Sunday, 2 December 2012

If...

If - a small and sometimes insignificant word, but in this case, the only one that matters.
Yesterday was the FA Cup third round draw, usually the most exciting day of the footballing calendar, and the balls fell in our favour with a potential home game with Premier League giants Everton.
If.
If we do something we have not done since 1999, not done at home since 1969 and not done in the FA Cup since 1946 - beat Hereford United.
So that is why, for now, I am trying not to get myself excited at the possibility of Marouane Fellaini's afro doing battle with Marlon Pack in the heart of the midfield at Whaddon Road in January.
That lot from about 30 miles away have to be dealt with first.
Some fans are already getting excited judging by my Twitter feed since about 3pm today. Fine - but I would rather wait until 9.45pm tomorrow, and if we have done the job, then I will join in the fun.
But what an incentive it is.
Think back to that trip to Chester. We knew Newcastle were waiting for us - yet also remember that miserable trip to Doncaster, and how we had to watch them play Aston Villa rather than us.
So we have seen it from both sides - but all this potential draw does is increase the pressure on both sides.
For Hereford, a game at home to a Premier League side means a full house at Edgar Street, more much-needed money for their survival, and - 99 per cent certain - TV revenue as well.
So if they weren't already chomping at the bit for the game, they certainly will be now.
For us, the same is true, a capacity crowd, once again you would imagine the TV companies being interested, so it would give Mark Yates some cash to spend in January in the same way that the Spurs game facilitated the arrival of Jermaine McGlashan earlier this year.
It would also raise the profile of the club once again at a time when it is desperately needed, and if (that word again) we can get through tomorrow night it will be a massive shot in the arm.
I was nervous enough before this draw, and all it has done it made those butterflies about 1000 times worse.
Whaddon Road should be packed tomorrow night as all those scrambling around for a big-match ticket in the event of a game with Everton.
If it doesn't come off, they can always come to Southend instead with the rest of us - but with any luck we will have the moaning about Johnny Come Lately's getting tickets while those who have watched the club for years do not.
Although how that happens when we get home crowds of less than 3000 and the ground holds 7000 I can't quite work out, but once again we will cross that bridge - if it happens.
First though, Hereford, and that record.
It has to end soon, and I am heartily sick and tired of getting my hopes up when we play them only to be well and truly let down by an inept performance.
At home, I remember in despair watching John Brough scoring the winner in a Conference game, Waide Fairhurst's two goals and a couple of rockets from Sam Hewson after we led 2-1 and Ian Westlake smacked a free kick against the post.
At Edgar Street, since that horrible day when David Norton was spat on as we won 2-0 in the Conference back in 1999, we suffered that 3-0 loss when Steve Guinan played like a man possessed and Shane Higgs made a monumental error.
That then led to Martin Allen's team coach hairdryer on the way home, and has been followed by a lot of 1-1 draws, but still we have not grabbed that victory.
Hereford will be a team on a mission, desperate for the cash and with nothing to lose.
Some of their former CTFC contingent, Marley Watkins and Michael Townsend, are injured and likely to miss the game. Marley has tweeted as much.
But that leaves Junior Smikle and Andy Gallinagh, two of the most whole-hearted players to wear the red and white in recent seasons, and Marlon Jackson, who only played 20 minutes for us anyway.
It's all about attitude and desire. Our players have to put the potential draw out of their mind and go out and play like the team we know they can be.
We are the favourites and we should win, if the mindset is right. The fans need to do their part as well, as there will be 1300 Hereford fans in the Hazlewoods and In2Print shouting their lungs out as they always do.
It's all set up for a cracker tomorrow night, and could pave the way for another great day in our club's recent history.
If.
If not, I'll see you all at Roots Hall.