Over the last few years, lots of hype has been created around the F.A Cup in order to try and reinvigorate interest in the oldest Football competition. In fact, there was so much hype created around it that the whole campaign began to have a negative impact on the pessimists amongst us, seeing through the pointless media nonsense realizing that its just that the BBC are trying to stay relevant in the football broadcasting world with the only tournament that they still have the rights to live broadcast. However despite this, there is something special about the F.A Cup and in this post I will be talking about my memories of the F.A Cup, the biggest highs and lows during my lifetime.
Crystal Palace 2-1 Watford- Semi Final
This game is by far my favorite match I’ve ever been to. Everything about the day was perfect, being amongst so many of Palace fans was incredible because I felt like I was part of one huge, powerful voice that silenced the Watford faithful and the final whistle sounded like a beautiful tune as it made certain that I’d watched one of the biggest moments in Crystal Palace history. The fact that we had a genuine chance to win a trophy, to go into the history books, felt like so much more than 3 points in the league does. I think the thought writing our name in history of such a classic competition was so enticing to me because being a part of such a massive Palace following, we played a major part in the victory so I felt partly responsible for our success. That day, those goals from Connor Wickham and Yannick Bolasie, will always live in my mind as one of the best days and moments of my life.
Weston-super-Mare 1-4 Doncaster Rovers- F.A Cup 1st Round
Being a non-league club, Weston aren’t used to such high profile games as this one. The Woodspring Stadium was enthralled with F.A Cup fever because it was an opportunity to go against the norm, to make headlines across the country and that excited fans and players alike. As it happened, we were played off the park and the scoreline didn’t flatter the visitors at all, but our players put in a monumental shift and should always be proud of their performance that night. Also, that night we had an attendance that was almost 10x more than we get for league games, which brought in huge revenue for the club and is one of the fantastic things about this competition. But the hope I experienced that night seems to be a running theme through my F.A Cup experiences.
North Leigh 2-1 Weston-super-Mare- F.A Cup Qualifying Round
When you travel 3 hours to support your non-league team in the qualifying round of the cup against a side in a lower league than you, you don’t expect a defeat. After last season’s (relative) F.A Cup success, we expected to breeze through this stage with no issue, however what we witnessed was a mutiny against then-manager Ryan Northmore. We were on a terrible run of losses and that match was the straw that broke the camels back, with the club sacking Northmore in the following week. I’ve never been so angry at a football match than I was that day, I’d wasted my time to watch an embarrassing defeat. But I don’t blame the players, I blame everyone responsible for forcing them to go to such lengths to rid themselves of a leader who they no longer respected and believed in. With all of the other matches I’ve talked about in this feature I have good memories of the day and the experience, but there was nothing positive about that day.
Crystal Palace 1-2 Manchester United- F.A Cup Final
Its difficult to describe my emotions when I look back at this match. Everything amazing about the semi-final was doubled, however the end result and experiencing losing such a huge match makes my memories of this game not quite as fond as they are for the earlier round. I haven’t experienced a happier moment in my life so far than when Jason Puncheon put us 1-0 up, I was screaming in joy with floods of tears streaming down my face, and as I turned around to hug strangers behind me I saw the reactions were exactly the same. Sometimes I wonder how many United fans hugged the complete strangers around them out of sheer joy and want to share that moment with the rest of the tribe when Lingard scored the winner; I doubt any did, and that’s why I still look back on that day with a smile. That match symbolizes why I love being a Palace fan, being one with the rest of the Red and Blue Army. Also, the fact I went from sheer elation to total depression summarizes in a microcosm what 15 years as a Palace fan has felt like. An emotional roller coaster, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Those are the 4 matches that I’ve experienced so far in the F.A Cup that I’ll always remember for positive and negative reasons. If you enjoyed this, feel free to check out my personal blog www.5minutesofaddedtime.com or read more articles on The Football Forecast.