The world as we know it at the minute isn’t normal, we are kept away from family and friends, a simple haircut by a professional is out of reach at the moment, a quick pint after work is at least a couple weeks away! To add to the weirdness of this time, its the end of June and it is FA Cup 1/4 final weekend.
To add to the inexplicable nature of this weekend, Newcastle are still in the cup. No I’m not dreaming, we haven’t regressed to a happier time, where ambition was a common word around the lifeblood that is Newcastle United. Steve Bruce’s Newcastle United side will walk out onto the St James’ pitch tonight, one game away from a Wembley Semi-Final.
There is a certain magic that surrounds the cup. Every team on an equal plane, anything can happen. There are moments you will always remember; The Crazy Gang in ’88, Liverpool’s Spice Boys, Di Matteo breaking Wor Jackie Milburn’s over 40 year record of fastest goal in a cup final! But for at least a couple of generations of Newcastle fans, we remember ’98 and ’99, we made the final, but that was about it. But it was still the FA Cup final, it means something.
For 13 years the cup has still meant so much to the fans, but the club, or at least the hierarchy see it as something to ignore, lets face it you don’t get anywhere near the money to progress in the cup, as you do for just staying in the Premier league. That isn’t what the cup is about!
It’s about belief that on that day you are better than the other 11 men you are facing, it’s about dreaming of that day out to the National Stadium, watching your team climb the steps to lift one of, if not THE most famous cup competition in world football. It’s a love affair that can hurt you year after year, but you go back for more the next year!
This brings us back to today. Sunday June 28th, a day when the new breed of Newcastle hopefuls go against a Man City side who are our first obstacle to lifting the Cup for the first time since 1955!
It has been an up and down cup run. There have been replays against ‘lesser’ sides, helicopter celebrations live on TV, inflatable symbols to that helicopter celebration! The entire stand given to us away to West Brom, hugging those closest to you as goal, after goal went in…is it time to believe?
None of this is normal, the fact we are still there, the fact that we have something to give us hope, the fact that there is a chance! The fact there is almost a black cloud over it in the fact we can’t be there! St James’ Park would have been bouncing, it would have been a war cry to those 11 players who stepped out to face City, that this is their chance to become hero’s, or close too! This is the new normal, and there is still a certain amount of magic.
Newcastle United are still in the cup, it’s Man City, but there is a chance, there is always a chance!
Newcastle United kick off in the quarter finals of the FA Cup tonight, for the first time in forever…..They couldn’t could they?