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Sweet FA Cup – One Down Thirteen To Go

6 years ago
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Four 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 on Saturday, the FA Cup also started on Saturday with the Extra Preliminary round, this is the first of fourteen stages of the 143 year old famous Cup competition, with the fourteenth obviously being the final at Wembley.

The four friends went to Newcastle Benfield v Penrith AFC (whoever wins that tie, Malcolm and friends will go and watch in next round, then the winner of that tie and so on – all the way to the final) to kick off their Cup adventure. They are paying for all of their own travel and costs, with any monies raised going directly to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

Wayne Soulsby, Mac Crawford, Pete Hind and Malcolm Larkin

Malcolm takes up the story of their first step;

An amazing start to an amazing journey.

I know that I can speak for all four (Wayne Soulsby, Mac Crawford, Pete Hind and myself, Malcolm Larkin) of us when I say this… it was a brilliant start to this season’s FA Cup!

Could hardly sleep Friday night and awoke early this morning with butterflies and goose bumps – excited by the day ahead.

I emailed The Mag an article to launch our journey and at 9:40am Saturday morning (Matchday!) it went live –  with the headline “[intlink id=”46154″ type=”post”]Newcastle Fans Start Epic FA Cup Journey On First Day Of Premier League Season!\”[/intlink]

It hit me that what we were about to embark upon was real and then I sent a tweet to the @FA who retweeted it, then it dawned on me that a potential 1 million people had access to that tweet. Within minutes my phone was going crazy with people retweeting us and adding us to their follow lists.

I paced the room waiting eagerly to leave to go to town to meet the lads and we were off!!

Arrived at the ground feeling a nervousness and anticipation that I don’t think I’ve felt going to a football match for a long time.

Going into the game, Penrith had just been beaten 7-0 the previous match and only had 1 substitute on the bench, while Newcastle Benfield had won their last game 5-0!

Result was surely a foregone conclusion… this is the FA Cup, nothing is certain! Penrith beat Newcastle Benfield at the same stage last season, 1-0 dumping them out of the competition.

The prize was a home tie against Kendal town in the next round and a guaranteed £1500, which we were told for a club of Newcastle Benfield’s size, it means a lot. The attendance was 55!

Someone forgot to tell Penrith AFC the script and after a dominating spell they scored a superb goal to make it 0-1 to the visitors!

At that point I turned around to the lads and commented that the FA Cup doesn’t respect form or what is expected!

Half time came and it certainly looked at that point we were going to be making our first road trip out of the area in the next round to see Penrith v Kendal, especially when two of the Newcastle Benfield lads were booked by the referee for fighting with each other.

Half time came and we sampled some of the local grub from the ground, £3 for pie and chips, great value.

Newcastle Benfield came out the second half resurgent & determined and scored midway through the half, all but ending the tie less than 10 minutes later with their second goal.

A reasonable penalty shout was denied for the home side and they pressed for a third. There was a bit of pressure towards the end by Penrith but Newcastle Benfield held on.

Overall it was a fantastic experience. The hosts and visitors were amazing and very friendly and allowed us to get some photos with the team captains before the game kicked off.

One game down… thirteen to go, we will be back at Newcastle Benfield on the 30th August when they take on Kendal Town.

A fantastic memory, one of many we know we are going to treasure and remember for a long time to come.

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

(ED: Apologies to the four fundraisers, we managed to chop the end of their article off originally!)

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