Gazza’s free kick against the scum, Ricky Villa’s goal against Manchester City, Bobby Smith and Terry Dyson’s goals against Leicester in 1961 – all magical moments. All great events in our clubs history. All in the FA Cup.
When somebody mentions the FA Cup it always brings a smile to my face. Eight times we have won the magnificent trophy. As a 10 year old boy I was lucky enough to be at Wembley to see Gascoigne’s free kick. From that moment on my love affair with the FA Cup began – it always helps when you beat the scum 3-1.
This year we have the chance to do something that we haven’t since 1991 – win the trophy. This is a chance that we have to take hold of with both hands. The draw has worked out favourably and we must take advantage of it.
On Wednesday, when Bolton arrive at the Lane, we have to take care of them quickly and comfortably. The game at The Reebok showed that they couldn’t live with us when we played with pace. With the rejuvenated Gareth Bale raiding down the left, we will have great pace at our disposal. Slick passing, coupled with pace and movement should be too much for the plodders of Bolton.
The FA Cup should be seen as a priority this season, and in every season. The trophy offers a chance of European football. European qualification is possible through the league but why put all our eggs in one basket? We should not waste this opportunity for silverware or the chance to appear in a major final.
Already this season we have missed a great opportunity in the Carling Cup. Our exit at Old Trafford to a Manchester United reserve team was hard to take. They were there for the taking. Backed, as always, with amazing support, the team played with a frightening lack of belief. It was as though they were scared to perform.
Last year in the Uefa Cup it was a similar story. It was as though we gave up on the tournament. Yes, at the time our league position was worrying but this was the Uefa Cup! It takes a lot of hard work to get into, and once we are there, to give up our chance so feebly seems ridiculous.
Giving youngsters a chance is great but playing weakened teams in cup tournaments is not what we fans want. We want the glory, the trophies; we want to show we are the best. Some of the best moments in our club’s history have come not only in the UEFA Cup but in the League and FA Cups as well. The club’s history is built on cup successes and European Glory Nights.
This is why we must take the FA Cup seriously. We have the chance for glory. We have the chance to show that this team is growing and can perform in the big games when it counts – something we have failed to do too many times. This starts with the Bolton game.
Let’s hope that we play a full strength side, as we have done in previous rounds thankfully, and put them to the sword. Let’s make a statement and show that the FA Cup matters and that Tottenham Hotspur are taking it seriously. Let’s have another day at Wembley.
I only hope that if we do get there I can get a ticket this time!