United’s Big Day Out

So. Today.
An FA Cup semi-final down at Wembley Stadium in The Big Smoke.

Weirdly, while it’s obviously a big deal to be in the semi-final, it’s not that unusual for us to be there.
In fact, given that we’re not one of the Big 6 (or even the Big 20 right now) and have spent a lot of time down in the third tier of English football of late, you might be surprised to learn that this is our 5th FA Cup semi-final appearance in the last 30 years. And you can add another 3 quarter finals to that, and a couple of League Cup semis in that time, as well.

Probably the best things about this semi-final are the absolutely complete lack of expectation, and the knowledge that whatever happens, and whatever it’s taken to get this far in the competition, this is unlikely to be our biggest achievement of the season. Hopefully, that comes later in the week.

And so, while the management and the players quite rightly won’t describe it as such, I think that most of the supporters see this as a bit of a “free hit”. We’ve got injuries (of course), key players that are ineligible to play, an expectant Dad. We’re 17-1 outsiders (go on, Ant – gooi twenty bucks on us!). No pressure, no expectation. Just an opportunity to go and play arguably(?) the best club side in the world at the moment – literally a billion pounds worth of talent – in front of a sell-out crowd, including 35,000 vocal United fans.

Of course, I’ll be ecstatic if we can win. But I’m completely at peace with any result already. I won’t be disappointed if we lose. Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened, and all that. All I want is us to give a decent – and fair – account of ourselves. Because the players and the fans deserve that. Apart from that one wish: just go out and have a good time amid a party atmosphere.

And hope that it’s just the warm up for an amazing week.