Sunday, 9 September 2007

All four corners...

In six days I'll be off to Dartford for the 1st Qualifying Round game against Sittingbourne. Whilst I'm looking forward to the game, there is something else that is quite engrossing about this venture. Yes, there will be many new grounds to visit. Yes, there will be teams I would not ordinarily travel to watch. Yes, there will be some cracking cup football. But there is another thing, and I can't quite put my finger on it.

The only way I can describe the feeling is something akin to an adventure into the unknown. Admittedly, it is not in the same league as Tenzing and Hillary or Amundsen, but for me it is enthralling nonetheless. Just where in the country is this road to take me? The FA Cup draws will now have a completely different meaning for me. No longer will I simply be focused on my team. There will now be a totally new meaning. The balls pulled out of the bag could push me off almost anywhere in England or Wales. It is this I find the most captivating.

Sad, I know.

Out of interest, I took a look at the FA Cup competition from last season, 2006-07. Starting with Chertsey Town, I plotted the route to Wembley. The following sequence of games were thrown up:

> Chertsey Town 3, Abingdon Town 2
> Oxford City 5, Chertsey Town 0
> Bishop's Cleeve 3, Oxford City 1
> Newport County 4, Bishop's Cleeve 2
> Tonbridge Angels 0, Newport County 1
> Newport County 1, Swansea City 3

> Darlington 1, Swansea City 3
> Sheffield United 0, Swansea City 3
> Ipswich Town 1, Swansea City 0
> Watford 1, Ipswich Town 0
> Plymouth Argyle 0, Watford 1
> Watford 1, Manchester United 4 (at Aston Villa)
> Chelsea 1, Manchester United 0

And now it strikes me. If I had done this last season, I could have been off to all four corners...Newport County, Darlington, Ipswich and Plymouth. I would have witnessed Swansea's impressive cup run. Interestingly, I would not have seen an all-Premiership tie until the semi-final, assuming I would have been able to find tickets.

But the past is no guide to the present, especially with the FA Cup.

Who knows? This season, I may spend the majority of the FA Cup in Kent.

7 comments:

RussWWFC said...

Great blog mate, take a look at mine at http://chairboysforever.blogspot.com/

I dd someting quite like you, apart from that due to the fact that I go to every Wycombe game. I had to go where and when I could, doing right up to the quarter final where ridiculous ticket prices and a clas of fixtures left me unable to complete the feat

I went to

21/08/05 Extra Preliminary
Stourbridge V Glossop North End (3-0)

28/08/05 Preliminary
Dartford V Dorking (1-2)

30/08/05 Preliminary Replay
Holmer Green V Harwich & Parkeston (2-5)

13/09/05 First Qualifying
Ashford Town V AFC Wimbledon (0-2)

23/09/05 Second Qualifying
Enfield Town V St Albans (1-1)

08/10/05 Third Qualifying
Harrow Borough V Welling United (0-1)

25/10/05
Fourth Qualifying Replay
Burnham V Canvey Island (2-1)

05/11/05 First Round
Wycombe Wanderers V Northampton Town (1-3)

03/12/05 Second Round
Walsall V Yeovil Town (2-0)

08/01/06 Third Round
Fulham V Leyton Orient (1-2)

07/02/06 Fourth Round
Birmingham City V Reading 2-1

19/02/06 Fifth Round
Chelsea V Colchester United (3-1)

13/03/06 Quarter Final
Charlton Athletic V Middlesbrough (0-0)

SO far I've been to every round this season: Marlow United 1-2 Cove & Marlow 0-3 Windsor & Eton

Sniffer 72 said...

Thanks for your feedback russwwfc, it is much appreciated. It was interesting that when you did it you saw Glossop NE (my place of birth) and in a later round Dartford (where I'm off to next week). I think my plan will go pear shaped when I can no longer get tickets....!

I've been to Wycombe a few times in the last few seasons, always enjoy my trips there.

Thanks for the link on your site, I have added your site to my home page as well.

Chris O said...

Hi Sniffer 72... Thanks for leaving a comment on our site (www.spaotp.com) and being so complimentary! Sounds like an amazing adventure you're about to go on. We'll try and give you a mention so more people can follow you as you go! So let me get this right - are you a Sittingbourne fan?

Sniffer 72 said...

Hi Chris O,

No, not at all. I live in Chertsey and started off with Chertsey v Wick in the Extra Preliminary Round. Chertsey won, so it was down to Sittingbourne v Chertsey in the Preliminary Round. Sittingbourne won that game, so it's off to Dartford v Sittingbourne in the 1st Qual Rnd next Sarurday. For my sins I have been a Leeds United supporter since I was a nipper, but living down south I don't get to see them often (thank goodness!).

I will watch just about any game, and this FA Cup Road to Wembley is something I've always talked about doing!

I'll stick a link to your site from mine!

Cheers!
Sniffer 72

Chris O said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chris O said...

Excellent! Best of luck with that, Sniffer72. We'll be thinking of you on your travels... :)

We've just added a link to your site on SPAOTP and included you in an article we've just published.

Have a great game this Saturday! :)

G.S.Miller said...

I've done a Road to Wembley and here's a couple of hints that you might well find useful.

Always write or e-mail each new club as soon as the draw is made. There's 2 reasons for this - some will help you get a ticket, especially if it's an all ticket match where tickets are hard to come by. The second reason is that some clubs will publish an article or a few lines about you in the programme, which I always appreciated.

The other point is that all clubs get a ticket allocation for the FA Cup final, and one may help you get a ticket. In the first game I covered, I saw Redhill, and they remembered me and got me a ticket (I had to pay of course), so, it's worth making contacts with the non-league clubs, as they could be your saver when it comes to the final.

Graham