A group of Newcastle fans came up with a win/win idea, to reinvigorate their love affair with the FA Cup, whilst at the same time raising valuable funds for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

Coinciding with the kick-off of the Premier League back on Saturday 16 August, the FA Cup also started  with the Extra Preliminary round, the first of fourteen stages of the 143 year old famous Cup competition, with the fourteenth obviously being the final at Wembley.

fa cupThe four friends (Wayne Soulsby, Mac Crawford, Pete Hind and Malcolm Larkin) started at Newcastle Benfield v Penrith AFC (whoever won that tie, Malcolm and as many of his friends as possible would go and watch in the next round, then the winner of that tie and so on – all the way to the final). They are paying for all of their own travel and costs, with any monies raised going directly to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

Malcolm updates us on the latest leg of the journey…

Not every journey starts with small steps…

We’ve done some mileage on our way to the third round, met some wonderful people and to be honest, visited some venues we probably wouldn’t have. The main thing that motivates us is our love of football and our love of this competition raising funds for charity is a bonus. It doesn’t mean we don’t have opinions, we just have to be diplomatic at times ha ha.

FA CUP 3rd Round weekend..

Friday 2nd Jan – Tuesday 6th, whoever thought of this gem needs to be spoken to. Nevertheless our hearty travellers left Newcastle at 1:30am Sunday to head for London, the latest draw put our current team Sheffield United v Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road. Pete had to sit this journey out due to illness so myself and Mac upped our frequent flyer miles on what is now called the Sweet FA Cup bus aka megabus!

We got to London around 7:45am, with kick-off not till 1pm we had a bit of time to kill so set about taking photos of landmarks in London with the pair of us and our trusty Sweet FA Cup banner. The highlight of which was Mac asking an armed police officer if we could take a photo with a Horses Guard. Priceless! I was halfway down Whitehall dying with embarrassment lol.

We got to Loftus road, we’d spoken to QPR in advance, and they published an article on their website and also featured us in their match day programme to support our fundraising effort! Classy group of lads they have down there.

Alas though, when it comes to the match, it was all about Sheffield. As per our aim, we were in the away end as Sheffield won the last game. 2800 mad Yorkshire souls who stood for the whole 90 mins and sang their hearts out!

QPR put quite a strong team out considering their FA Cup record is abysmal, winning just twice in past 14 seasons and being eliminated 46(!) times at this stage in the past 70 years… Keep in mind Sheffield United are in league 1! They’d already had a few Premier league scalps in the past 12 months, could they add another this afternoon?

The game started brightly, albeit with an air of inevitability. Sheffield took the lead through Mark McNulty on the 36th minute and throughout the game didn’t look out of place on a Premier League ground. Sheffield kept the lead till half time – QPR surely couldn’t be as bad in the second 45 as they were in the first.

They weren’t much better that’s for sure, man of the match Jay McEveley was resolute in defence and two second half goals by Jamal Campbell-Ryce showed how bad QPR’s defence really was. The first on 49 minutes, which can only be put down as a goalkeeping error, the second a laughable header back to the keeper from Leroy Fer and Campbell-Ryce toying with the defence before slotting the third home in injury time.

Final result QPR 0-3 Sheffield United

With the game finishing early afternoon, myself and Mac parted ways with Chris and wandered around London for a few hours, before settling at Wetherspoons in Victoria Station and chatting to a chap about all things FA Cup related, our journey and where we might end up next. Then finally we set off for home at 10:30, arriving back in Newcastle at 4:30am on 4th round draw day… what would the magic balls have in store for us this time!?

fa cupWorst case scenario was Brighton, Southampton, Bristol, Bournemouth, Cardiff or Swansea. London wasn’t a bad shout, nor was the north west.

We were ball 29 and when it finally popped out we were drawn at Preston North End. A fixture where both teams should surely fancy their chances of the fifth round and a decent run in the cup. The tie has been confirmed as a Saturday 3pm kick-off to the relief of all of us – love 3 o’clock kick offs on a Saturday!

One final thing of note

Sweet FA Cup are hosting a fundraising event at The Junction Bar in Newcastle (Next to Haymarket Metro) on 30th January with a 7pm start. Tickets will be £2 and available at the bar next week.

We have lined up a comedian and are working on getting a band to perform, as well as other guests.

We are working to create a special evening in aid of The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and as always all money raised will go directly to the Foundation.

Please remember we are doing this all in aid of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation. Everything you donate goes directly to them! We are paying for our own travel and tickets to the games.

You can also donate via Justgiving text, simply text FACP76 followed by £1, £2, £5 or £10 to 70070.

We will be keeping people updated with our journey on www.justgiving.com/sweetfacup and via twitter @sweetfacup