THIS must be one of the strangest, most surreal weeks to be an Accrington Stanley fan.
No sooner are we saved, than we actually go and win in the FA Cup. Its been six long seasons since we won and we wait till after the most turbulent period of our recent history.
And then we get a decent FA Cup draw (Barnet at home) and smash our friends and neighbours, Bury out of the JPT.
We have now gone further in that competition than ever before. Weird eh?
Well, Luton Town were faced with oblivion when they got to Wembley last year.
And the season Middlesbrough went down from the Premiership they also got to two cup finals.
I do believe that adversity can help you in all walks of life and football is no exception. Every hardship makes the good times more sweeter.
As the banner says, "The Harder the conflict the More Glorious the Triumph" and, if we do get to Wembley or draw Man Utd in the FA Cup, maybe we should send a letter thanking Mr. A. Jobsworth at the Tax Office...
And so, my first column back where I don’t have to talk about Tax Bills, SOS campaigns and Candlelight protests. And damn, does it feel good. Every morning, when I awake, I feel like Bobby Grant must do at the moment - on top of the world!
And that is where I will start this week - Bobby Grant. Where has this new found ability and confidence come from? He is awesome at the moment, unplayable at times.
He is a real terrace favourite as we all remember him making his debut. I remember when he got his pro deal. Kids coming through the ranks is an awesome feat and Bobby is the best of the lot at the moment. He has a big future and I wish him all the best. Lets hope for goals, goals, goals in the coming weeks. Top work Bobby!
Salisbury City at home in the FA Cup, was a cracking draw now we are through. However, a game at home to lower league opposition can be tricky, especially with a sprinkling of FA Cup magic and romance.
In reality, we zoomed into a 2-0 lead and should have seen the game out. But we kept going for the jugular and missed chances meant, in the end, we scraped through. We really needed a wise head to keep the ball towards the end when Salisbury had their tails up. But we kept going for a third and giving the ball away.
Salisbury deserved a goal though and credit to their fans who travelled well but only seemed to sing in the pub beforehand.
The draw was nerve-racking, I was sure we would get an old foe in Barrow, York or Wrexham. I also screamed "Nooooooo" at the telly when MK Dons were drawn out at home. At the end of the day, Barnet is winnable if not glamourous. I would suggest it is a great draw if we win but an absolute stinker if we get beat. Players.....!? You have been warned!
Tuesday was another FANtastic night to be a Red. A goal before I had even got in the ground and 2-0 without breaking sweat. (Who decided 7pm by the way? - wants shooting!)
To repay Bury fans, who travelled in huge numbers, we gave them two goals to make a game of it and the Ultras donated a flag in recognition of their generosity during the SOS appeal.
Our generosity was repaid by Bury too and they let Bobby Grant steal the show and with it a semi-final for Accrington Stanley.
Cheers Bury, kind of you in more ways than one. In all seriousness though, we will be never forget how Bury helped our club.
Tomorrow brings "The Tony Roberts Circus" into town, or Dagenham & Redbridge FC as they are better known.
We have had many a laugh with their away supporters since the Conference days and have, in the main, had the better of our contests.
However, Grandad Roberts is playing well and Dagenham are near the top of the League.
It will be a stern test of our small squad especially as we played midweek and they didn’t.
Here’s hoping for some good banter with Roberts and another three points for the Stanley boys. The Coleman and Bell banter in the Crown after a win is always a highlight of the week.....a defeat and I just nod to them from a distance!
See you at the game.
STRICTLY COME STANLEY