The dream of an FA cup run runs through the veins of all non-league supporting football fans, I’m sure. The dream of beating a local rival who you haven’t matched up against for a few seasons. The dream of being deemed a “Giant Killer” as you take down a plucky Conference team. And of course, the dream of worming your way through to a monster First Round (proper) clash against the likes of Ipswich Town, Portsmouth or even Sunderland.
If you do make it to the promised land of the first round proper, the dream of hearing your lads being referred to as their “Normal Job” in an attempt to be endearing, but comes across completely patronising to anyone who watches non-league football. As if the commentators are having a day out at the London Zoo, eagerly awaiting the amateur footballer to do something, tapping on that glass only to deliver “Awwww, look White, the 32 year old postman, attempt to pass the ball to Chester, the 27 year old bus driver! This is the magic of the cup!”. Even though it may be forgotten that it’s 11 footballers against 11 footballers on the day, I’d take the money that comes with it!
It can be easy to sit and dream about the FA Cup, imagining who’ll score the 93rd minute winner, stunning the home fans at Old Trafford, in turn sending the travelling fans berserk. But in truth, it’s a long and drawling slugfest filled with extremely high variants, in the FA Draw, to even reach the steps of said dream match. You need luck on the pitch to beat the big boys, luck in the draw to avoid even bigger big boys and luck that the footballing gods look down on us with a smile that day.
With an FA Cup run brings more fans, whether or not they’ll stay after the inevitable crashing of the competition, out nobody knows, but the prospect for more people to hopefully like what they see and come down again is as juicy as anything else in the FA cup. The FA cup has the potential to create a snowball of positivity, both on and off the pitch, with monetary gains bringing feel good energy around the club. The potential impact is massive.
On Saturday 7th of September we play our second game in this years FA Cup, as we enter the 1st qualifying round (Because having preliminary rounds to the qualifying rounds, before the actual qualifying rounds makes life easy for everyone!) against AFC Vanderians. I wish I could deliver a high end scouting reports on how dangerous their number 10 is in the air, how tricky their number 7 is when he’s got a yard of space to run into and how their number 5 will boot the ball up into orbit if he gets the chance. But I can only echo the reports of some fans, whom fear we may be letting an alien race in through our doors.
A chance of glory, for most teams is winning silverware, but for me it can be as simple as a little bit of joy in the FA Cup.