Pic Mike Collett 1

First memory of the FA Cup: Mike says, “I can pinpoint exactly my first memory of the FA Cup — it was May 6, 1961, a few days before my eighth birthday, and was the day Spurs beat Leicester 2-0 to win the Double, and the day I became a Spurs fan. It was the first final I watched on the telly and just loved the “strangeness” of the name “Tottenham Hotspur”, I knew it was something very special and from listening to the commentary knew what they had achieved was very special too.

Living in Hendon, just a few miles from Wembley, it was common knowledge that the Cup Final teams usually stayed at the Hendon Hall Hotel (England’s base for the 1966 World Cup) and the nearby Brent Bridge Hotel.

As kids we would go to the hotels to try and get the players autographs.

2nd Series Pic Mike Collett 2 Spurs v Leicester 1961

 

Favourite memory of the FA Cup: Mike says, “There’s only one place to start: May 14, 1981; my 28th birthday, and the day Ricky Villa’s goal sealed Spurs 3-2 win over Manchester City in the replayed final. I am pleased to say this was not one of the finals I reported on, instead I was in the crowd behind the goal where Ricky scored (with my lifelong mates Neil, Shaun, Marc and Richard), and not only is that my favourite FA Cup memory but one of the greatest days of my life, after the birth of my kids!

As everyone knows, that game was a classic with Steve Mackenzie also scoring a stunning goal for City in the first half. My lasting memory is of Ricky Villa appearing to get bigger and bigger the closer he advanced on the goal — and us — and having an out-of-body experience when the ball went in. I woke up the following morning in Neil’s house in Surrey, 60 miles from where I was living. No idea how I got there. Maybe I was carried there by euphoria.

2nd Series Pic Mike Collett 3 Spurs v Man City 1981

But there are SO many fantastic memories from the hundreds of matches I’ve seen, in what I still believe, is the world’s greatest domestic competition.

Back in the 1960s my uncle owned a restaurant opposite Wembley Stadium and on big match days I worked there as a teenager clearing away the plates and cups and saucers. There were three floors to this establishment and above the restaurant were some spare rooms.

When Liverpool played Leeds in 1965 Uncle Jack put a telly in one of the spare rooms and charged all the fans who didn’t have a ticket for the final across the road, about five bob (25p) to watch the game on the black and white telly.

I think he can lay claim to actually inventing Pay-Per-View Television that afternoon!

I sneaked in to watch the game with a roomful of Liverpool fans, and got hugged half-to-death by one of them when Ian St John scored their extra time winner which took the cup to Anfield for the first time. Not that any of them could see much through a dense thick cloud of smoke from their Woodbines and Craven “A”. 

Ah, the romance of the cup!

And it was through working there that I got a ticket to see the final for the first time. Half-an-hour before the Chelsea v Leeds final kicked off in 1970, a bloke popped his head round the door and said “I’ve got a spare ticket, cost price —  anyone want it ?” I grabbed it and gave him the money before anyone else could move. Luckily old Uncle Jack let me go!

Ah, the Magic of the Cup!

 

Last FA Cup match attended: Mike says, “I started this season watching Balham win 4-1 at Redhill in the preliminary round on a gloriously sunny afternoon in  August and saw six more games before the last one — and the least said about that the better.

It was on March 4 back at the Lane to see Spurs lose to Norwich on penalties. Tim Krul was brilliant for Norwich that night but I think Gedson’s penalty which secured Norwich’s victory was just about the worst I have ever seen a professional footballer take.

2nd Series Pic Mike Collett 4 Redhill Sign

 

Thoughts on the future of the FA Cup: Mike says, “Over the years I have been lucky enough to see matches in every round of the FA Cup from the extra-preliminary round in August through to finals in May, and there is always something magical in the air no matter at what stage the match is being played.

But the passion and the excitement generated by the fans, and the perceived expectations we have watching the players, has failed to keep the FA Cup in its once exalted position as the competition everyone wanted to win.

We all know the reasons why this has happened. Managers at every level field weakened teams, prioritising their league campaigns, sacrificing glory for perhaps increased job security along the way.

The FA have also been culpable in diminishing their own flagship competition in so many ways.

The turning point, I believe, came in 1999 when FA Cup holders Manchester United, who were also European champions, did not enter due to the FA’s commitment to take part in the inaugural FIFA Club World Championship for continental champions, staged in Brazil in January 2000.

The FA were chasing FIFA votes for the right to stage the 2006 World Cup at the time and felt if they failed to honour this ludicrous FIFA non-event, they would jeopardise their chances of winning the right to host the World Cup.

So they ordered United to play, but the FA and United should have reached a compromise that would have allowed United to take part and play their third round match either before going to Brazil or when they came back.

In the end that never happened. England never stood a chance of being awarded that World Cup — which went to Germany — so the FA lost out there and at the same time severely dented the credibility of their own competition.

