That was certainly a weird weekend in terms of the FA Cup Third Round, with apologies to one Louis Theroux. To much laughter and in certain quarters great joy, Wessi’s Cambridge United defeated the Richest Club in the World at St James’s Park, lowly Kidderminster Harriers turned over Reading and Arsenal sported a one-off nameless white kit for their defeat at Forest.
The reason for the Gunners’ shirt initiative is an excellent one it must be said. This kit will never be commercially available and will only ever be awarded to individuals who are making a positive difference in the community. Following the game, the ten shirts worn by outfield players were gifted to organisations doing work in the community such as The Stephen Lawrence Day Foundation and The Ben Kinsella Trust that address some of the root causes of knife crime and youth violence.
The scheme is backed by both Ian Wright and prominent Gooner fan, the one and only Idris Elba.
Maybe the weirdest thing of the whole weekend though is that Norwich City scored a goal and… won a match. The defeat of Charlton has earned us an away tie at Molineux on weekend beginning February 4 which is probably not exactly the draw we would have wanted. But we’re through and that’s really a bit of an unexpected bonus if I’m honest.
James Colman and Gary G gave their thoughts on the game itself yesterday, so I’ll just add a couple of observations of my own.
Immediately prior to the match Andy Hughes and/or Neil Adams and/or Stuart Webber decided to loan 19-year-old striker Tom Dickson-Peters to Gillingham, whose debut came when he was introduced as a late sub in the Kent side’s 4-0 home reverse to… another team that plays in blue. Quite how Steve Evans will aid Tom’s development over the next five months is beyond my ken, but we’ll see.
That means that we’ll have to see the season out at the top end with Teemu Pukki, Adam Idah and one Josh Sargent, who universally attracted the diametric opposite of rave reviews after the final whistle on Sunday.
One cheeky Addick came up with a line about our USA international on Twitter that a mate passed to me on Sunday night. I must admit it made me laugh when perhaps I should have reacted more pragmatically:
*I am reporting [Charlton defender] Ryan Inniss to the RSPCA for having the ginger poodle in his back pocket*.
Dean Smith, as seemingly always, made a spot-on summary with five staccato sentences:
“It wasn’t a pretty game. I expected nothing less from Charlton. I wanted us to try and control the tempo but we were nowhere near good enough on the ball.
“You have to be right up for it because they made it a proper cup tie. We only had one shot in the first half and that is not good enough.”
I can’t say that I disagree with you on any of that, Dean.
A beneficial by-product of this weird weekend for me is that I got to watch three pretty decent games of live football on telly. Millwall came up with a flurry of plastic bottles and some homophobic abuse for the boy Gallagher as they lost to Palace.
West Ham [yes I know, it’s tomorrow night] looked cool, calm and collected against Leeds with a relatively easy 2-0 and, with next season in mind, Forest were awesome against an Arsenal side who never got going. Would I fancy our chances against Steve Cooper’s men right now? No, I bl00dy well wouldn’t.
But we’re not playing them for now. Oh no. We’re off to meet the Wolvers and somebody told me the last time we played them at Molineux in the Cup we were on the wrong end of a 5-1 hiding. Possibly the only person I know who will be pleased about this particular fixture is MFW regular Don H, who lives in the West Midlands and should be able to take in the game.
With the weird weekend over, it’s a busy week for City. Nothing to worry about on Wednesday of course at the East London Stadium when we face Michael Antonio, Declan Rice and their mates. Phew, that’ll be an easy game, won’t it?
I missed an outro trick a week ago so I’d better put it right this time around. RIP Stuart Adamson.