1) You can’t match it for tradition
It’s the oldest cup competition in the world, and many people’s fi rst football memory will be something to do with the FA Cup. Th e basic format hasn’t changed over the years, they haven’t meddled too much with it, and it’s that raw knockout element to the competition that keeps us hooked.
2) It’s exciting, especially when we go far
It’s fantastic to follow our progress through the competition, when we win a few games. From tuning in to the third-round draw to the latter stages, the excitement builds with each round, especially if our rivals lose and we’re still in it!
3) It has created some of our best, and most painful, memories
Trevor Brooking’s header at Wembley in 1980; Ronnie Boyce’s last-minute winner in 1964; the heartbreak of Liverpool in 2006. Victory or defeat, these games had us off our seats: some of the best and most painful memories come from our FA Cup matches.
4) We love an underdog
It’s great watching the likes of Cambridge United hold Manchester United to a draw. We love it when we have an opportunity to knock out a so-called ‘bigger name’ in a cup competition. I need not remind you of our trip to Manchester United in 2001 – taxi for Barthez, anyone? Let’s just not mention some of the teams who have knocked us out..
5) We can be involved in matches against teams we wouldn’t normally play
Yes, I know there’s the League Cup. But the FA Cup gives you the opportunity to play a team that, sometimes (with all due respect) you’ve never heard of – who doesn’t want a tie against Dover Athletic? Big game, passionate crowd, entertaining to watch and (hopefully) a West Ham win at the end of it. Lovely.
6) It probably represents our best chance of winning something
We won’t win the Premier League and, for whatever reason, we don’t have a great record in the League Cup. Th is is our chance for glory boys!
7) It’s a competition that fills us with hope
Most years, neutral commentators have us, at best, as dark horses to win the competition. We, however, as West Ham fans decide every year that this will be the year. With every match and every victory, we become more and more convinced. B