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Sweet FA Cup – An Emotional Journey

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 16 August, the FA Cup also started on that Saturday 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.

The four friends (Wayne Soulsby, Mac Crawford, Pete Hind and Malcolm Larkin) started at Newcastle Benfield v Penrith AFC (whoever won that tie, Malcolm and friends would go and watch in the 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.

Always on our mind…

An emotional start to the week, we are Newcastle fans through and through… and as the news broke about Jonas Gutierrez it focused us on what we were doing and why.

A position later solidified by a visit to The Sir Bobby Robson Centre at the Freeman Hospital. I left there more determined, more adamant, to make this trip a success and fight this terrible disease by raising money for such a worthy cause.

We started this journey 6 weeks ago, on a summer’s day in Newcastle. We visited our first game at Newcastle Benfield. The premiership was kicking off its first weekend of the season, we were 2 mins from Walkergate metro, attendance 85.

They lasted four games in this season’s FA Cup, a cup run that would make most premiership teams proud! But we aren’t in the premiership, we don’t have the multi million pound transfer records, we don’t have the 40,000/50,000 capacity stadiums.

We are currently at non-league, FA Cup grass roots style. The money that Newcastle Benfield have made from playing this season’s competition will help them more than most can comprehend. I even read an article this week that showed one club being able to buy kit bags for each of their players. This is the cutting edge of football, this is where the real magic begins. Obviously by my previous comments you can tell that Newcastle Benfield did not emerge winners from the Second Qualifying round intact.

However, they should hold their heads high as they gave it all they had. For the first 42 minutes of the game I would say they had the best opportunities and possession. They dominated a team two leagues above them, the impossible seemed ever so close. However, on 43 minutes after a scramble in the box, the ball deflected into the net. Buxton FC 1 Newcastle Benfield 0.

The second half started and already a goal up, Buxton FC pressed, a soft penalty was given where the goalkeeper was adjudged to bring down a player inside the box. At the time I was chatting to the chap who did the PA at Buxton, even he stated it was harsh. The Benfield goalkeeper saved the penalty, and for the briefest of moments it seemed they could get out of this with at least a draw, sadly they conceded from the resulting corner and the game ended 2-0 with Newcastle Benfield not getting anything from the game.

On a side note, I would openly admit these few short weeks have reinvigorated my passion for the game again. I was a little disheartened by the whole sport until now. The staff at Newcastle Benfield have been amazing, friendly, offering support and even gave us travel down to the Buxton FC game.

So now we are following Buxton FC and where are we going next? Is it going to be back in Derbyshire?

That was the question me and the lads were asking. Monday came and as it came close to the draw, I again felt that anticipation I felt when I was a kid waiting for my team to come up in the draw.

And so it came, we/Buxton are away, but as of yet don’t know if it’s going to be Bradford Park Avenue FC or AFC Fylde… Bradford or Blackpool, we find out tonight.

Four games so far, 330 miles and seen 9 goals… the adventure has started.

(ED: AFC Fylde eventually overcame Bradford PA and so the intrepid four FA Cup followers will be heading over to Blackpool on Saturday 11 October)

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

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