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FA Cup Magic Is Back & ex-Players Return To WHL

As the third round of the FA Cup kicked off yesterday I wondered to myself if it was as special as it used to be. Many people have said over the last 15 years or so that the FA Cup has lost some of the magic it once had and I can’t really argue with that. When I was younger, this time of year was as exciting as the final itself, the beginning of what you hope would end with your team at Wembley in the final game of the season lifting the most famous club cup trophy of them all. Nowadays it seems like just another set of fixtures and a chance for managers to rest players after the busy festive period. However, as I watched the games and results yesterday with the likes of Stevenage, Notts County and Burton Albion, all recording victories over clubs in higher leagues some of that magic returned. The fact I had all those teams to lose in an accumulator didn’t quell that feeling either.

Today it’s our turn to hopefully bypass a potential banana skin and start our assault on a trophy we haven’t won for 20 years. When the draw’s made I always pray we’ll get Bristol City away so for once I’ve got a nice short trip to make and can reminisce about by first experience of seeing Spurs live. Unfortunately that never happens and their 3-0 drubbing at home to Sheffield Wednesday yesterday means I’ll have to wait at least another year. Instead, we got a nice home draw against Charlton. When I say nice, I mean the playing at home part of the draw. The team could’ve been worse of course, having missed United or another Premier League team for a change, but fingers crossed we won’t take them lightly.

As always when we play a lower league team it’s a no win fixture. Beat them 4-0 and that’s what people expected, don’t and we’re suddenly back page news. Just ask Mr Wenger how he was feeling with a couple of minutes to go yesterday. I won’t pretend to be an expert on Charlton’s current playing squad but the one thing this fixture has thrown up is the return to White Hart Lane of two ex Spurs. Both signed for Charlton last summer and both have become integral parts of their team. I’m talking about Johnnie Jackson and Gary “Ginger Pele” Doherty.

I had high hopes for Jackson when he first burst onto the scene in 1999 but an inability to really break into the first team on a regular basis resulted in plenty of loan deals and eventually being sold to Colchester where he enjoyed a fairly successful 3 years. It seems he’s now found his level which obviously isn’t in the top flight. It happens to a lot of young players at Spurs.

Gary Doherty joined us at a time when we made him look half decent. Not good, but decent. I don’t mean that to belittle the talents he was born with but when a set of supporters name you The Ginger Pele it’s not because you’re actually as good as Pele but have ginger hair. He did his best though and was often called upon to play as a striker. Whether we were hoping to unearth our very own Chris Sutton who had previously started as a defender and ended up playing for England and winning the title as a striker I don’t know, but it didn’t work. In all fairness to him though, he suited our style and abilities at the time. Since leaving us he’s spent the last 6 years in the Championship with Norwich before making the move to Charlton.

I would expect there’s a few butterflies for both those lads this morning, but excited ones. They’ll be hoping to put in a good performance in the stadium they once plied their trade and I hope they do well. I don’t want them to win but I don’t want those two players to have any part in the reason they don’t. Quite often returning players get booed for one reason or another but at this time of year, in this competition, against lower league opposition, it’s about appreciation. It’s not their fault they didn’t quite cut it at Spurs or played in a poor side. They gave their best for the shirt when asked to play and that’s all we as fans can ask.

So is the magic of the cup still alive? Ask Jackson or The Doc and I expect the answer to be yes. Welcome back lads, I hope you get a beating.

In Other News: Robbie Keane is still at the club even though we had apparently sold him to Birmingham for £7m last Wednesday but David Bentley will be moving to St Andrews on loan if he passes a fitness test this weekend.

PS. Has anyone mentioned the year ends in a ’1′ yet?


Submitted By THFC1882

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