Dreadful work all round by everyone involved.

Can it be fixed? Yes. Increase the prize money and give the FA Cup winners a spot in the Champions League.

It won’t happen. But it should.

2nd Series Pic Mike Collett Books

 

Sincere thanks to Mike for sharing his wonderfully detailed FA Cup memories. For an FA Cup statistician his FA Cup books are an invaluable source of information.

 

Mike’s recollections are the last in Series 2 of these fantastic FA Cup Memories.

Some Other FA Cup Memories in Series Two

Series 2 No. 1 – Jona8than Overend – https://facupfactfile.wordpress.com/2020/06/01/fa-cup-memories-series-21-jonathan-overend/

Series 2 No. 21 – Mike Minay (Matchday commentator for BBC Radio Manchester) – https://facupfactfile.wordpress.com/2020/06/21/fa-cup-memories-series-221-mike-minay/

Series 1 can be found on this link, starting with the incomparable John Murray – https://facupfactfile.wordpress.com/2020/05/01/fa-cup-memories-series-11-john-murray/

Follow @FACupFactfile on Twitter for news of when the next exclusive FA Cup memories are published.

FA Cup Memories – Series 2:21 Mike Minay

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Recollections and thoughts on this famous competition from across the whole spectrum of the game, from well-known commentators to unsung heroes.

Every day this month, having started on June 1st 2020, a new set of exclusive FA Cup memories are being published via this FACupFactfile blog, and today is the turn of a match-day commentator for BBC Radio Manchester.

SERIES TWO, No. 21

MIKE MINAY

Connection to the world of Football: Commentator for BBC Radio Manchester

2nd Series Pic Mike Minay 3

 

First memory of the FA Cup: Mike says, “The first memory I have is at Manchester City’s Maine Road stadium, watching a 2-0 win over Swindon in January 2002. I only know that was an FA Cup game because Dad saw it as a ‘treat’ to sit in the infamous Kippax Stand.

The first real vivid memory I have came just a few weeks later when the blues were on television (this was a rarity back then) against Ipswich Town at Portman Road – when they won 4-1.

2nd Series Pic Z Man City v Ipswich-page-001

There’s something special thinking back on those tones of John Motson under the floodlights that night. In fact, most of the early FA Cup memories I have are thanks to the BBC. I was given a little FM/MW radio and I used to take it everywhere. I’d play football on the streets listening to Oldham’s famous 2006 FA Cup win over Manchester City on 5live – with the radio propped on a brick wall. I used to sneak that same radio into school and listen to the lunchtime (yes, there was such a thing) FA Cup draw – sometimes being late back to class to listen to the full thing. I daren’t miss who’d drawn who.”

 

Favourite memory of the FA Cup: Mike says, “Football is all about family for me. The reason I’m obsessed with it is because of my mum and dad being just the same. So in 2011 when Dad’s team, Manchester City, reached the FA Cup final we all wanted to go – a chance for a first major trophy for the blues in over 30 years. A chance for my Dad to get over the fact he left Wembley early in 99 for THAT Gillingham game.

Could we get a ticket? No! However, a friend of mine at University came up trumps the weeks before the final and offered us his Club Wembley seats. It made Yaya Toure’s winner a little bit extra special being alongside lifelong pair of blues in my dad and uncle.

2nd series Pic Z Yaya Toure 2011 

Away from the personal connection there are other games that inspire and all of them are cupsets. Absolutely love them, and have been lucky enough to cover a few myself.

 

Last FA Cup match attended: Mike says, “It currently remains Manchester City penultimate match as I write this in lockdown. Sheffield Wednesday 0-1 Manchester City. It wasn’t glamourous. The Wednesday crowd disappointed me a little with their (lack of) atmosphere, but they had other concerns than upsetting the blues. I was behind the mic and just remember it being cold and uninspiring. However, the post-match draw certainly did give us something to look forward to – an away trip to St James’ Park.

2nd Series Pic Z Sheff Weds v Man City

 

Thoughts on the future of the FA Cup: Mike Says, “I think the FA Cup revamp with midweek fixtures worked. Replays are often so debated, but they can be crucial to those lower down the football food chain so I say keep them. Every so often its future is questioned, is it working?, how can we make it more exciting? But then about three upsets will happen in one round and suddenly the ‘magic’ is back! There are always stories, and that’s why we love it! It’s been a great part of my life, and it will for future generations!”

2nd Series Pic Mike Minay 1

 

Many thanks to Mike for sharing his FA Cup memories following Manchester City both as a fan and as a commentator.

