There are a lot of cliches around about the FA Cup but none of them lessen quite how important winning this grand old dame of trophies actually is.
Manchester City have had an unbelievable season and on the morning of the FA Cup Final, I would have been satisfied regardless of the FA Cup Final result. Winning the Premier League, the Carabao Cup and the Community Shield would have exceeded my wildest dreams in a single season. Especially when it is just 20 years ago when we secured a famous play off to start a return to better things.
Travelling to Wembley and mixing with friends and fellow blues is always one of the highlights of the trip. This time was no different – even meeting up with fans I know from Twitter – and sharing that joint love and camaraderie which binds us together, through the bad and the good.
In the Stadium the flags were laid out on our seats and we sat and watched the pre match warm ups – the fireworks and the Welsh Guards. We attempted and failed Abide With Me and joined in with the National Anthem. What happened to the people who always used to parachute in to the ground? Is the arch at the new Wembley too much of a barrier for that these days?
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The atmosphere within Wembley was electric as it always is in a Cup Final. The City fans were in good voice throughout the game and were at times bemused by the Watford chanting. As City took control of the match, the anxiety in the crowd seemed to dissipate. This allowed the City fans to reel out their full repertoire of songs. We even got a Poznan on the go which took hold of almost all the fans in the blocks behind the goal. It was interrupted only by the scintillating play on the pitch, meaning we all turned around, not wanting to miss another goal.
The Watford players ran out of hope and their heads began to drop, just as Kevin De Bruyne seemed to find some significant form. If he had been on the pitch longer, how big would the scoreline have been?
After City scored their 6th goal of the game and sometime before the John Stones miss for what should have been a 7th, the remaining Watford fans started waving their flags. This act of support seemed to catch on and spread across their fans as they all grabbed their flags. The City fans turned to watch and as one, started to applaud. We all clapped Watford fans as they showed their appreciation for the efforts of their players despite the result. Watford tried hard and could easily have caught us out, but ultimately we outclassed them. There is no dishonour in that as most teams have failed to beat us this season.
After the final whistle we watched as the City players got their medals and the trophy and then joined in the party on the pitch as the flames leapt into the sky and the streamers tangled in the cameras. Our journey home was lightened by the songs we sang and the stories we told of a truly great season, where being a blue has been an honour.
Our next game at Wembley will now be the 2019 Community Shield against Liverpool, but before then thanks to Mr Guardiola we can relax all summer with a unique set of boasting rights. A first domestic treble will do nicely. Thank you.