FA Cup Quarter Final Draw: Who do you want?

I just had to write something about the upcoming cup draw. After all, who would ever have though that Lincoln City would ever feature in the last eight of the FA Cup?

I’ve lamented every single draw since the second round. When we pulled out Oldham I text my missus ‘crap draw’. When Ipswich came out prior to that game I moaned that there was little incentive to win the game other than money. When Brighton came out I proclaimed the end of the cup run, and when Burnley came out of the hat I was beyond gutted.

If the last few months have taught me anything at all, it is not the size of the club you pull out of the hat that makes a great cup tie, but how you as a team approach it. Yesterday wouldn’t have been any better if we’d beaten one of the so-called big boys would it? We still did a Premier League team, in their own back yard. We’ve had a tremendous cup run and we haven’t met one of the big names yet.

Look at Ipswich in the third round. As a town Ipswich was most welcoming and friendly, their fans were received us well and we made history just by drawing there. Match of the Day featured us first, we got our money spinning replay and of course we ended with a win. Brighton under estimated us, and despite not being Chelsea or Arsenal, we still set an all-seater record at Sincil Bank, and we still humbled them 1-0. After yesterday’s amazing scenes I won’t moan about a cup draw again. Unless we get Millwall away.

So who do we want at 6.30pm this evening? Who do we want to be pulled out of the hat?

It does depend on the outcome of the replays. If Sutton did manage to over turn Arsenal, and over shadow our own exploits then I would 100% want them. That would offer the most realistic route to a Wembley semi-final, and whilst that sounds like the stuff of fairy tales for us, we are just one game away. If they’re not there, I think we have to settle for one of the big boys.

I visited Old Trafford in the Football Blogging Awards in November, I never imagined I might get back there in the FA Cup. It is one of the most iconic grounds in the world, and surely a chance to go there and compete with them would be a massive lure. There would be plenty of tickets to go around too, ensuring that not only the 3,000 at Burnley or the 5,000 at Ipswich could go, but most of Lincoln could squeeze in.

Graham Burrell’s photo epitomizes the spirit of this Lincoln City side. That looks to me like Adam Marriott sprinting across the pitch to join in on the celebrations at the end. Win together. Lose (occasionally ) together. One team.

Other than that it has to be a day out in London. Spurs, Arsenal (if they get through) or Chelsea away would be just reward for our endeavours, and I’m sure the missus would love a weekend in the big smoke peppered with a little bit of FA Cup history. I suppose, begrudgingly, even a trip to Millwall would give us a weekend away, but frankly I’d rather not have to go to the Den.

Although a home tie would be a tough prospect for the big clubs, I think the promise of 50% of a circa 50,000 crowd has to be too good to turn down. In the midst of all the excitement and achievement we must not forget that the reward here is financial. Talk of us doing a Leicester and winning the cup is good fun, but it is also highly unlikely. Burnley are one level of Premier League club, Man City, Spurs and Arsenal are another. To beat three of those teams wouldn’t just represent an upset, it wouldn’t just be somebody’s opinion of impossible: it would be the greatest achievement by a football team this country has ever seen.

So I’ll watch the draw. If it is Middlesbrough, well there’s a chance we could go there and do ‘a Burnley’ on them. If it is Millwall I’ll keep my thoughts to myself, and if it is any of the other six teams away then I’ll dance my rippling ginger man-boobs off all night long. Whoever it is, wherever we go, what a wonderful time it is to be a bona-fida Imp. FA Cup Quarter Finals. Wow.