Friday, 24 August 2007

The road starts here (at the end of my lane)

First ever blog, first ever post, and an apology already. It's my title, you see. "Wick to Wembley?". It's not quite right, slightly misleading. But I'll come to that in a bit.

Ever since my Dad took me to my first ever FA Cup game I fell in love with the competition and I'm still in love. Don't ask me to explain why, I don't know. My wife regularly reminds me it is football, a game, nothing more, nothing less. Twenty two people chasing a pig's bladder around a field. What is there to love?

I'll watch any football game, always have, always will.

But the FA Cup is special. Every season I look forward to it. The small clubs in the early rounds, the First Round proper where there is always an upset, the Third Round where the "big" clubs join in, the excitement of the Semis and then the Final itself, steeped in history. And don't get me started on the draws. Even better when they are live draws. The balls in the bag, the team numbers, the anticipation, excitement and then disappointment when your team gets Darlington (away). Fantastic.

And every year I hear myself saying the same thing "You know, one year I'm going to do a Road to Wembley type thing....". Every bloody year. It drives my wife mad, I'm sure it irritates the hell out of my friends, it is even starting to annoy me now.

So, just do it.

You know the thing, don't you? Go and watch your local club in the Extra Preliminary Round in August. Whichever team wins, go and see them in the next round, and so on, until you arrive at the Final. Wembley. Easy. Job done.

And so here I am, and I've been to the first match:

"Football Association Challenge Cup (sponsored by e.on) Extra Preliminary Round, Chertsey Town v Wick, Tuesday 21st August 2007 Kick Off 7.45pm."

Kind of by accident really. A Tuesday night, nothing on the TV. Chertsey Town's home ground only a stone's throw from home. At the end of my lane, to be precise. Why not?

And this is where my apology enters, stage left. This was actually a replay, the first game was at Wick (a 2-2 draw). I thought "Wick to Wembley" sounded a little snappier than "Chertsey Town to Wembley". Sorry.

But why the question mark(?) in "Wick to Wembley?". Well, I'm not sure if I can do it. It's a tall order. Obscure grounds in places (or even parts of the country) I've never been to before. The distances to travel. The cost. The availability of tickets in the latter rounds. My wife. My child. The inane sadness of it all.


Who knows? In the meantime, come on in, the water is lovely.


Smart said...

Great site Sniffer 72 and great fun to read!

Hope you have an entertaining game at Dartford, and look forward to hearing more about their 'famous' stadium.

Good luck on your quest, he says, sounding all dramatic.

Just make sure you enjoy it!

Sniffer 72 said...


Thanks. I am looking forward to it and I am quite intrigued about Dartford's ground, I 've heard alot about it.

Watch this space!

V-Strom said...

Well what a turn up.

There I was reading the Cambridge United progamme for the big FA cup game against Weymouth and what do I see. A fellow Chertsey lad writing a piece about following the "Road to Wembley".

I was actually born in Grove road just round the corner from Chertsey Town's ground on Alwyns Lane. I used to do my paper round up Alwyns Lane. How is that for a coincidence?

I remember, as a kid, going to watch Chertsey play. The ground doesn't look that much different judging from the website. I can remember going to watch an away game at Staines once. It may have been a league match I can't recall. I also remember a mid-week match away to Addlestone. Had to get my passport for that one! Ha Ha.

I have lived in Cambridge since 1979 but still consider myself a Chertsey boy & regularly visit my Mum who still lives there.

I must say that the match against Weymouth was very frustrating as we have played so much better this year and should have won by a more impressive score. Still, watching Cambridge in the last few years has meant passing through the "pain barrier" once or twice. However this season has very positive.

So on the basis of our win yesterday a possible return to the Abbey Stadium is on the cards for early January. I am on night shift writing this comment so will have to get up on Sunday specially to see the FA cup draw. How about a home match against Arsenal? Yum Yum.
I wish you well with your "quest" and hope it means following Cambridge all the way to Wembley.