I still remember the 1987 FA Cup final like it was yesterday. The Holsten shirts (and ones without). Clive Allen's goal and my uncle saying 'we've scored too early' (I blame him for jinxing it). Coventry never giving up. Hounchen's header. Mabbutt's own goal. Back when cup finals actually felt like something epic, something mystical and majestic as opposed to the afterthought that is bestowed on so many of them these days. This particular one, as heartbreaking as it was is still as iconic as any of our other Wembley final appearances. No third FA Cup in six years for the Spurs. The underdog beat the favourite and a brilliant season saw us empty handed at it's finale.
It's been a long since we last lifted this cup (1991). Every season passes onto the next and the same citation is made. For a cup like this to be so synonymous with our history and for us not to grace a final for twenty-two years...makes it even more gut wrenching. Not for the want of trying. We've choked countless times at the semi-final stage. After our exit in the League Cup to Norwich, I'm hoping for something a little more substantial here. The magic of the cup might be lost in folklore but that doesn't mean it can't be conjured up those that still wish to believe this competition means something.
Rotation, lack of respect...that's the bane of the League Cup. The FA Cup, in an ideal world, should be deemed as important as the league. Except it isn't, so it's up to us - the supporters and the players to dream of where the twin towers once stood and mix up some blood and thunder to go alongside the hope and ambitions (even if rotation is probable). No Champions League qualification if you win cup silverware. How quickly things would change if there was. Football is a different beast to the one that marshalled the 80s, grazing in the fields. The fields are gone, replaced with monuments to money. If football doesn't want to bestow the FA Cup as the showcase, then it's up to us to treat it like one.
Coventry will be well up for an upset. We have to make sure all they get out of it is a day out in scenic N17.
All together now...Dembele's going to Wembley his knees have gone all trembley...