Everyone knows about the FA Cup. Don’t they? It’s one of those iconic things that you recognise whenever you see it. Children dream of their team winning it. Players dream of lifting it. And whilst they all dream about it and think about it, it is always just out of reach.
Mr B and I went to Wembley last year to see Man City (Mr B’s team) play Wigan. Wigan, the underdogs, something like 80 years since they had been in an FA Cup final. Their players living the dream, never giving up hope that one day they would be the team that lifted the Cup. Man City possibly a bit too confident that they would win it. 80,000 fans cheering for their team to do the deed, screaming their manager or favourite player’s name. Willing that winning goal to be scored. Waiting for that dream to turn into reality.
And when the goal went in for Wigan at about 70 minutes that was it. Dream shattered for Man City. History made for Wigan.
That is what the FA Cup means to fans.
To clubs it means even more. Being able to keep a share of ticket money, or money from the TV rights can literally keep a club going for a couple of years to come if they get through a few rounds.
So when I was asked just before Christmas if we wanted to have the FA Cup in our house for a day I had to read the email a couple of times to make sure I was reading it correctly. The FA Cup. In our house. Not a replica. Not in a glass box. But in our actual house. The actual FA Cup. I have forwarded some odd emails to my husband in my time as a blogger but this took the biscuit.
His first reaction was “I will be out”. Still smarting eight months later at the idea that City hadn’t won it. And then quickly changing his mind as he realised even though Man City couldn’t lift it this year, he could.
This is the press release that talks about a new initiative launched by the FA and Michael Owen last year and is the answer to “Why the hell have you got the FA Cup in your house, Barrow?””
FA CUP DREAMS
– New FA Cup initiative to make kids’ football dreams come true –
The FA is giving children a chance to make their FA Cup dreams a reality throughout this season’s competition culminating with one lucky fan winning the ultimate sleepover with The FA Cup trophy at Wembley Stadium the night before the 2014 Final.
The scheme will give boys and girls around the country the chance to live out the dreams of countless football fans from the Third Round through to the Final with some fans even winning the chance to walk onto the Wembley pitch with the players at The FA Cup 2014 Final.
The initiative is being launched by FA Cup winner and former Liverpool, Manchester United and England legend Michael Owen in an aim to introduce a new generation to the magic of the world’s oldest domestic football competition, famed for its unpredictable moments and legendary giant killings.
Michael Owen commented: “Winning The FA Cup is something you dream about when you’re playing in the local parks as a boy and I was fortunate enough to not only win it but also score two goals in an extraordinary final“. People always talk about the magic of the competition and I think we saw it at its best last season when Wigan defied the odds against Manchester City in the Final and the Third Round this season has again thrown up a load of David vs Goliath ties in a way no other competition in the world can
“The FA Cup is one of the most recognisable pieces of silverware in the world and I hope to see the next generation of aspiring footballers fall in love with it the way I did“
Children and families who enter the competition on The FA Cup Facebook will be chosen at random to win once-in-a-lifetime FA Cup experiences including the chance to win round-by-round sleepovers with the official trophy in their homes overnight and drift off to sleep dreaming of their heroes who have lifted The FA Cup before them.
Winners will be chosen at random ahead of Third, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Round ties. An overall winner will then be selected to win a sleepover with the trophy for their family at Wembley Stadium the night before The FA Cup Final.
The initiative is part of a wider FA Cup Dreams campaign launched by The FA this season to take the magic of the competition to a new generation of fans at every participating club throughout the 2013/14 season
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We invited lots of friends over yesterday to come and lift the Cup, not telling them what was going on. Just that they had to come to our house for a football themed party. The idea that I was hosting a football themed party should have alerted them to the fact that something bonkers was going on!
The look on their faces as they saw the FA Cup on our coffee table was just bonkers. The security guards (yes, it has its own team of security) were on hand to show everybody how to lift it and quite happy for everybody to have their moment, and their photo. Yes, you can actually touch it!
After it had left it all felt a bit surreal but then I read this first thing this morning and it brought home to me just what it is all about. This is a note from a friend of mine whose son had major surgery on Thursday but was allowed out of hospital for the afternoon to come along. He is an avid Reading supporter and despite only being 11 knows all there is to know about football. If this doesn’t sum up how the FA Cup makes dreams come true, I don’t know what does:
*reflecting on what happened today*
R*** was let out of Hospital for a few hours today to do something extra special… Hold the REAL FA Cup!!! The £1.5m trophy of the footballing world in which all of his heroes have held before!! It is stuff most grown men would only dream about. R***, with his freshly operated on ACE tube and his cannula still in, got to do what every footballer and fan dream of in their life and do just that from the comfort of a sofa in the living room of a friend… A friend I met only a short time ago but has become an amazing part of my life, a friend who I only know through blogging but who’s life is actually more bonkers than mine!! Today T made this poorly little boy very, very happy and now it’s sunk in and others have told him how jealous they are, he’s even happier. He’s back in his hospital bed sleeping now but still smiling in his sleep.
Today dreams were made. Today was a good day. Tomorrow who knows what that will bring but we will always remember today.
Thank you Tanya it honestly couldn’t have come at a better time. Xxx
What else is there to add? Yes, I could give you a load of facts that I learnt about the Cup and its history, and maybe I will in the next few weeks.
But right now,all that matters is that people had a dream come true yesterday and that was thanks to 8kgs of silver that might be insured for £1.5 million but in reality is priceless. As are all the pictures and memories created.
Football, it really is a funny old game isn’t it?