I’m writing these notes very quickly, as I have a tin foil FA Cup to make to take to the game on Saturday as I’ve got CUP FEVER!!
To start at the beginning, the magic of the cup is often preceded by the magic of the draw for the cup. Though sadly this appears not to be the case this time, with absolutely no disrespect to our opponents, Crawley.
I remember being in the Pagefield once, and they had moved the draw to take place after the Saturday games. When we pulled out Blackpool away the whole pub erupted in delight!!
Another more recent occasion relates to the story of how the former Dutch international Edgar Davids has become a God-like deity amongst Latics fans due to being the man who pulled out the ball for the 2013 FA Cup semi final draw. History could have turned out very, very differently had we ended up playing Chelsea or Man City.
There’s not a single Latics fan out there who doesn’t worship the man due to this random, innocuous, accidental act of kindness which went into folklore. Even stranger, it must have been the only occasion in the history of football history that somebody was desperate to play Millwall!
This year, they kept us on tenterhooks until the end, with a few “oohs”, “aahs” and “no, for Liddell’s sake, please not THEM”s being hurled at the telly from the Tarbuck couch. Given the handful of tasty and exotic sounding non-league teams left, there was perhaps a shred of disappointment when we drew Crawley at home.
Essentially, the holy grail in many fans’ eyes is an away tie, preferably somewhere obscure where they can tick a new ground off.
In the olden days, before our rise and fall, the objective was always to get to the third round and draw a big club. Yet, we have played and beaten them all and even won the whole blooming thing in recent years, so without sounding ungrateful it perhaps doesn’t have quite the same appeal as it once did.
The alternative school of thought is that we’re better off just getting easy games at home (though there are no easy games in football – copyright every football manager!) to progress with the minimum of fuss.
Yet, I feel we may be getting a little presumptuous in assuming that Crawley will roll over and we’ll be eagerly awaiting that draw again come Monday night.
The FA Cup has a habit (cliché alert again!) of generating upsets and giantkillings, and we are certainly not immune to that. Yet one thing you can say about Paul Cook is that he has installed a fantastic winning mentality about the club in every game.
So it would be a shock if we didn’t get through, but would it be a disaster given our primary goal is to win promotion? I suppose it depends whether you put pragmatism before misty eyed nostalgia.
You can hear more of Jimmy’s thoughts on Latics and (mostly) some other stuff on Episode 35 of the Pie at Night Podcast. “What Could Go Wrong” is available now, via your usual podcast sources or by listening on the player below.
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