The FA Cup is a competition my generation values highly, says Chris Day
- Credit: Archant
Stevenage goalkeeper says Everton have a ‘rich FA Cup history’ and will be taking the Boro challenge seriously
Chris Day recalls fondly January 8, 2011....the day Boro, then in League Two, humbled Premier League giants Newcastle United and knocked them out of the FA Cup.
The likes of Tim Krul, Cheick Tiote, Kevin Nolan and Joey Barton lined up for Alan Pardew’s side that day, but left The Lamex Stadium with their tails between their legs after a 3-1 defeat.
Day would love nothing more than to re-live that high by causing a similar upset to Everton tonight in this year’s competition.
The 38-year-old ex-Tottenham Hotspur and QPR goalkeeper believes the home support can cheer his side to such a feat.
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“I know the noise the guys from the town can make and hopefully it will be another of those special nights,” Day exclusively told The Comet.
“There was nothing more special than beating Newcastle, walking around and seeing so many faces around the stadium I knew and it would be great to have another of those nights again.”
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Veteran Day is from the old school and grew up cherishing the FA Cup, something he still does.
“I’m one of the generation that remembers FA Cup day being the only live football you got to see all season almost, apart from major events, so the FA Cup has always meant a lot to me and the memories of the cup finals over the years.
“It’s just a competition my generation values highly and it’s a competition that’s been very highly valued at Stevenage over the years.
“I would say in my career I never really achieved too much in the FA Cup until I joined Stevenage.”
Day was signed by Graham Westley in 2008, his adventures in the cup spiced up in the 2010/11 term as Boro secured Newcastle’s scalp in the third round before exiting to Reading.
The following year, 2011/12, Stevenage got their revenge on Reading, knocking them out of the third round and a 1-0 fourth round success over Notts County put them into the fifth round for the first time.
There was then a dream clash for Day as he kept a clean sheet against his boyhood club Tottenham in a 0-0 draw at The Lamex, however Spurs were to progress, winning the replay at White Hart Lane 3-1.
Looking back on those ties, Day said: “The obvious highlight would be beating Newcastle at home, righting the wrongs of ‘98 [when the Geordies knocked non-league Boro out of the cup after a replay].
“After that we had a run against Reading, righted the wrongs of the year before, it culminated with the Tottenham game which was a great occasion, albeit we didn’t get the result in the end.”
The competition can bring with it a greater focus to the club and help boost finances through prize money and television income.
“It’s always important to remember that the FA Cup brings revenue to the club as well, so things like that are not lost on me,” he added.
“It brings different people into the football club, getting on live TV is good for the club’s image and I think we have represented ourselves well on the tele over the years.”
Of today’s opponents, who Boro forced to extra-time in August’s Capital One Cup tie at Goodison Park, the hosts won 2-1, he added: “Everton are a team that has evolved over the season, the new manager [Roberto Martinez] had different ideas to the old manager [David Moyes] and he was bedding them in when we against played them.
“We’ll prepare for the Everton team that’s now not the Everton team that was back in August.
“Everton’s a team that in the ‘80s had a rich FA Cup history, it’s the sort of club that you can imagine takes the FA Cup seriously, the common factor there is the manager that holds the FA Cup from last season, so he is very aware of what this competition can do for you.”
Day cannot wait to savour the extra buzz around the ground this evening after the sun goes down, the floodlights come on and the fans take their places.
“There’s special things in football sometimes, there’s something special about playing under floodlights and when you go out to do your warm-up the ground’s half to three-quarters full,” he said.
“I know on a Saturday afternoon people have their rituals, pubs they go to, friends they meet up with, but it always seems to be the FA Cup or the big games you get every season when you get a full house. People get there a little bit early and there’s a bit more of a buzz from the warm-up and everything.”
Will January, 25, 2013 go down in Day’s dates to remember? Let’s hope so.