The Medway Don: Pondering what might have been
It has been a week since our FA cup defeat to Stevenage, losing 2-0 in front of the ITV cameras. Watching the draw the next day was painful as Stevenage drew a home tie against Newcastle in the 3rd round, leaving us to ponder what might have been.
We entered the draw at the 4th qualifying stage, with an away tie to Conference South Basingstoke Town, and I remember something our manager Terry Brown said to us in the dressing room before the game. He said that presuming each of us play our best years of football between the ages of 20 and 30, that is only 10 chances to have a successful FA Cup run. This certainly motivated the lads not to slip up against lower league opposition. Now taking that formula into consideration, I only have 5 chances left as injury has kept me out of our run to the 2nd round this year, and I haven’t had any successful FA Cup runs at my previous two clubs. So I am hoping for better luck next year! Although my travelling partners from Kent and I do get constantly reminded that one of us, Sammy Moore, has won the FA Youth Cup with Ipswich!
The FA cup is a chance for players to play in front of big crowds, against higher profile opposition than they are used to. An amazing feat this year was Hythe Town of the Kent League, who had to play an unbelievable six qualifying games to get the FA Cup first round, where they were soundly beaten by Hereford Town. The coverage these players get for this run might never happen to them again, and will certainly provide them with great memories for years to come. Not to mention the financial rewards a run like this provides for a club at the 5th step of non league football.
Another club that has received a lot of recognition is FC United of Manchester, who of course get a lot of national press owing to the reasons they were formed. They are not doing particularly well in their respective league, yet have beaten teams higher than them in the National Pyramid. These are just two examples of the magic of the FA Cup, and hopefully I will be involved in a similar kind of story at some point in my career.
With the recent bad weather, we have had two league games called off against Luton and York, and look forward to an FA Trophy tie against Braintree next week. The FA Trophy is of course a competition that we have more chance of winning than the FA Cup, and is another opportunity to have a good run, potentially playing in a fantastic stadium if we could go all the way! With the recent postponements I haven’t missed too many games since I fractured my toe 3 weeks ago, and I am looking forward to getting back fit for the Xmas period, which is always an important part of the season with so many games crammed into such a short period.