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…

From Newcastle to the Preston North Ends… of the World

See what I did there?? Bah, not the laughs I expected!

So after our last trip v QPR, our current team is still Sheffield United. I will be honest, I never thought I would have an affection with a team who sported red and white as their team colours!

However, that is where we are right now.

Before iIget onto the game I would just like to say the following, Neil Ashton doesn’t know what he’s talking about, nor does Alan Hansen. To say that our competition, the people’s trophy, is dead in the water is ludicrous, over the past few weeks the BBC has encouraged us to #getcarriedaway and while I know this is painful for fellow toon supporters to read… that’s just exactly what the old gal gave us this weekend.

We are following this glorious competition from the extra preliminary round all the way to the final – to emphasise what a task that is – keep in mind the diehard Bradford fan who stood for 6hrs to be told sorry no tickets left!

We pay for our own tickets, our own travel and although we are doing this in aid of The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, they have very little input on how we get to and get into venues. It takes a lot of work, usually by myself, to communicate with the clubs to let them know we are coming and what we are doing!

SO… this weekend.

Wow, can I just say WOW again! Bradford, Blackburn, Boro and the Blades. Well alright, not so much the blades. Watching them a few weeks ago dismantle QPR minute by minute was quite a contrast to what was on show today away at Preston. Albeit the fact they had a League Cup SEMI-FINAL on the horizon, nothing seemed to go their way from the off. The first half was broke up by a combination of bad refereeing and well umm, worse refereeing.

I could talk about the rest of the game but it ended 1-1,with a replay scheduled for the 3rd Feb, we don’t do replays remember…

The trip itself was more about old faces and new friends.

We left Newcastle at 5.30am, arriving at Manchester at around 9am. Managed to get the other two lads from our neck of the woods to come to the national football museum again and get a group photo with the trophy itself.

On the way down on the bus we met a group of lasses going to Birmingham NEC… the main attraction was a girl called Channy Thompson, a singer from up our way taking part in the final of the Open Mic competition. An amazing singer if you check her out on youtube!

fa cupOffered support and then we were off. After we did the photo shoot at the museum we headed towards Preston North End. A msg came on twitter from one of the lads we originally travelled down to Plymouth with, I was the only fan stuck next to an away supporter. Anyhoo his missus contacted us and we met them at a local pub, what a bunch of guys… chatted for ages about Preston, about the amazing Sir Tom Finney, then met them after the game. So we got home at GAWD AWFUL o’clock, and then waited for the draw…

We were as ever the last bloody tie drawn – Preston North End v Sheffield United / Cambridge v Manchester United.  I’d like to think whatever end of the draw we end up following here, it will carry on the greatest FA Cup season I can remember in my lif time. If only the other clubs would see what this all means to us!

So, THIS Friday (30 Jan) we have a charity event at the Junction pub in Newcastle – £2 a ticket, Gavin Webster, The Found plus others performing… and then, Tuesday… we are doing a replay. Going to see Sheffield v Preston. From there, who knows.

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