My earliest memory of the FA Cup is when I was nine years-old. Wycombe Wanderers under the young, supposed ‘up and coming’ manager Lawrie Sanchez had a memorable 2-1 victory against Leicester City at Filbert Street with Sanchez watching his side’s last gasp winner on a portable tv in the changing rooms, as he had been sent off earlier in the match.
The magic and instant admiration of the ‘underdog’ was born inside me. I had only recently began to watch football properly , and no longer bore my Dad by asking him to put Cartoon Network on instead of the Super Sunday.
This team whom I was watching were unbelievable, the stalwart goalkeeper especially, a thirty-five year old Martin Taylor, (who would a year later move to my local side Burton Albion) was saving everything, and his passion was screaming out of his body.
I believe it was this game that got me hooked on football.
Throughout the next ten years of my life I cannot remember an FA Cup game that has attracted my attention as much as that famous day. Each year there would be the occasional upset, but no long run. No major giant-killing. No underdog that attracts every neutral’s attention.
However, is 2013 different?
In the League Cup this year we have Bradford City, now in League Two, the bottom division of English football, against Premiership opposition Swansea. Having beaten; Wigan, Arsenal and Aston Villa in the process already.
The FA Cup this season seems to have also had more upsets for along time.
Brentford being six minutes away from a famous 2-1 victory over Chelsea, had it not been for Torres’ equaliser so late in the game, to take it to a money earning replay for the bees.
Oldham Athletic, struggling in League One face an in form Liverpool side, and beat them 3-2.
Luton a non-league team beat Norwich City at Carrow Road 0-1 and progress to the fifth round.
I feel for the first time in a very long time, that the magic, so long associated with the FA Cup, has resurfaced and can now let a whole new generation of children watching football with their Dad’s, enjoying that bond that is unlike any other. Can now support the underdog, like I grew up loving.
2013 has brought the FA Cup back to life.