 

Some Other FA Cup Memories in Series Two

Series 2 No. 1 – Jonathan Overend – https://facupfactfile.wordpress.com/2020/06/01/fa-cup-memories-series-21-jonathan-overend/

Series 2 No. 20 – Daniel Ortved (Football commentator for Danish TV) – https://facupfactfile.wordpress.com/2020/06/20/fa-cup-memories-series-220-daniel-ortved/

Series 2 No. 22 – Mike Collett (The ‘Godfather of FA Cup stats’) – https://facupfactfile.wordpress.com/2020/06/22/fa-cup-memories-series-222-mike-collett/

Follow @FACupFactfile on Twitter for news of when the next exclusive FA Cup memories are published.

FA Cup Memories – Series 2:20 Daniel Ortved

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Recollections and thoughts on this famous competition from across the whole spectrum of the game, from well-known commentators to unsung heroes.

Every day this month, having started on June 1st 2020, a new set of exclusive FA Cup memories are being published via this FACupFactfile blog, and today is the turn of a football commentator on Danish TV.

SERIES TWO, No. 20

DANIEL ORTVED

Connection to the world of Football: I work as a commentator for the Danish broadcaster NENT Group, commentating primarily on the Premier League as well as the Danish Super League.

2nd Series Pic Daniel Ortved 1 (with Jan Molby)

Daniel with Jan Molby

 

First memory of the FA Cup: Daniel says, “I know I must have been watching games on the telly earlier than this – finals and the like -, as the tournament was broadcast nation-wide at the time, but my first clear memory of the tournament is rather odd, really.

I remember I sat at home in my own room watching football in 2004, the early game of choice: Watford against Chelsea. Who could forget the home team’s oversized yellow suits and the roaring-lion-jumping-awkwardly-out-of-capital-letters-logo of the visitors? I couldn’t, and I was dragged into that game, because the presenters and the commentators used a huge amount of time talking about Jesper Gronkjaer (my now-colleague!), who started that game and would later take centre stage at the Vic.

But my strongest memory of the game is a maybe-ghost goal being scored by Heidar Helguson, making it 1-0. It did not look even to have remotely crossed the line at any stage after bouncing off the underside of the crossbar, but as there were no hawk eye or VAR control rooms to help (nor many camera angles to prove the referee wrong) – well, who had time to care? Because there was a very good game going on, and of course the penalty won by Gronkjaer took all attention when it happened, as well as in the aftermath of the game.

He had a good game that day (as well as in the replay, a 4-0 Chelsea win at The Bridge), as had a few other Chelsea greats such as Lampard, who spun one in into the bottom corner with excellent precision from the edge of the area. So many glimpses of the players, the goals and the obvious journalistic angle of the kinsman in action, which I too have come to learn is a very powerful tool for a broadcaster.

2nd Series Pic Z Chelsea scorers v Watford  

Probably, it is also the one significant detail about this rather random 3rd round game that makes me remember it better than the Wembley final of that season, Manchester United’s beating of Dennis Wise and Tim Cahill’s Millwall, which I remember having watched in my mom’s caravan, but I now have to find the goals online to picture them again.

 

Favourite memory of the FA Cup: Daniel says, “I have only attended one FA Cup final in my life, but it was very special. Not the game itself really, even though the 2018 Wembley showpiece was the first, when VAR would be in operation. And Michael Oliver duly had to gain help from it, when the guys in the control room approved his decision to rule out Alexis Sánchez’ equaliser in the second half for offside. Antonio Conte’s Chelsea, very low on exuberance, won 1-0.

The solid safe-player of their back-three Antonio Rüdiger was Man of The Match, which tells you more than enough of the intensity of the game. Such as it is often with finals: lots of fireworks off the pitch, less on it.

2nd series Pic Daniel Ortved 2 

Then again, don’t pity people who get paid to go to these kind of games, especially not me, with a free programme and the best seats in the house! And for all the on-pitch excitement it did have, I experienced most of it, as I was there as a pitch-side reporter on the day, rather than to commentate.

Commentating on a game is very demanding, and craves all your attention up to and during a game, so as you give your all to communicate what, how and why stuff happens, you cannot take everything in, you simply can’t. And, though, as a reporter I do have to concentrate on a lot of things during the game, I could take my time to take in the special atmosphere that comes from the fans’ expectations, the performance of ‘Abide With Me’, as well as the fireworks – we all know what prelude FA Cup finals, but it sure is something else to lean back and watch it in person.

Also it was Prince Harry’s wedding day, and a lot of the interviews and stand-ups (pro-term for TV-guy talking to a camera…) with excited (and practically mid-day drunk!) fans I made outside the stadium treated that subject. At one point a lot of Harry-masked people also showed up, and well… I am starting to reckon we had more fun before and after the game!

Because, contrary to tradition, the losing set of fans did leave before the winning team lifted the cup, and sadly my broadcasting position after the game was in front of the Manchester United section. I did not see many reds after the last whistle, but I did see somebody lift the FA Cup at Wembley. That sure is something special to me!

