Blue Blogger: The Magic of the Cup
- 25 January 2013 10:23
- Posted by @NieldyMCFC / Words by Simon Curtis
The first of a new weekly feature where we invite the best Blue bloggers and fan site owners to share their thoughts ahead of the weekend's action. This week Simon Curtis (Down The Kippax Steps) focuses on what the FA Cup means to City fans.
For many people, travelling from Leicester to Stoke involves an unexceptional 66 mile meander along the A46, A50 and A500, interrupted by nothing more controversial than the odd flock of starlings and aiborne herds of plastic bags.
For the rest of us gathered here it has involved something a little more strenuous, something that has taken reserves of energy and fortitude that are truly Olympian in their dimensions: a lifetime journey of heart-wrenching moments, years of raw undiffused passion dissolving quietly into unmet dreams, a tragicomic voyage of thousands of emotion-drenched miles via Darlington, Halifax, Ipswich, New Cross, Watford and Coventry.
It is a journey in time not just across the ground. It spans a clean cut era of Neil Young side-partings and Joe Mercer trilbies to a new dawn of bulldozer Ivorian heroes and hursuite scarf-wearing Italian managers.
Far from a one hour shunt westwards through the midlands of England, it is an odyssey that ricochets through the totemic grounds of the land, mud heaps, cabbage patches and darkened cow sheds.
It has taken us to the ice sheets of Shrewsbury and the arctic tundra of Blackburn. It has rewarded long Sunday evening trips to Ipswich and unerring belief in the improbable in North London.
It has spanked us square on the backside in the hotspots of Cardiff and in Newcastle late on a Sunday night with work to go to in the morning. It transcends generations, philosophies, moods and haircuts.
It has brought us to places that we may never visit again and will yet carry us to corners of this fair land we never thought we’d need to see.
It has burned images into our minds that will stay with us to our dying days: Paul Power ploughing through the Goodison mud in 81; Paul Dickov saving our sunken souls at Darlington; Jon Macken completing the most unlikely resurrection at White Hart Lane; Eyal Berkovic volleying in direct from a corner at Portman Road; the baying hordes on the Holte End in extra time v Ipswich in 81; pelting Gordon Strachan with snowballs at Highfield Road; Georgi Kinkladze’s box to box sweep v. Leicester; Micah’s last minute headed piledriver at Villa Park; Dennis Tueart rocking a packed and hostile Elland Road; Uwe’s dinked opener at Old Trafford; Clive Allen’s bravura entrance at Port Vale; Yaya’s thundering, history-demolishing finishes two short years ago.
But then the unlikely names of Paul Hendrie, Sammy Chapman, Nayim, Peter Bodak, Scott Vernon, Gary Blisset and Nathan Tyson remain encrusted to us like limpets too. We are scarred just as we are blessed.
This diluvial flood of emotions now carries us off to Stoke, a name destined to be forever entwined with the end of that tortuous journey of 35 years of dread and torment.
For this, my friends, is the Football Association Cup and for followers of this great club of ours it means more than mere words can properly express.
May the chosen ones tomorrow play in a way that befits the daring deeds of Young and Lee, Tueart and Barnes, Berkovic and Goater, Kinkladze and Rosler, Power and Mackenzie, Caton and Hutchison, for nothing quite compares to the gathering momentum of a run to the latter stages of the FA Cup. Good luck, Blues, we are as usual right behind you every step of the way.