Three Steps To Heaven… wa-wa-waaaah!

Hands up, who hasn’t dreamt of scoring the winning goal for their team in the Cup Final? (…Just as I thought). Let’s be honest that really would be heaven for many of us. The problem with Eddie Cochran’s suggestion is there aren’t three steps to win the cup, there’s sixteen; 14 rounds, a Semi-final and the Final. The closest we can get to Eddie’s ideal are the three big milestones on that road to Wembley; the Extra Preliminary Round (everyone you’ve never heard of trying to knock each other out), the 1st Round (television, and the less significant professional clubs, join in and try to knock out most of the remaining teams you’ve never heard of), and the 3rd Round (“the big boys” come along, very late because they’ve been busy making money, and generally beat anyone still involved). Growing up, I’d never really heard of the former but both the other two I was very familiar with. I’d watched them live many times, and for as long as I can remember I’ve eagerly awaited the draws for these rounds. Those are truly special days in the football calendar.
Next Sunday sees The Third Round Draw, the final milestone of this season’s Cup. The final sixty-four teams pitted together from which the eventual winner will emerge. In preparation for this, usually all I need to know is that Watford are number 40 (a regular occurrence due to the alphabetical listing of the top two divisions’ teams at this stage) and then I sit back and get excited for the velvet bag to appear. This season however, with my new focus for The Cup, the anticipation from now until the draw is excruciating. Not only am I looking out for my beloved Watford, but now I’m watching other to see how the games I can watch might pan out, and this includes every team within a two hour radius; the Midlands, West Country, South Wales, the South Coast, and of course London. Thus those 37 numbers on my radar for Sunday are;
Arsenal (1), Aston Villa (2), Birmingham (4), Brighton (8), Bristol City (9), Cardiff (11), Chelsea (12), Coventry (13), Palace (14), Derby (15), Fulham (18), Leicester (22), Millwall (27), Pompey (32), QPR (33), Reading (34), Saints (35), Swansea (38), Spurs (39), Watford (40), West Brom (41), West Ham (42), Wolves (44), Salisbury (45?), Stourbridge/Stevenage (46), Swindon (48?), Leyton Orient/Gillingham (50), Crawley/Redbridge (51), Luton/Cheltenham (52), Brentford (54?), AFC Wimbledon (55?), Dagenham & Redbridge (57?), Barnet (58?), Aldershot (60?), Sutton (61?), Totton/Bristol Rovers (63), and Charlton (64?)
The full list of numbers can be found here;

The FA Cup & Competitions

I’ll be watching because deep down I know this year will be Watford’s… maybe!
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