Monday 25 June 2018

Acts of resistance warm the heart

Dan Burn is mobbed by fans after Wigan Athletic’s win over Manchester City in the fifth round of the FA Cup at the DW Stadium last Monday. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA
Dan Burn is mobbed by fans after Wigan Athletic’s win over Manchester City in the fifth round of the FA Cup at the DW Stadium last Monday. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA

Eamonn Sweeney

The Magic Of The FA Cup. It's one of those phrases uttered almost exclusively with sarcastic intent. Like Theresa May's 'strong and stable government' mantra, Fox News' 'fair and balanced' slogan or Richard Nixon declaring, 'I am not a crook,' it is so demonstrably and deliciously untrue as to summon an automatic cynical curl of the lip.

Magic is it, me old china? A devalued competition where the strongest clubs send out second teams that still prevail and where even the smaller fish of the Premier League spurn the prospect of success, preferring to save their players for next week's mid-table clash. Magic? Pull the other one, it plays Abide With Me.

Yet it's very hard to avoid the M word when thinking of the moment in the 93rd minute when Steve Davies lashed in the equaliser which earned Rochdale a replay at Wembley against a Spurs team who'd been expected to hammer a side which has won just five of its 29 League One matches this season.

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