Oh the romance of the FA Cup!
As Ron manager would say: ‘ Paulton Rovers AFC… giant killers… Mmm … Aren’t they? Jumpers for goal-posts. Small boys in the park. Rubbing the ball in dog poo and kicking it at the goalie…
‘One man and his dog on their way to the Duck and Ferret… Mmm… Isn’t it?’
So the mighty Paulton Rovers AFC it is then, and the weekend of the 7th of November just can’t come quick enough for Stan.
Maybe it says something damning about Stan’s underlying football sensibilities… and age … that this tie popping out of the hat sent the sort of frisson of excitement through these old bones not experienced since Inter Milan’s name emerged side by side with City’s the best part of 16 years ago…
It’s just utterly brilliant!
Get this from the Paulton website …’Its not known exactly how long Rovers have played at Winterfield Road. Certainly since its formation several grounds have been used including the Chapel Field, and the Cricket Ground, and for a couple of seasons after the War, the Recreation Ground in the village.’
They played at the village rec for heavens sake! You couldn’t make it up, and regardless of the outcome of the match, it promises to be a day that those associated with either club will remember for many years to come.
As this is being written much remains uncertain about what will happen regarding the logistics of the match. Whilst it is almost certain to end up on Sky where it will be played remains a matter of conjecture.
For what it’s worth Stan hopes it goes ahead at Winterfield Road, that the heavens open, the game is played in a quagmire and City win 5-4 with a last minute diving header into the mud from Grant Holt, followed by a celebratory, arms aloft dash around the hot-dog stand in the car park!
Oooh…Stan needs a quick single malt to calm himself…sleep is going to be impossible tonight!
In fact such has been the excitement of this draw that Stan has almost forgotten that we slayed the mighty Swindon on Saturday. Actually maybe it wasn’t the excitement of the draw that brought on this amnesia, maybe it was just the fact that the Swindon game was so forgettable?
Such was the build-up to Saturday, what with Danny ‘I shouldn’t have said that…’ Wilson and all that, that there always seemed likely to be a bit of a damp squib about the game.
In years (and months) gone by, Stan would have feared, and expected a defeat, however as we are all becoming conscious of, things are a bit different under Paul Lambert.
We went into the game minus a number of key players and with others returning from injury ahead of a desired timetable and yet still limped, literally at times, to a 1-0 victory against a side who have proved more than a match for many opponents in this division this season.
It wasn’t pretty to watch but despite some jangling nerves we gritted our teeth and emerged comfortable winners.
Looking back at the game Swindon hardly got a sniff, and considering this happened with City sporting a second-half midfield of Lappin, Mcveigh, Wes and Rusty this indicates just how deep our resilience has become… or alternatively just how week the division is!
There can be little doubt that with Hughes fit and Korey Smith able to return to midfield there is plenty enough about this squad to push for a top two finish. PL has indicated he’d like a few players in to ‘help out’ those he already has and with a couple of additions in key areas we should be fine.
The way that Lambert, Culverhouse and Crook have gone about turning the rag-tag collection of half-paced individuals who kicked off that fateful day in August into the resiliant unit we presently have is little short of remarkable. There is a simplicity and crispness to our play that has been missing for so long.
Clearly something good is stirring in the heart of this club after so many years of terminal and abject decline. Make no mistake there will be heart-break at times in the months ahead, but Stan really feels we’ve finally bottomed out and we can look forward with some hope.
So back to the FA Cup and that utterly giant banana skin that is Paulton Rovers AFC, sitting somewhere off the M4 waiting for the giants that are Norwich to hove into view and plant a size ten on it!
Right then, let’s start doing our homework and have a look at the squad…
Anyone see Ronnie Radford in there? Ah, wait a moment, here he is…