FA Cup photo essay: the road to Wembley

29 May 2017 11:52
Guardian photographer Christopher Thomond documented each round of this year’s FA Cup. Starting with his local team Stockport County in the first round, he followed the winner of each game to the final at Wembley on Saturday.Click here to view Chris Thomond’s photo essays from each roundEdgeley Park, Saturday 5 November I’ve been coming here since I was a kid just after the war. There was no seating of course and they just passed us kids down to the front and we sat on the track at the side of the pitch. My son had been coming for ever, sort of. He passed away but the club looked after him. We had a service here and sprinkled his ashes right over by the goalposts and they put a plaque here on the seat” – Ray Bennett, Stockport County fan This means everything today. We’ve been so unpredictable this season and I thought we were going to struggle. I’m just so happy. Stockport were pretty dirty, Woking were pretty average but, you know, we got through in the end even though the ref was … what can we say about refs this season, awful” – Nicky Donaghey, Woking fanWe played Coventry down here in the FA Cup in the 90s and that was not bad. We drew up there in Coventry but then lost 2-1 down here. I also remember us winning the FA Amateur cup in 1958 so there’s been some good times” – Roger Sherlock, Woking fanI’ve brought my granddaughter Katie, this is her first game, my grandson and … Holly Willoughby. A friend of mine had a cardboard cut-out of her and I thought she looked really good so I brought her to the game. She’s caused quite a stir. This is her second match” – Paul Sparkes, Accrington Stanley fanThe Cup’s been good for us. In 2002-3 we played Huddersfield here in the Cup. It was televised and we beat them. Then we played Bournemouth and we beat them too. We were part-time and the money from the Cup runs probably went a long way to helping us go full-time” – Malcolm Isherwood, Accrington supporters’ club memberOne of the regulars missed the departure of the coach due to flooding around Luton. He followed the coach all the way up the motorway until its first stop on the M6 where he ditched his car and followed on with us up here. On the way back we’ll drop him off again to pick his car up. He’s disabled so he’s paid his badge and the organiser’s given him some money back so he’ll be OK. That’s us though” – Andrew Peill, Luton Town fanI’ve only been following Stanley for about five years since I moved to Accrington from Preston for work reasons. I thought I’d just go down out of curiosity and I was hooked from day one. You just get a completely different atmosphere at the lower league grounds. I mean, this [the Riverside] is a magnificent stadium but I personally think that when we’re all stood together on the Clayton End, it’s an amazing atmosphere” – Andy Richards, Accrington Stanley fanMy first FA Cup game was against Blackburn Rovers in 1964. I went along but had to leave at half-time. We were stood in a temporary stand that they had put up on the Beech Road side and I could see sod all. I was only a small child and couldn’t see a thing so we went home. Not a good start, though we won 3-1. Hopefully the view today should be a bit better” – Andy James, Oxford United fanI remember growing up as a kid and looking forward to the Cup draw on Monday afternoon, huddled around the radio at school. Forget all the razzmatazz and all the celebrity draws they have now. For me the FA Cup is still wonderful with its traditions though TV has moved this kick-off to 12.15pm” – John Donovan, organiser of Middlesbrough fans’ group Twe12th ManThis is my twelfth trip to Wembley. The first was in 1976 against Newcastle, we won 2-1; then two appearances in ’81 because we had a Cup Final replay; after that it was the Full Members’ Cup against Chelsea; then the play-offs against Gillingham; then we go to the current era: Man United semi; Stoke final; Chelsea semi; Wigan final; Sunderland; Liverpool; and then today. That’s not bad for a City fan, is it?” – Tony Chaloner, Manchester City fanI’ve followed Arsenal for many, many years … too many! The suit was made by a tailor in Thailand two years ago because I had to have something special. I’m over at the Emirates perhaps six or seven times a year but this is the first time I’ve worn the suit in London. I get a good reaction all over the place, in the pub, on the underground, everywhere” – Agnar Hansen, Arsenal fan from NorwayMy nan, Cathy Draper, passed away a year ago. She was a massive Arsenal fan who went to the Emirates but never got to come here so I though it was a fitting tribute to put the message on my back and take her to Wembley with me. She took me to games and it was kind of our thing” – Luke Ackers, Arsenal fanI did a gig in Peterborough last night, have already been and set up for Baldock tonight, have come down here on the train and then I’ll get back to the pub for about 9.30pm and be jump-suited up and ready to sing. Hopefully we’ll have won and I’ll be in a really good mood for it, singing a celebratory version of Glory Glory Hallelujah at the tops of our voices” – Mark Goddard, Chelsea fan and Elvis impersonator Continue reading. . read full article

Source: TheGuardian