Oldham Athletic fan Pete Wild was expecting to be in the away end at Craven Cottage yesterday, cheering on the team with five friends. Instead he was in the dugout masterminding his club's 2-1 victory over Premier League strugglers Fulham.
Manager Frankie Bunn had been sacked after a 6-0 defeat by Carlisle United at Brunton Park on St Stephen's Day and Wild, 33, the academy boss, had to tell his mates that he would have to owe them for the ticket and the £70 train fare.
"I got called into the chairman's office on the 27th and he asked if I could take the team," he said. "Who'd have thought 10 days later we'd be sat here like this now?"
Oldham, owned by Moroccan football agent Abdallah Lemsagam, are 10th in League Two, and in October the players threatened to strike over unpaid wages.
Last night, Wild was on 'Match of the Day' explaining how they had beaten Premier league opponents with nerve, resolve and a little fortune at the right moments.
Trailing to Denis Odoi's first goal of the season, they equalised through substitute Sam Surridge's penalty and stayed alive when goalkeeper Daniel Iversen saved a Fulham spot-kick from Aleksandar Mitrovic six minutes from time.
Four minutes later, 20-year-old Wigan Athletic loanee Callum Lang headed them into the fourth round.