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Almost like 1988

It’s a strange one isn’t it? Strange that a relatively piddly little tournament is bringing out cup final euphoria amongst our frienzied support. Flags, banners, days off work, many hours spent in public houses (all right, so our lot don’t need much of an excuse for that), and all because of a rather dumb scheduled game. Friday night, I ask you…

So what? Well, first things first : losing tonight will not ruin our season. Or at least, it shouldn’t do. This isn’t 14 May 1988 by any means, though others will see it differently. What IS vital tonight is that we don’t totally bottle it. If we do, then the old ghosts will be aired again. Leicester, Spurz, Chelski, three mammoth games where we forgot to grasp any mantle whatsoever, and just made ourselves look fourth division. Tonight is different – we are firm favourites.

We SHOULD win, our league record and general performance suggests that. But this is a cup competition : NGU will want our scalp, and if we’re not giving them 110% minimum respect, there’ll be trouble. They have nothing to lose, and it’s their response as much as ours that will determine tonight. With luck, they’ll look at the projected 5k crowd (though with this weather I think it’ll be 3.5k meself) and totally brick it. On the other hand, they could do what a certain team did on a very sunny day in May 1988 and not brick it.

The pressure on our players must be immense, and they know it. I saw NE at the reserves last night and by all accounts he looked nervous. Presumably the players feel the same as well. Whether this is good nerves or bad nerves we’ll soon find out, but if the OS account is anything to go by, we’re doing it a professional enough way. Getting the players together, doing the cup final team talk etc etc this afternoon is going to focus minds. Wonder if they’ll train as well? Worked in 1988.

As for the rest of it, a couple of things : this won’t be our hardest game of the season, Walton away was. There’s going to be a late licence at KM for the alcoholics, though if this goes into extra time there could be a helluva mad rush. Quite a few locals seem to be interested. And finally, you can bet that Westfield are loving it…..

See you tonite if it’s on, and report up tomorrow. I’ll be the sober one.