Final 2018 Stats p 1 & 2

 

Last FA Cup match attended: Daniel says, “Due to more focus on being on site for the Premier League games rather than the cup, I have not attended an FA Cup game live since that final described above. I have been to Wembley, though, to commentate on Tottenham, and to watch England play, since.

 

Thoughts on the future of the FA Cup: Daniel says, “Well, first of all I see a lot of people worry about the format, which could see more and more replays scrapped, taking away the opportunity of smaller teams to cash in on replays at Anfield and the like. I personally would not like that to happen, but I reckon huge concessions between the league and the FA would have to be made to avoid it.

We saw it cause trouble before and during the winter break this year with Liverpool feeling they had to field a reserve side against Shrewsbury.

There is a responsibility on a political level to find a solution, but I am not naïve enough to think that a solution would leave the FA Cup in the very romantic version most fans want.

For me though, it is still an absolute highlight of the season to follow it during spring, and it would still be, even if parts of it were to be scrapped. Though, I am perfectly sure fancy folks with calculators could install a model into the tournament, where smaller teams would gain percentages of the game day income according to their positions in the League or Non-League system.

So if Havant and Waterlooville of National League South were to play at Emirates Stadium in the 3rd round, they would get more out of it than, say, Nottingham Forest would. Also, dragging the game into extra time at home could see a lower ranked team harvest a portion of the income they would have got. But instead they just cash in and play on, and the match calendar can loosen up a little.

 

Thank you to Daniel for sharing his FA Cup memories and his ideas on the future of the competition. It’s brilliant to get insight of the FA Cup from someone involved in football but who is from outside of the UK, and to see that the FA Cup is as warmly thought of abroad as it is at home.

 

Some Other FA Cup Memories in Series Two

Series 2 No. 1 – Jonathan Overend – https://facupfactfile.wordpress.com/2020/06/01/fa-cup-memories-series-21-jonathan-overend/

Series 2 No. 19 – Jon Couch (Executive Editor at The Non-League Paper) – https://facupfactfile.wordpress.com/2020/06/19/fa-cup-memories-series-219-jon-couch/

Series 2 No. 21 – Mike Minay (Matchday commentator for BBC Radio Manchester) – https://facupfactfile.wordpress.com/2020/06/21/fa-cup-memories-series-221-mike-minay/

Follow @FACupFactfile on Twitter for news of when the next exclusive FA Cup memories are published.

FA Cup Memories – Series 2:19 Jon Couch

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Recollections and thoughts on this famous competition from across the whole spectrum of the game, from well-known commentators to unsung heroes.

Every day this month, having started on June 1st 2020, a new set of exclusive FA Cup memories are being published via this FACupFactfile blog, and today is the turn of one of the Executive Editor of the Non-League Paper.

SERIES TWO, No. 19

JON COUCH

Connection to the world of football: I am currently Executive Editor of the Non-League Paper having previously acted as News Editor. I was formerly Sports Editor of City AM for four years and, prior to that, worked in regional newspapers across Hampshire and Surrey.

 

2nd Series Pic Jon Couch

First memory of the FA Cup: Jon says, “Like many other young football fans growing up in the late 70s and 80s, I would be glued to the TV on FA Cup Final day, taking in the full matchday experience, from the team hotel to crossing the white line under the Twin Towers at Wembley. The 1980s was a special era for the FA Cup. It didn’t matter a jot which two teams were taking part in the Wembley showpiece, they had the nation gripped.

My first memory of attending an FA Cup match was a very special occasion for my local team Farnborough Town. It was January 4, 1992 when Boro, then of the Conference, had drawn the mighty West Ham United at home in a third round tie.

For safety reasons, the game was switched to Upton Park so Farnborough fans in their hundreds boarded Supporters’ coaches from Cherrywood Road to east London to watch history being made.

Although West Ham were a Division One team, they were struggling at the time with Hammers fans protesting the regime of chairman Terry Brown and his board of directors.

2nd Series Pic Z West Ham v Farnborough

 

Incredibly, under long-standing boss Ted Pearce, Farnborough managed to hold the not-so-happy Hammers to a 1-1 draw and a lucrative replay back at Upton Park in three days’ time. But it was the scenes afterwards that stand out for than anything.

On the final whistle, West Ham fans in their droves flooded onto the pitch to continue their protest and proceeded to march towards the celebrating Farnborough supporters behind on of the goals. As a fresh-faced 16-year-old, I remember feeling pretty scared as police formed a semi-circle on the edge of the penalty area to protect us. Then, just as the Farnborough fans turned down the volume, fully anticipating the worst, those in claret and blue in front of us suddenly began applauding us and our team. It was a lovely touch and a mighty relief also!

