Back in August me & a friend of mine decided to follow the FA Cup itself instead of a team from the extra preliminary round right up to & including the final. 14 games, or more including any replays, could take us anywhere in the country from our starting point of Chadderton in Oldham. The bigger question is if it can be done or not? Well so far so good, cup sponsors Budweiser have been reading my ramblings & have already given me 2 tickets for the final in May with full hospitality! We now just have to get there & this Saturday will see us at Stadium MK for step 9 on the road to Wembley when QPR visit the MK Don’s in the 3rd round.
This will be our 3rd game with the Don’s on this epic journey & we have made some good friends from Milton Keynes who see this Saturday’s game as a welcomed rest bite from their league campaign. Checking over the fans forum there is a genuine excitement as well as a few jangling nerves about the game & there seems to be an element of ‘cup fever’ within the pages. We spoke to Don’s gaffer Karl Robinson just after their win at Barnet in the 2nd round who told us how much he loved the FA Cup & about when he was on the terrace at Wembley in 88 when Barnet manager Lawrie Sanchez broke his heart with his winning goal for Wimbledon against Liverpool. A good cup-run was defiantly in Robbo’s plans for 2012.
QPR fans on the other hand seem to view this game as an obstacle they have to negotiate if they want to achieve premiership survival. No chat at all within their forum about this game even though i’ve tried to raise the point myself. Neil Warnock has stated how he would love to win the FA Cup at some point in his career but then again what manager wouldn’t? In a post match interview after the Norwich game on Monday Warnock said “we haven’t got a game now for a couple of weeks” was this a slip of the tongue, did he mean a league game? Would QPR really field a second string side for this game? Back in August he put out a very weakened side to play Rochdale at home in the Carling Cup that ended in a 0-2 defeat.
So we have all the ingredients needed for the perfect 3rd round cup tie, a struggling premiership side drawn away to a league 1 side challenging for promotion. On paper it’s an away win but when as a football match ever been won on paper? We’re travelling down from Manchester on Saturday and we’ve booked in at the Double Tree hotel at Stadium MK as we don’t plan on going back home until the fun & games of the City v United tie are all over and done with the day after! We will be watching the game on TV as i’m on the FA’s panel to nominate a ‘player of the round’ for each round & my name is on the FA website along with Jim Munro – The Sun, Nigel Adderley – BBC Radio 5 Live, David Barber – The FA’s historian & Jim Rosenthal – ITV FA Cup presenter... sheesh! I’m almost famous lol.