The Magic of the FA Cup’ is a saying that’s closely associated with ‘The Road to Wembley’ and surely plays a prominent part in the memory of every football fan. As AFC Bournemouth progressed to the 4th Round with a convincing win against Oldham it started to evoke memories of another cup run from the 1950’s. This was before the dizzy heights of Premier League football where AFC Bournemouth had to scrap it out in the lower reaches of the footballing pyramid. During these days they plied their trade in Division Three South.
The beauty about football is everyone has their own fascinating story to tell. At 8am in Auckland, Russell Glenister was only too happy to chat about those cherished footballing memories whilst living in Poole, Dorset.
He left Poole to emigrate ‘down under’ some fifty three years ago in 1968 and enjoyed the opportunity to recall his football memories. These memories included playing as a goalkeeper for Branksome Athletic in the 1960’s at Branksome Rec.
It was his recollections of a fabulous FA Cup run that The Cherries had in 1957 where they mixed with some footballing heavyweights that captured the imagination.
They defeated Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0 away in an earlier round at Molineux and he recalled, “Wolves had a really good side with Billy Wright, the England captain and Bert Williams in goal,” said Glenister.
Tottenham Hotspur were defeated 3-1 at Dean Court in the next round and they brought down all their top international players. Glenister recalled, “Danny Blanchflower and all that gang were playing for Spurs. Ted Ditchburn in goal, the England goalkeeper. They reckon 28,000 standing people were at Dean Court that and I still have the programme.”
“Two weeks later Manchester United came to town. They were the top team. Everyone called them The Busby Babes. It was before the Munich air crash when they lost all of their good players. Duncan Edwards was a famous player that played and Bobby Charlton also. We were winning at half time and they beat us 2-1.”
Duncan Edwards is cited by many as the greatest English player ever but unfortunately died as a twenty one year old less than a year later in The 1958 Munich Air Disaster. Not many got the chance to see him play.
“He was brilliant. I saw him play for England Schoolboys at Wembley in 1954. And I still have the programme for that too. Duncan Edwards was a solid right half. A fabulous player.
“Bobby Charlton was playing too. He was not that tall, only about five foot eight but was solid. He had a hell of a shot on him too where he could hit the ball. He was strong, Duncan Edwards was the same.
The memories and passion were evident and Russel Glenister is a real football fan squeezed into millions of football fans out there. He reminisced about past football days. Days that can take you back to that Saturday afternoon where you can hear the excited anticipation of the fans buzzing at the stadium. The expectation to be entertained throughout nail biting along the 90 minute journey of football hysteria.
It got me thinking about today’s football and how spectating is based in the comfort of your own homes. Of course AFC Bournemouth have ambitions of securing promotion back to the Premier League but maybe a decent cup run will allow fans to speak so passionately in fifty years’ time about the cup run that raised their Covid spirits at home with their family.
In a funny way this could increase the family feel to the club and lift those in the AFC Bournemouth community. Households can huddle together over a cuppa and create memories that are same but different to that of Glenister. It can be known as The Household Cup where the family can dream together.
These dreams can flow to the community of households watching eagerly dreaming together of Wembley Cup Final. Dreams of glory that can flow to Glenister in New Zealand via fellow Cherries fans along the way.
However, Crawley will be tough opposition and the beauty of The FA Cup is you just don’t know.
As someone once said, ‘it’s a funny old game.’