This is the 12th in the first series of exclusive FA Cup Memories from all across the football spectrum.
Every day, having started on May 1st 2020, a new set of exclusive FA Cup memories are being published via this FACupFactfile blog, and today is the turn of a former non-league match reporter for local radio and a massive Margate FC fan.
SERIES ONE, No. 12
Connection to the world of Football: Been following Margate FC for years!! Have also spent many an hour at Highbury and the Emirates. Spent much of the 2000s working for BBC Kent, BBC London and Capital Gold reporting on non-league matches.
First memory of the FA Cup: Jeremy says, “My late father took me to watch Margate lose at home against Brentford 0-2 in November 1963. Over 6,000 were at Hartsdown that night. Margate had drawn 2-2 at Griffin Park a few days earlier. I vaguely remember watching West Ham winning the Cup at Wembley (on a black & white TV). My first “live” FA Cup visit was at Deal in 1967 where Margate ran out 4-1 winners. My Margate FC hero, Phil Amato turned up in a white E-type Jag.”
How many of us had our first taste of ‘live’ football thanks to our parent taking us to a match? And what a great game to have as your first match! A packed crowd with high expectations of a major FA Cup shock against a Football League side, especially one that had been held at their own manor. Sadly it was not to be for Margate, but no less a terrific first game for that.
And, oh for the days when a white E-type Jag was seen as the car of choice for your favourite player of your football team!
Favourite memory of the FA Cup: Jeremy says, “The 1-0 win at Walton & Hersham in 1972 – eclipsed the win over Swansea in the previous round…. Years later, I purchased two tickets off the famous Stan Flashman for the Arsenal v Man Utd final in 1979…my father used to watch Arsenal in the days of Cliff Bastin. He had a great time that day!”
That victory for Margate at Walton and Hersham meant that the club reached the 3rd Round of the FA Cup for only the second time in its history, the furthest the club has ever gone in the competition. Barry Brown scored the winner that set up a memorable home tie against Tottenham Hotspur.
The 1979 FA Cup Final is known as the ‘five minute final’ owing to three late goals that turned a run-of-the-mill Final into an unexpected exciting ending. I’m assuming Jeremy was supporting Arsenal so he would have gone through a gamut of emotions in those last five minutes.
Last FA Cup match attended: Jeremy says, “Winning 4-2 at Salisbury last year. 3QR, great atmosphere, plenty of away support – and finally sent Steve Claridge packing…”
There is always a bigger fish, or a nemesis, or someone you want your club to knock out of the FA Cup. It doesn’t matter whether this is in the Extra Preliminary Round in August or in a Semi-Final in April, the wonderful feeling of getting one over a bigger team, or perpetual thorn in one’s side, is the same. The FA Cup offers up these kind of opportunities in spades. And whenever it happens, it tends to stick in the memory forever.
Thoughts on the future of the FA Cup: Jeremy says, “Very worrying for next season for obvious reasons. The format, in general is fine but I would like to see less regionalisation in the qualifying rounds.”
There is always irritation during the early rounds of the FA Cup that the same or familiar opponents are faced year-in, year-out because of the regionalisation of the competition, but this is a slight fallacy based on the fact that it used to be the case in seasons gone by.
The FA has continually spread the regions enabling clubs to potentially meet less familiar opponents, but this has to be balanced to ensure that there is not too much in the way of travel during those early rounds where funds are the tightest.
Whilst clubs can still face common opposition in these early rounds, the reality is that far, far more clubs come up against other clubs they’ve never faced in the competition before, or never faced ever.
The 2019-20 Extra Preliminary Round, for example, witnessed just forty-six of 184 ties involving clubs who would meet in the League, just 25% of ties, whilst only 10% of those 184 ties involved club who’d ever met in the competition before. Those sorts of ratios were echoed in future rounds, as well as being typical of the competition in recent years.
Three of the four clubs faced by Margate in this year’s competition were first time FA Cup meetings, and none of the opponents they faced were from the same League in which they compete.
Many, many thanks to Jeremy for taking the time to share his terrific personal FA Cup memories. If you ever get a chance to visit Margate FC do make an effort to seek him out. Tell him FACupFactfile sent you.
No. 13 in this exclusive FA Cup Memories series, the recollections from a match-day commentator for BBC ‘TV’s Match of the Day’ (and others), can be read by clicking on this link: https://facupfactfile.wordpress.com/2020/05/13/fa-cup-memories-series-113-steve-wilson/
No. 11 in this FA Cup Memories series, the recollections from a Broadcaster for BBC Sport and Sky Sports, can be read by clicking on this link: https://facupfactfile.wordpress.com/2020/05/11/fa-cup-memories-series-111-eilidh-barbour/
You can read this exclusive FA Cup Memories series from where it all started with BBC 5 Live Commentator John Murray by clicking on this link: https://facupfactfile.wordpress.com/2020/05/01/fa-cup-memories-series-11-john-murray/
Follow @FACupFactfile on Twitter for news of when future memories are published.