As we all know, the last time City won the FA Cup was courtesy of a Neil Young goal at Wembley in 1969 and it would be a fitting tribute to the winger, who passed away earlier this year, if the blues triumphed at Wembley in May.
But to do that, City must invoke the spirit of that cup winning side by winning another three games in the competition to bring the trophy to Eastlands. Easy isn’t it?
That’s what City manager Joe Mercer and his assistant Malcolm Allison told their squad prior to playing Luton Town in the third round of the competition. “Win six games and you’ve won the cup,” Young and his team-mates were told. And they did.
The blues didn’t do it in a flamboyant way by hammering their Third Division opponents at Maine Road, but settled for a 1-0 win courtesy of a Francis Lee goal. In the fourth round, City travelled to St James’s Park and played out a goalless draw with Newcastle, before beating the Geordies 2-0 at Maine Road but had Mike Summerbee sent off.
Second Division Blackburn Rovers were easily disposed of 4-1 at Ewood Park before Spurs arrived at Maine Road for the Quarter-Final. City had already taken four points off the Londoners and booked their semi-final place thanks to another Lee goal. Everton, with their own midfield trio of Alan Ball, Howard Kendall and Colin Harvey, lay in wait for the semi final, where Tommy Booth became the hero as City won 1-0 and faced Leicester in the final.
This season’s run has been quite the opposite to that of 1969, with two replays being gained, three matches against lower league opposition and fifteen goals scored in the process so far. It was a strong defence as opposed to all out attack that took the blues to Wembley. City only conceded one goal throughout the whole competition, while their opponents only conceded two prior to the final.
But City will have to be wary of Reading on Sunday. The Royals will have nothing to lose and everything to gain at Eastlands, while it is quite the opposite for City. We will be expected to win while the Cup romantics will be hoping for a Reading victory to prove the magic of the competition is still alive.
By the time we kick off, the other opponents should be known, unless Stoke and West Ham decide to draw their game. Bolton and United have already made it into the semis so a City victory would make it a North West triple. An by invoking the spirit of 1969, City can make it all the way to the final and a potential first Manchester Derby at Wembley.
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