The Magic of the Cup
Photo: Getty Images

By the time you are reading this piece, I will either be crying my eyes out through misery or grinning with joy.

Out with the old

I lost my voice this week (winter bug hit me early) just as my boss at BBC Final Score said “Marc, we want you to cover York v Altrincham at Bootham Crescent.”

Of all the grounds I have been to (even when working in Yorkshire), I never got to York City’s ground - it is about to be vacated for a new stadium.

25 years in sports reporting...and this is likely to be my only chance of getting there before the bulldozers bring down history almost as valuable as what the Romans left behind in Ebor.

New experiences

But, this losing my voice thing. That’s sort of a big issue for someone on the tele. I don’t really think the licence fee payers would appreciate something akin to a deep-voiced Premium Rate chatline on Sunday afternoon tele.

So, that is why I would have decided to pull out of reporting on the game by the time you read this and I’ll be crying...or, things have fixed with my voice and I’m off to York.

Whatever happens, it will be yet another new experience the FA Cup has gifted me in my time as a sports reporter.

Moments to savour

This cup has given me my best moments in my career, of that there is no doubt.

Like sharing a box with the tannoy announcer at Nuneaton Borough when Gez Murphy’s late penalty helped them get a replay against Gareth Southgate’s Middlesbrough.

Never mind worrying about my voice - nobody could hear a word I said on air when Murphy scored because the tannoy announcer drowned me out!

At least the viewers still heard who scored!

Embed from Getty Images

Why I love it

Then I was there when then Non League Luton Town provided my next memorable moment as they conquered Premier League Norwich City at Carrow Road.

There was something in the air that day.

I know that sounds like a cliche, but you genuinely felt that Luton would take Sutton United’s old record of the last Non League side to take out a top-flight side - and they did.

But the best moment the FA Cup has gifted me was on Saturday the 5th of November 2005 in a game which ended Colchester United 9-1 Leamington Spa.

It was unbelievably 0-0 for most of the first half. When it got to 7-1, a male Leamington fan wearing a wig and a skirt jumped the advertising hoardings, weaved past three stewards on the pitch and made it to the home terrace at Layer Road to celebrate as his fellow fans sang “we’re gonna win 8-7!”

It is those experiences that only the FA Cup can provide to many on a consistent basis and why I love the FA Cup.