TO quote that famous Andy Williams song: “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”.
No, I am not referring to the increasingly early build up to Christmas but the first round of the FA Cup.
It is indeed a wonderful time when our fantastic NonLeague clubs create so much national interest. However, I just wish the mainstream media would stop dragging up the day jobs of NonLeague footballers.
Let me start by saying the FA Cup is still the greatest cup competition in the world as far as I am concerned. It was the highlight of the football season when I was growing up in the 1970s.
For me, the real magic of the FA Cup lies with the NonLeague teams. I still vividly remember those fabled giantkilling feats of the past.
That thunderbolt goal by Ronnie Radford of Hereford United against Newcastle United, Wimbledon goalkeeper Dickie Guy keeping out a penalty from hotshot Peter Lorimer of Leeds United and Harlow Town beating Leicester City, who had a young Gary Lineker in their team.
People always love underdogs and a footballing upset. That is why the Non-League teams add so much intrigue to the FA Cup. And it brings a great deal of much-needed publicity for our level of football.
In saying that, I believe our Non-League footballers are totally disrespected by the once-yearly patronising obsession with trotting out their occupations in the national newspapers and on television.
When I attend a NonLeague match, I don’t start thinking that a carpenter has just passed the ball to a personal trainer. I just watch the football – as does everyone else present.
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