Stevenage boss Sarll: 'I love the magic of the FA Cup' ahead of crunch Swindon clash
PUBLISHED: 13:56 01 December 2017 | UPDATED: 17:01 01 December 2017
Danny Loo Photography 2017
Darren Sarll's Stevenage take on Swindon Town in the FA Cup second round at the Lamez on Saturday.
It’s a strange stage because the Premier League big boys enter the world’s oldest cup competition at the next stage – lose at the weekend and the dreams of entertaining Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United or Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal will be dashed for another year.
Win and the world and his wife will jump on the bandwagon from the moment a Goliath is drawn to play humble David.
When Saturday Comes and that longed-for moment arrives there will be an excitement rarely matches during the mundane slog of 46 league matches.
But until it arrives – if it arrives at all – then Stevenage, and all the other clubs and their managers, staff, players and fans are in a strange limbo full of unmentioned dreams.
Sarll takes in it his stride saying he is relishing the challenge of plotting a way to beat David Flitcroft’s Wiltshire Robins.
“There’s nothing better than the magic of the FA Cup” roars Stevenage boss Darren Sarll.
With his men set to host fellow League Two rivals Swindon Town at the Lamex on Saturday in the second round of the FA Cup excitement is rising.
Although they have only picked up one win in eight this month they have already dispatched Nantwich Town 5-0 in the first round of the FA Cup, along with an impressive 3-1 victory over Brighton U21s in the Checkatrade Trophy – and are fired up to take on David Flitcroft’s Robins.
Sarll said: “My message to Stevenage fans is come down and get behind your team because we’ll be working as hard as we can to win the match - as will Swindon Town.
“I’m an old romantic when it comes to the FA Cup. So is Glenn [Roeder] who talks about it all the time. He led his side out at Wembley in 1982 [QPR against Spurs}. I’m still of that generation when the FA Cup means everything.
“I don’t know if it means the same to the elite level of footballers in this country. “Certainly if they come from abroad.
“This generation of players have seen the FA Cup devalued by the importance of the Champions League and the Premier League – but for people like me I love the magic of the FA Cup – there really is nothing better.
“I’m really looking forward to Saturday and the fact it’s called an FA Cup game gives it that little edge that hopefully will be the turning point for us.”
Boro have a proud pedigree when it comes to England’s premier domestic cup, having played Everton, Spurs and Newcastle over the last seven years – as well as the never-to-be-forgotten two fixtures against Kenny Dalglish’s Newcastle side two decades ago.
He said: “It’s a really big game. It’s a big game for Swindon too. For our players it’s not so much the materials they see it’s maybe the opportunity to go and play on a real top stage in the very next round.
“Swindon will be a tough game and we had a tough game at their place earlier in the season with a 3-2 loss.
“We didn’t play that well but the game was still close.
“We’re really happy being at the Lamex – the backing from our fans has been terrific.”
The 34-year-old boss – hailed by former England captain Tony Adams earlier this season as a rising managerial star – has seen his side put on creditable performances.
This month Boro have performed well against league leaders Notts County and Coventry at the Lamex, cruelly losing to a last-gasp goal at Cambridge.
Sarll added: “I was pleased with the performance with Coventry and Notts County and Cambridge – good sides who spent a lot more money than us I might say.
“We know our performances have been positive and we know you’re more likely to get good results from positive performances.
“We’re looking forward to Saturday.”
He adds that while he has the opportunity as a young English boss he’ll grab the chance to try and improve the club through hard work, saying passionately: “Everyone from the tea ladies and the kit men, to the manager and the press officer work so hard – but we do it because love the football club and the people we work with.
“We have a really emotional interest in making sure that it comes out the other side better with greater product, a brand of football and a lovely environment to watch game. The project we are doing with the North Stand is the same thing, we are doing because we want better for our team.”
If Stevenage win through to the FA Cup third round on Saturday their hard work will have certainly helped them to dream a little more.