the real fa cup

Our first visit to Wembley

Hendon 1 AFC Telford 2
Attendance 377
Price £9

One of the last fields Bontcho graced regularly as a player was Hendon’s famous old ground, which has featured in loads of films, TV programs and ads, it’s an icon. Sadly, in the week before this game, it was repossessed by developers and so Hendon had started playing their games at nearby Harrow Borough. Harrow were at home that day so the green and white army had to switch to WEMBERLEEEE!!!!

Imagine Roman pulling his rouble out of Chelsea and them having to switch their games to Fulham but having to switch to Griffin Park due to a fixture clash, hahahaha, if only. Anyway, Woohoo, we were off to Wembley already and we hadn’t even got to the ‘Propers’. Errr … no … Wembley FC, not Wembley Stadium. However, you can see the arch from the ground and we got the train with England fans on the way to the Kazakhstan game so it felt special. And a bit weird when they all got off and we carried on for another stop.

This was also the first ground we’d been to that vaguely resembled what you might call a stadium. Down the main side there was a bar set back from the pitch, with a kind of patio area in front. You really can’t beat football when the sun is blazing, you’re standing, beer in hand, twenty feet from a World Cup goalscorer watching the FA Cup.

The game was fairly good but Telford barely got out of second gear during a thoroughly professional performance and Hendon only scored in injury time with a dubious penalty. I definitely saw Bontcho this time, he looked old but then don’t we all? The Telford fans, though, were great, they were well up for this Cup malarkey. They only stopped singing at the start of the second half, they even sang all the way through half time and had a man with a twenty foot stick with a flag on the end. And a fucking bell ringer. Grrrr.

They did sing some good songs, including the Shrewsbury dissing ‘There’s only one team in Shropshire’, which sounded funnier in song than it does in print. The ‘No ground, no fans’ song sung to the boycotting Hendon fans, protesting about their ground repossession, was a bit harsh and, without any audible response was a bit hollow. Their most popular tune was their rework of the classic FA Cup song – ‘Wemberlee, Wemberlee’.

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Bobby Robson Foundation