After watching the 1965 Cup Final Liverpool 2 Leeds United 1 my love affair with the greatest sport on the planet was cemented, after a question & answer session with my Dad the Wigan Athletic life long marriage started.
Before the modern day television saturation of football The FA.Cup was the game that everybody wanted to watch no matter who was in the Final.
I have avidly viewed every one of the Finals on the television never even dreaming that my team would once grace this showpiece occasion.
Looking thro’ rose tinted spectacles the build up on the television as I remember it seemed to start around 10.30am just as I returned from Wigan after purchasing The Cup Final newspaper specials from Smiths newsagent in the old arcade.
Later years you could buy the actual match-day programme, now that was really special to a kid, trust me !
Interviews in the team hotels and grinning supporters with huge rosettes seemed to be the order of the day until the singing of the Cup Final anthem, Abide With Me.
Now when the cameras pan the crowd to see who knows the words and if it happens to fall on me look carefully for the tear in the eye as I proudly belt it out.
Abide with me: fast falls the eventide;
the darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide:
when other helpers fail and comforts flee,
help of the helpless, O abide with me.
I need thy presence every passing hour;
what but thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?
Who, like thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.
I fear no foe, with thee at hand to bless;
ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death’s dark sting? where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if thou abide with me.
Hold thou thy cross before my closing eyes;
shine through the gloom, and point me to the skies;
heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;
in life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.
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