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"Breath in that cup magic..."

By Turftalker
January 25 2004

Turftalker writes about the FA Cup victory over Gillingham and argues why he still thinks the FA Cup has that extra bit of magic. READ:

"Ahh the magic is still there..."

 Breath in slowly, but deliberately clarets - for if you try hard enough you can get one big shot of FA Cup magic in to your systems. Yesterday was a great result for us, we did the business on a side who could so easily have been our grim reaper in this cup. Once more Stan and the boys have given us a cup run, and a run in the greatest competition in the world.

Yesterday I read a debate in the Times between Ron Atkinson and a journalist arguing whether the FA Cup still had a magic surrounding it. Today I want to tell all who will listen why I think "Big" Ron was right, why the cup still has that little bit something special.

A few years a go there was uproar when Manchester United decided they did not want to play in the cup. Although I could understand their reasoning, I could not accept it then or even now. Journalists, fans and more were saying this was it, this was the end of the FA Cup as we know. It was going to follow the League Cup as a trophy many bigger teams have little time for. But they have all been proven wrong, the FA Cup has stamina, the FA Cup magic cannot be extinguished by the mere self-exclusion of Manchester United.

The cup allows the average fan to dream of better things. One thing that unites the Burnley, the Telford and the Chelsea fans of this world is that for those 90 minutes when we are watching our team play in the FA Cup, we believe and dream of our captain lifting the famous trophy. Yes, it may be stupid and it may be a nonsense, but it is uplifting in equal measure. Yesterday Chelsea beat non-league Scarborough, but watching the game I saw how the cup magic could make perhaps ordinary players, become unordinary and even for a short while challenge the Abramovich dynasty. This was the cup at its very best, yes Scarborough eventually succumbed to Chelsea, but in doing so they showed us pride, earnt some well deserved cash and showed us that the Turf Moor pitch really is not that bad!

Another reason why the cup is magic is for the feeling of childlike expectation you get when you are in the 48 hour limbo from winning one match and waiting for the draw. No doubt every claret in the country will have his or her own preference to who we should play dependant on finances, chances of progression or historic family rivalries. But I must admit to being so incredibly excited about seeing our number drawn out. I go through a never changing ritual of shouting at the television screen if a team I do not want to play is drawn out. "I don't want them, don't do it" or equally "this is it, we want them, draw us out." Equally it fills me with joy to remember that the names of Preston North End, Blackpool or Blackburn Rovers will not be there - they do not have to cup stamina we seem to have!

Finally the cup has done so much more for Burnley FC this season. It has given us some funds, proved a shot of confidence to players and fans alike and allowed us, for a while at least, to put to one side the league form that really must improve. But I have no doubt it will, if the cup run can continue. They compliment each other so well and make you proud to be a claret.

So clarets, I will be wearing my Burnley shirt with pride today, I will be dreaming of Manchester United away and will be living on the magic of the cup and remember even Match of the Day are praising Robbie Blake - something we seem to have been doing for quite a while!



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