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Saturday, May 17, 2014

My FA Cup History

I wish I had thought about doing this much further in advance, I could have put more research into it.

Every boy's dream is to watch his football team at Wembley in an FA Cup Final.

Being a Hull City fan, aged 8ish, circa 1988, this was an unlikely though not impossible idea - we were mid-table in Division 2 back then (ie the Championship now), it could happen one day maybe.

I couldn't go to the match, but the first I remember of the FA Cup and it's magic was being 2-0 up against the then all-mighty Liverpool at half-time.  Such a unexpected scoreline - in the end we lost 3-2 but that was my first taste of being a Hull City fan and playing a big club.

The next two years saw defeats to Newcastle and Notts County in the 3rd round, I cannot remember if I were at either game.  Around this time one was enchanted by the magical Paul Gascoigne (my Grandad never liked him - called him a pratt, if I recall correctly), I have memories of him scoring that goal, and then of that awful tackle.

Yes the FA Cup was magical to a child.

In 1992 we faced Chelsea in the 3rd round.  I was mascot.  Thanks Grandma!

I was hoping to find a picture or a video for you all, but alas not yet, I will in time, however I did manage to delay kick-off by not realising as a mascot that I had to go to the centre.

We lost 2-0.

Consequent years saw early round defeats to the likes of Rotherham, Chester City and Lincoln City.

By time we were in the bottom division, circa 1995, not many people were going,  A 5-1 hammering at home by the might Crewe Alexandra was bad enough.

But worse was to come.

Saturday 15th November 1997.  I remember it vividly.  Home against Hednesford of some non-league persuasion.  Match Of The Day were here to record it.

Yes we lost 2-0.

But the year after, we began our long slow march to world domination, by beating Salisbury and Luton Town (also coming from 9 points clear at the bottom of the league, seemingly doomed to the Conference but finished safe) - time for a trip to Aston Villa in the 3rd round of the FA Cup.

Yes Aston Villa.  A massive club, it was a dream back then to go play them.  I stayed at my friend James' house and we went clubbing that night, we went to see - Judge Jules.  Yeah.

Oh yeah we lost the game but it was nice to play a big club, even though I was sat in the home end.,

We lost 6-1 at home against Chelsea the next year.  Hmmm.  And the year after we lost 1-0, at home, in a replay, against...Kettering Town.  FML.

And whilst we are at it, lets record a few more ignominious defeats to:

Oldham
Macclesfield
Cheltenham
Colchester

It does become less inglorious after, culminating in defeat to, yes, Arsenal in the quarter-finals, a stage I hadn't realised had existed, in 2009.  We only lost 2-1 and a fucking dodgy goal at that.

Then we reverted to normal with two defeats in a row to Wigan, followed by an infamous defeat to the mighty Crawley Town.  Even last year we lost at home, 1-0, to Barnsley.  Barnsley.

So to find myself with a ticket to the FA Cup Final, Hull City AFC vs Arsenal, is quite a dream.

A dream I didn't dare to have.

For the semi-final at Wembley, I was walking there thinking, been there done that.

This is so different, this is history, this is the whole world watching.