Three days later, we were back on the coach for the replay and I remember being interviewed by Meridian TV in the Cherrywood Road car park. Despite another heroic Farnborough display, West Ham won the replay 1-0. It was a tie which encapsulated the spirit and magic of the FA Cup and one I will never forget.

 

Favourite memory of the FA Cup: Jon says, “Aside from the hundreds of FA Cup ties I have covered over the years, my favourite memory involves another dream tie for my local team, Farnborough Town.

This time, it was February 13, 2003 when Boro’s memorable run to the fourth round for the first time earned them a lucrative tie against Premier League giants Arsenal. I was covering Farnborough for the local News & Mail series at the time.

Farnborough were drawn at home, but again, due to safety reasons, the FA deemed the tie should be switched to Highbury, which although controversial at the time was, in my personal opinion, the only sensible decision that could have been made.

Through his contacts, flamboyant owner/manager Graham Westley took his squad to La Manga in preparation with The Sun newspaper following their journey and sponsoring the shirts for the occasion, much to the ire of the regular backers.

Arsene Wenger selected a much stronger side than expected with big guns such as Patrick Vieira, Sol Campbell, Robert Pires and Ray Parlour all in the starting line-up.

Around 9,000 Farnborough fans made the trip to north London (I’m not quite sure where they all came from either), but, sadly, there was no big FA Cup shock on this occasion as the Gunners ran out 5-1 winners, thanks to two goals from Francis Jeffers.

2nd Series Pic Z Farnborough v Arsenal 

To this day, however, Rocky Baptiste’s consolation goal has its place in Farnborough Town folklore and was the one and only time I lost my cool in the Press box!

Within 48 hours, however, Westley announced he was to up sticks for Conference rivals Stevenage Borough, taking eight players with him. It left a bitter taste but nothing at least could take away the biggest day in the club’s history.

 

Last FA Cup match attended: Jon says, “Having spent the past few years largely confined to office barracks, I’ve not been out to as many games as I would have liked in recent years. However, I have been lucky enough to represent the Non-League Paper at a number of big ties out of deadline.

Sutton United’s fourth-round tie against Arsenal on February 20, 2017 was one that sticks out in the memory but the last tie I attended involved their Surrey rivals Woking, on route to another famous FA Cup giant-killing run.

It was January 6, 2019 when the Cards took on Premier League Watford in a Sunday lunchtime kick-off in front of 5,717 at Kingfield.

Watford were by no means at full-strength but still looked a classy outfit, coming away comfortable 2-0 winners thanks to goals from Will Hughes and captain Troy Deeney, who had come on as a second-half substitute.

2nd Series Pic Z Woking v Watford 

The Cards, though, with Sky Sports commentator Martin Tyler in the dugout as assistant manager, did themselves proud – especially as Watford would go all the way to the final that year before a 6-0 humbling by Manchester City.

 

Thoughts on the future of the FA Cup: Jon says, “As much as I would love the FA Cup to return to the glory days of the 80s, it would need a huge overhaul for that to happen. Unfortunately, the financial lure of clubs to enjoy Premier League and Champions League success these days is just too much, deeming the world’s greatest cup competition only third in the list of priorities for the elite clubs.

From a Non-League perspective, however, the traditions live on. You only have to read my memories further up the page to realise just what the FA Cup still means to supporters of lower league clubs looking to live out the dream.

Ask a number of managers and they will tell you the prestige and financial gain of a glorious FA Cup run remains just as high on their priority list as the league itself. If it all clicks into place, then just one lucky pairing of the balls in the velvet hat can seriously set up a football club for years. Burton Albion, Exeter City and Mansfield Town can all testify that in recent years.

For me, the only way to get everyone singing from the same hymn sheet, and to protect the integrity of the competition, is to offer higher rewards. Europa League qualification isn’t working it seems, so perhaps only a guaranteed Champions League place for the winners will certainly alter the ambitions of Premier League managers and help make the FA Cup immortal again.

 

Sincere thanks to Jon for sharing his FA Cup memories of his local sides throughout the years, teams I used to watch frequently when I lived in Mytchett in the early ’90s.

 

Some Other FA Cup Memories in Series Two

Series 2 No. 1 – Jonathan Overend – https://facupfactfile.wordpress.com/2020/06/01/fa-cup-memories-series-21-jonathan-overend/

Series 2 No. 18 – Nick Godwin (BBC Radio London match-day commentator) – https://facupfactfile.wordpress.com/2020/06/18/fa-cup-memories-series-218-nick-godwin/

Series 2 No. 20 – Daniel Ortved (Danish TV football commentator) – https://facupfactfile.wordpress.com/2020/06/20/fa-cup-memories-series-220-daniel-ortved/

Follow @FACupFactfile on Twitter for news of when the next exclusive FA Cup memories are published.

FA Cup Memories – Series 2:18 Nick Godwin

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Recollections and thoughts on this famous competition from across the whole spectrum of the game, from well-known commentators to unsung heroes.

