As those who know me know, I’m not a ‘box ticker’. Not that there’s anything wrong with those who travel to kick boxes but it’s just not for me.
That said, what unfolded a few weeks back on a cold and wet London Tuesday was one of those experiences. Dyl and I had made our way to Craven Cottage to watch 1st division side Sheffield United take on bottom of the Premier League table Fulham in a fourth-round FA Cup replay. (Note that the 1st division is the third tier of English football).
We’d bought tickets to sit with the away fans and were joined by Andrew, a good friend of Dyl’s and an ardent Sheffield United fan. As we sipped our beers on an icy winter’s evening, Andrew regaled us with stories of former famous Sheffield United moments. I had no idea, for example, that Brian Dean scored the first goal of the new premier league way back in August 1992 in a 2 -1 win over Manchester United. Or that they had won four FA Cups?
As expected, it wasn’t the best game of football I’d ever seen and there was wasn’t much goal-mouth action. There was, however, continuous chanting and we didn’t sit down for the full 90 minutes.
Not to mention driving rain which we thankfully avoided being under cover. As the temperature plummeted even further, we went into extra time and it looked for all money we were headed for penalties as the minutes ticked by. With 118 minutes gone, Sheffield broke down the right flank and their lone striker managed to secure a corner (just as he cramped). From the ensuing corner, they headed it in to take a lead in the 119th minute!!
As you can imagine, the stand went nuts and the singing and jumping around only intensified. And then that was that – Sheffield United were through to the fifth round of the FA Cup and it had been an incredible evening at Craven Cottage.