the real fa cup

Now That’s MAGIC!

So, the real action is about to start, the exciting bit before the tournament tails off to a dreary finale between [insert name of ‘big 4’ club + random whipping boy here] … The headlines are yet to be re-hashed from seasons of yore, the giant killers are yet to taste blood and some lucky striker’s 15 minutes of fame is mere chronological glint in Brian Barwick’s eye.

Little fanfare will greet the six clubs who kick off this year’s festival on Friday the 14th August, which is a shame, but this website seeks to polish the trumpets, parp the trombones and generally give the less wealthy the opportunity to compose their own symphony of football. Get used to it, I shall crowbar many more of those in over the next few months

So, what does this year hold? You can put money on the magic of the cup continuing as the hardy perennial. What is the magic of the cup? It’s impossible to define, there is no over arching magic, everyone’s magic is different and personal.

Magic to me might well be the big-4-free affair of Bolton .v. Hull in the semi final, it certainly will be to the respective fans. I will thank god, or Roger Osborne as he is more affectionately known, it isn’t Chelsea against Man Utd, although of course that will be the other semi. But the nay-sayers will, no doubt, should the unlikely happen, moan about the lack of glamour in Hull .v. Bolton. Neither are ‘good’ enough to satisfy the bling lust of the average armchair fan but yet neither are they lowly enough to satisfy the ‘magic’ lust from the same armchair.

The big 4 semi though will of course be billed as game of the round, clash of the titans, prime time, SPLENDID SUNDAY and, of course, one will be the ‘eventual winners’. And the magic in that is where exactly? And herein lies the problem with the FA Cup and it’s relationship with modern fans and the modern media. Both would like a lower league side to get to the final but when they do it’s a shame they are going to get hammered, or if two lower league sides get to the final it’s not glamorous enough. Enough! Please, make up your mind. Do you want the magic or do you want Cristal and platinum plated teeth?

The real magic is rarely to be found in the final, the semi final and infrequently in the quarters. So where does this mystery lurk? We here at therealfacup are not battle hardened FA Cup experts but, if our experience last season is anything to go by, the magic lies in the first seven rounds. It’s the undiluted but half expected joy of Havant fans wryly predicting ‘it’s happening again’ after beating Crawley. It’s Oxhey Jets just being there, seeing as though they’ve only existed for about 30 years. And it’s hearing what it means to the players as you stand next to the touchline.

You can’t really describe these things, you have to experience them yourself and be one of the few hundred that will. A few more might read about that magic on blogs like this but only if the club responsible for that magic starts nudging the 3rd round will the comfily placed, judgemental millions hear about that magic via the conduit of a commentator who has read about it on a blog like this. Or, a commentator who has got their researcher to read about it on a blog like this.

To dredge up … errr … a thing … if a tree falls down in a wood and no one hears it, does it actually make a sound? That sound is the magic of the FA Cup. Of all the billions of magical noises that will be made in or about the FA Cup this season, the majority of the sounds will not be heard. Get out there and listen to them or they won’t actually have happened.

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Non League Day
Bobby Robson Foundation