Every day this month, having started on June 1st 2020, a new set of exclusive FA Cup memories are being published via this FACupFactfile blog, and today is the turn of one of the matchday commentators at BBC Radio London.

SERIES TWO, No. 18

NICK GODWIN

Connection to the world of Football: One of the football commentators at BBC Radio London.

2nd Series Pic Nick Godwin

First memory of the FA Cup: Nick says, “My parents were not football fans so I had to discover the FA Cup Final for myself.

I remember being summoned to eat at the table for dinner at 90 minutes of the 1991 FA Cup Final between Tottenham and Nottingham Forest. Gazza was off, Gary Lineker had missed a penalty, and Paul Stewart had cancelled out Stuart Pearce’s free kick.

I had to watch extra time on video after I had eaten – and the significance of Des Walker’s own goal giving the Cup to Tottenham (after Gary Mabbutt’s own goal in 1987) was slightly lost on me. But the fact I remember so many details of the day – Spurs’ baggy shorts, Terry Venables’ celebrations, Walker’s crestfallen face (I also think Steve Hodge got booked in extra time) – shows the effect the day had on me.

2nd Series Pic Z Spurs 1991 Winners

 

Favourite memory of the FA Cup: Nick says, “By the time the FA Cup 5th round rolled around the next season I was totally immersed in what was going on and my local team Ipswich had drawn Liverpool for a place in the quarter finals. Ipswich were riding high in the Second Division while no-one knew Liverpool were about to lose their pre-eminent position in English football. I stood behind the goal with my uncle, who had queued for several hours to get tickets. The next season Portman Road became all seater so this was the one and only time I stood on the terraces at the Churchman’s end of the ground. I took in a little stool to stand on so I could see.

As I recall Ipswich had the better of it and John Wark sent a thumping header against the bar at the Churchman’s end. I’m not sure what I’d have done had that gone in.

2nd Series Pic Z Ipswich Town v Liverpool 1992 

I couldn’t go to the replay at Anfield – but Ipswich lead in extra time before losing 3-2. I had to make do with listening on the radio. The whole thing was so utterly thrilling – and then Ipswich capped it off by winning Division Two and being part of the inaugural Premier League.

My other favourite FA Cup memory was the final of 2009. I was BBC Radio London’s pitch-side reporter that day and got the chance to hear the London Community Gospel Choir perform ‘Abide With Me’ with a steel band. It was the most strikingly beautiful version of that hymn I have ever heard and it remains with me to this day.”

 

Last FA Cup match attended: Nick says, “My last FA Cup game before lockdown was Tottenham’s exit from the competition at the hands of Norwich on penalties.

As a commentator for BBC Radio London my job was to cover the game from a Spurs perspective. They scored early and sat back. Norwich equalised and forced extra time and the game meandered towards penalties. Three Spurs players missed – including a laughable strike by Eric Lamela, while, more damagingly, new signing Gedson Fernandes and young striker Troy Parrott also missed, and Norwich went through.

Pic Z Tim Krul 

The atmosphere at the end was poisonous – Eric Dier clambered into the stands at one point. The whole evening summed up the frustrations and disappointment of the season so far for Spurs and showed how far they had fallen since the Champions League final just a few months before.

I really felt Spurs could have gone a long way in the FA Cup this season, especially with the difficulties in the League and Mourinho’s desire for silverware.”

 

Thoughts on the future of the FA Cup: Nick says, “It’s still a competition I love and I want it to succeed. However, it’s increasingly becoming irrelevant to many clubs – not just in the top flight. And I sometimes wonder if fans feel the same way. I think most fans still value the competition and I am certain Spurs supporters would have relished a trip to Wembley for a final this year. I still treasure FA Cup Final day – I love all the pomp and ceremony surrounding it and have missed it very much this year.

2nd Series Pic Nick Godwin with Bradley Allen

Nick with Bradley Allen

Many thanks to Nick for taking time out to share his FA Cup memories. Do listen out for Nick on BBC Radio London where I’m sure he’ll be covering Arsenal and Chelsea as this season’s FA Cup eventually comes to a conclusion.

 

Some Other FA Cup Memories in Series Two

Series 2 No. 1 – Jonathan Overend – https://facupfactfile.wordpress.com/2020/06/01/fa-cup-memories-series-21-jonathan-overend/

Series 2 No. 17 – Marc Iles (Chief Football Writer for The Bolton News) – https://facupfactfile.wordpress.com/2020/06/17/fa-cup-memories-series-217-marc-iles/

Series 2 No. 19 – Jon Couch (Executive Editor at Non-League Paper) – https://facupfactfile.wordpress.com/2020/06/19/fa-cup-memories-series-219-jon-couch/

Follow @FACupFactfile on Twitter for news of when the next exclusive FA Cup memories are published.

