Sunday 6th January 2019
Any Premier League side who plays a team from a lower league in the FA Cup is expected to win. But the competition is what it is for its lengthy history of shocks. So the TV companies turn up longing to be providing coverage of the next one. And when it doesn’t happen the higher ranked club gets zero credit for putting in a professional performance and getting the job done. Instead words like ‘strolled’ and ‘routine’ make up the match reports.
For me FA Cup 3rd Round day is right up there as one of the very best on the football calendar. Especially when you are away from home. Why this is the case is difficult to put into words. But there is certainly a buzz about the day. And a sense of a full ‘army’ of travelling fans turning up for the day.
My journey started when I left my house at 6am yesterday morning and after a brekkie at Euston it was onto a direct train to Blackpool North, one that almost felt like a football special.
A few beers with my fellow travelling Gooners saw us arrive in good spirits and we checked into our hotel located actually in Bloomfield Road on what was to be a strange old day.
Blackpool fans are very unhappy with the current owners of their club and amongst other things they have shown their anger by simply not turning up. If the stadium had been full yesterday it would have gone totally against the beliefs of the majority. But it wasn’t and fair play.
It made it a strange old atmosphere.
One of the huge attractions with an away day in the cup is a ferocious home following full of excitement and doing their utmost to make it as difficult and uncomfortable as possible for the visitors. Like at Preston and Nottingham Forest in recent seasons for example. So although I support the Tangerines’ fans in their plight, yesterday lacking any of that was a shame.
On the pitch the players out there did their job and no matter how we analyse and look at how we played, on a difficult surface, with everyone outside our club wanting us to fail, 3 nil is thoroughly satisfactory. Into Monday night’s 4th round hat we go.
Post match we enjoyed a few beers, some questionable karaoke in an even more questionable pub and a late night curry bringing a fine trip to a satisfactory conclusion.
And that brings me to my train journey home today and my thoughts turn to West Ham away this coming weekend.
Up the Gunners!