Spud Thornhill: It's not always been kind to us but the FA Cup is still special to me
PUBLISHED: 18:00 04 January 2019
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The first weekend of the year means one thing, the third round of the FA Cup.
Another great time of the year for us football fans up and down the country. The oldest club competition in the world maybe slowly losing its magic, but I’m sure there are many fans like myself who will still have the buzz of the FA Cup and who may be thinking, maybe, just maybe, this is the year where we finally get some cup magic.
It may be a competition which has not given us Norwich fans much to shout about in the last 25 odd years, but I still have a lot of happy memories on why this great competition will always have a place in my heart.
I’m just old enough to remember when the FA Cup draw would be on a Monday lunchtime and the draw would be made live on the radio.
I remember hearing the fourth round draw in January 1987. Lunchtime at school, there were a few of us huddled round one of my teacher’s radio and I still remembering hearing Wigan Athletic, versus Norwich City or Huddersfield Town.
Wigan who? I thought. Well we’ll get past Huddersfield (Which we did) and easily get past Division Three Wigan.
The road to Wembley is ours this year I thought. Little did I know it would be the first time in my short time as a Canary where a team in a league lower than us would beat us. A goal from a certain Paul Jewell would do the damage.
At least we got revenge on Jewell in April 2011 when we beat his Ipswich 5-1!!
Wigan would be the first side to embarrass Norwich in the cup in my time as a City fan. Little did I know years later it would be a regular occurrence, with Sunderland, Brentford, Grimsby, West Ham, Bury, Leicester, Luton and Preston, all teams in a lower division than us at the time, knocking us out. Sunderland was probably the most painful.
Losing in the 1992 semi final against the Black Cats is one of my lowest and painful moments as a Canary. If I close my eyes, I can still see John Bryne heading the ball home in front of us at Hillsborough.
We may not have won an FA Cup tie since Peterborough in 2013, but at least we don’t hold the current record for a league club without an FA Cup tie win. That’s Ipswich Town. No surprises there. They haven’t won since 2010. You know what to do Accrington Stanley!
I have happy memories from when I was a kid watching the FA Cup final at my grandparents. My brother, Martin, and I would from midday watch the whole build up of the final. We would constantly switch back and forwards between BBC and ITV as they provided coverage from breakfast at the hotel to the coach journey to Wembley.
Sadly after Norwich are knocked out and it just leaves the so-called bigger clubs, I lose interest in the FA Cup each year. With that, I don’t think I have watched a whole cup final since 1998, when I was there at Wembley when Arsenal beat Newcastle.
Other memories are great away trips when Norwich have taken thousands away.
One of my first away days was at West Ham in the quarter finals. I still remember us taking 4,500 with plenty of inflatable canaries. But my all time favourite must be Paulton Rovers in November 2009. Not just because of the 7-0 win but the whole day. Going to the club and place similar to Wroxham was just great.
So on the 60th Anniversary this week when the famous Norwich team of 1959 beat Manchester United’s Busby Babes 3-0, can the team of 2019 make our season even more special and produce an FA Cup run? Well, why not?
Daniel Farke has always respected our cup ties and I’m sure he’ll be no different today, even if it does give some players a well deserved rest.
So come on you yellows, I’m greedy, not only do I want promotion, I want a cup run.
Que Sera Sera………
Which former Norwich City player won a FA Cup winners medal with Portsmouth in 2008?
Answer: James Ashdown (Had a loan spell at Norwich in 2006 and made 2 appearance and was on the bench when Portsmouth won in 2008)