FA Cup Memories – Series 2:17 Marc Iles

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Recollections and thoughts on this famous competition from across the whole spectrum of the game, from well-known commentators to unsung heroes.

Every day this month, having started on June 1st 2020, a new set of exclusive FA Cup memories are being published via this FACupFactfile blog, and today is the turn of the Chief Football writer for The Bolton News.

SERIES TWO, No. 17

MARC ILES

Connection to the world of Football: Chief football writer for The Bolton News

2nd Series Pic Marc Iles 1

First memory of the FA Cup: Marc says, “I am fairly sure it was the 1984 final between Everton and Watford, which given the standard of the football in that game it is a wonder I didn’t switch immediately to rugby league and never look back. 

We had a Ferguson TV with a remote control on a wire, which didn’t stretch as far as the settee. That meant any extended telly viewing was done with a numb backside parked on a carpet with no underlay (we were happy, though we were poor).

2nd Series Pic Z Everton v Watford 1984

I definitely remember watching the 1985 final, willing a brilliant Everton team on against the will of my largely Manchester United-supporting family. Needless to say, Norman Whiteside had other plans.

 

Favourite memory of the FA Cup: Marc says, “There have been two which stand out whilst covering Bolton Wanderers.

I seldom lose my cool in the press box, but Chung-Yong Lee’s late winner against Birmingham City at St Andrew’s in the 2011 quarter final dislocated my voice box, if such a thing is possible.

2nd Series Pic Z Bolton Chung Yong Lee

 

My other one is a third round game at Eastleigh, made all the better by the company of my colleagues Jack Dearden and Trevor Baxter.

The best description I can give to the occasion was ‘retro’ as it took place on a dreadful pitch passed fit about an hour before kick-off. I can still see Bolton’s players emerging meekly from the tunnel in their bright white trainers and tip-toeing around the puddles to get a better view of the playing surface.

2nd Series Pic Marc Iles 4 Eastleigh 

As facilities were somewhat limited, I spent the game co-commentating with Jack using a single microphone linked to a radio van in the car park. I didn’t have seat, so perched on a railing behind him with my laptop balanced precariously on my knee.

It sounds like a nightmare – but was such a lot of fun.

 

Last FA Cup match attended: Marc says, “Bolton 0 Plymouth Argyle 1, apparently.

Not a game that stands out particularly prominently in my memory, save for the fact that half of Plymouth’s squad and dugout was comprised of former Bury staff, so victory tasted all the sweeter given the desperate situation at Gigg Lane.

2nd Series Pic Z Bolton v Plymouth 2019

 

Thoughts on the future of the FA Cup: Marc says, “You hear all the time how the ‘magic has worn off’ but without fail I watch every draw that my team is involved in with the same childish excitement I did in my youth.

I want to see the return of FA Cup morning, of TV cameras waking bleary-eyed players up in bed with a mug of tea or interrupting their full English breakfast.

I want to be aboard the team bus, seeing it wind down Wembley Way.

I want the vignette where each team’s captain introduces the team with a little sarcastic remark while playing snooker, although I accept that may only happen if Mark Lawrenson and Gary Lineker happen to make a comeback.

I fully accept there is not enough money to make the FA Cup a priority for the billionaire owners but the sense of fun that the competition once had has been substituted, leaving televised games looking like a Premier League offshoot. It’s a question of identity, not production values for me, Clive.

2nd Series Pic Marc Iles 2 & Jack Dearden

Many thanks to Marc for sharing his FA Cup Memories from the perspective of a football reporter in the North West.

 

Some Other FA Cup Memories in Series Two

Series 2 No. 1 – Jonathan Overend – https://facupfactfile.wordpress.com/2020/06/01/fa-cup-memories-series-21-jonathan-overend/

Series 2 No. 16 – Jon Phipps (Co-host of Kent Non-League Podcast) –  https://facupfactfile.wordpress.com/2020/06/16/fa-cup-memories-series-216-jon-phipps/

Series 2 No. 18 – Nick Godwin (BBC Radio London matchday commentator) – https://facupfactfile.wordpress.com/2020/06/18/fa-cup-memories-series-218-nick-godwin/

Follow @FACupFactfile on Twitter for news of when the next exclusive FA Cup memories are published.

FA Cup Memories – Series 2:16 Jon Phipps

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Recollections and thoughts on this famous competition from across the whole spectrum of the game, from well-known commentators to unsung heroes.

Every day this month, having started on June 1st 2020, a new set of exclusive FA Cup memories are being published via this FACupFactfile blog, and today is the turn of a co-host of the highly entertaining Kent Non-League Podcast.

SERIES TWO, No. 16

JON PHIPPS

Connection to the world of Football: Co-host of the Kent Non-League Podcast, reporter for BBC Radio Kent and former sports editor of a number of local papers in Kent. I also do a bit of freelancing here and there. Growing up I was a big Gillingham fan, but I stopped following them in 2012, so now my focus is on non-league football.

