I was on the phone as I wandered down the steps of Wembley Park tube station and nearly missed it. In fact I had to do a comedy double-take as my eye caught a glimpse of silver. There on the wall was a picture. Not just any picture. But one that simply summed up the magic of the FA Cup.
A silver foil FA Cup….but one not only featuring the badge of the mighty Rooks, but also one I had taken. There, on the wall, about to be seen by 80,000 people. The cup, made by Laura Brooks, wife of Club Sec Kev, was the property of young George when he took it along to Lewes’s game against Hendon, ironically played just a long throw-in away at Wembley FC. A beaming smile spread all the way from Wembley to Brighton.
Manchester City 0 Wigan Athletic 1 – Wembley Stadium – Saturday 11th May 2013
I was here to take in the final, thanks to Budweiser. Pre-match hospitality was top-notch and I wasn’t one of those fans whose seats are always empty 10 minutes after half time on the TV. The match report has been read a million times by now but who didn’t cheer (apart from City fans) when Ben Watson’s header hit the back of the net. Sitting among the City fans I allowed myself an “oooh” and then suppressed a smile, as too did the guests around me. In one simple nod of the ball, the magic of the FA Cup returned to our hearts. Yes, the FA have ripped the soul out of the tournament, but even as a neutral, fuelled with free food and beer, it was a day never to forget..