2nd Series Pic Jon Phipps & Ray

Jon with Ray

 

First memory of the FA Cup: Jon says, “The first thing I really remember is the 1987 final and that Keith Houchen header – and the shots from the camera angle in the net. I was five at that time. The FA Cup was such a big thing when I was growing up – the final was the highlight of the year and as a football-mad youngster, it was great to see such a big game.

I have so many FA Cup memories from my youth – I was mascot when Gillingham played Welling United in 1989/90 and a ball boy three years later when Colchester visited Priestfield. I also had a VHS called ‘FA Cup Giantkillers’ which I watched quite a bit, learning about Yeovil beating Sunderland back in the 1940s.

2nd Series Pic Z Keith Houchen

Favourite memory of the FA Cup: Jon says, “Even though I don’t support them anymore, the memories of Gillingham’s run to the quarter-finals in 1999/2000 are my favourites. I saw all but one game of the run – I missed the draw at Cheltenham in the first round as I was on holiday, but saw the dramatic replay win, then the victory over Darlington in round two. I remember being a touch disgruntled as Darlo, who were the lucky losers due to Manchester United’s withdrawal, went to Aston Villa in the third round, while the Gills travelled to Walsall.

A 1-1 draw at the Bescot was followed by a replay win, and then Bradford City – then of the Premier League – were beaten at Priestfield, before Sheffield Wednesday visited. It was a 3pm on a Saturday, I sat in a temporary stand just opened with my mate and gave my dad my season ticket. And The Gills won 3-1, a memorable goal from Nicky Southall sealing the win.

2nd Series Pic Z Nicky Southall Gillingham

The reward? A quarter-final at Stamford Bridge. The Gills lost 5-0 but it was a day to never forget. I had to pick that as ever since I’ve been covering non-league football, teams I’ve followed have been notorious for being absolutely terrible in the FA Cup.

 

Last FA Cup match attended: Jon says, “Dartford v Kingstonian, Fourth Qualifying Round, October 2019.

It was Steve King’s first game in charge of the Darts, and I covered the game for BBC Radio Kent. The Darts – who would go on to have a brilliant run under King – were really not at the races and went 3-0 down just before half-time. They got two back, but the K’s were worthy winners and reached the First Round “proper” for the first time in 19 years. They went on to beat Macclesfield – King’s former club – in the next round too. The celebrations from the visitors showed just how much the FA Cup still means to non-league clubs.

Simon Roe

 

Thoughts on the future of the FA Cup: Jon says, “Well, the current climate makes things even more interesting and while everyone is harping on about league matches, it does worry me that I personally don’t think the 2020/21 season will start anywhere near on time. If the season gets truncated – there’s talks of half-seasons – where does that leave the cup, which is so vital for the smaller clubs?

I would hate for the many non-league clubs we cover on the Kent Non-League Podcast to have the FA Cup taken away from them, even if they have no chance of realistically reaching the First Round “Proper”.

Taking the virus scenario out of things, it’s tough. Obviously the cup has become more of an irrelevance to the big clubs, and I can’t see that changing any time soon sadly. For me, the saddest change about how money-orientated everything has become is not necessarily the fact that the Premier League teams use the early rounds as reserve fixtures, but more that when a team gets into the third round, the dream draw isn’t a home tie against a big boy with the chance to cause an upset, but a money-spinning away day.

I think what I want to see the most is a bigger focus on the smaller clubs deeper into the competition – there should be a clause in the broadcast deals banning the TV companies from showing third-round ties where Manchester United or Liverpool reserves host a team from the Championship or something.

Obviously the Liverpool situation this season was fairly awful, but ultimately they got through so what sanction could there possibly be against them?

What I would like to see is a return to the days when the FA Cup final was the big day – no other fixtures, a 3pm kick-off and some good old-fashioned build-up.

 

Many thanks to Jon for sharing his FA Cup Memories. If you get a chance I recommend listening to the Kent Non-League podcast for great, entertaining chat about the lower level game in that county.

 

Some Other FA Cup Memories in Series Two

Series 2 No. 1 – Jonathan Overend – https://facupfactfile.wordpress.com/2020/06/01/fa-cup-memories-series-21-jonathan-overend/

Series 2 No. 15 – Jim Proudfoot (Match-day football commentator for talkSport –  https://facupfactfile.wordpress.com/2020/06/15/fa-cup-memories-series-215-jim-proudfoot/

Series 2 No. 17 – Marc Iles (Chief Football writer at The Bolton News) – https://facupfactfile.wordpress.com/2020/06/17/fa-cup-memories-series-217-marc-iles/

Follow @FACupFactfile on Twitter for news of when the next exclusive FA Cup memories are published.