FASemi: 2,761 mile road finally reaches Wembley
As my FA Cup journey reaches the final stretch, I take stock on what I have achieved so far.
Over eight months I have been to 12 rounds of this seasonÃ¢ÂÂs FA Cup, witnessing 35 goals in 11 different counties. I have travelled 2761 miles, the equivalent of London to Quebec (how I wish I had chose Quebec instead of Ayelsbury in the earlier rounds).
I have dragged along friends, relatives and even my one year old daughter to keep me company, and I would like to thank these people for their support, although my daughter didnÃ¢ÂÂt have much of a choice, bless her.
Every year I look forward to the Third Round draw, a chance to see some giant killings and some big guns going head to head in a one off, winner takes all, match.
But after writing this blog I have realised how much the FA Cup touches people at all levels of the game.
Some matches may be played at grounds compared to run down garden sheds, while others are played in giant arenas with a pitch resembling a bowling green, but the joy of this tournament is that no matter what round you are in and where you are playing, the passion of the players and fans is still present.
Even on that hot summerÃ¢ÂÂs day in Dereham last August, there was still talk, from fans and players alike, of maybe just maybe it would be their year (They got knocked out in the next round).
Semi final tickets are like gold dust.
Despite going to the Portsmouth quarter final, this still didnÃ¢ÂÂt mean I would qualify for a semi final ticket.
Firstly, tickets are handed out to season ticket holders and members. Secondly, Fans that have been to 10 or more games either last or this season. And finally if there are some tickets left season ticket holders can buy an extra ticket.
Where was the, if you have been to 12 rounds of the FA Cup, optionÃ¢ÂÂ¦
Chelsea, Tottenham and Villa were the same. After all my efforts it looked like this might be the end of my journey.
But then FourFourTwo stepped in, and very generously found me a ticket for the Chelsea v Villa tie.
I will be amongst the 90,000 Chelsea and Aston Villa fans on Saturday afternoon, and itÃ¢ÂÂs all thanks to FourFourTwo.
Que sera sera, what ever will be will be, Im going to Wembley, que sera sera...
Previously, on The Long Road To Wembley:
FA6: Coasting to WembleyFA5: A proper Cup thriller at lastFA4: A paid-up member of the Royal familyFA3: There's only one f in freezing at F-f-f-fulhamFA3 preview: The Third man marches on LondonFA2: South beats North with easeFA2 preview: A North(ampton) vs South(ampton) clashFA1: Fire and ice at the AbbeyFA1 preview: Enter the big boysFA4Q: Barked shins, dark toilets & no piesFA4Q preview: Ploughing throughFA3Q: A local affair at LowestoftFA3Q preview: All hail the 4x4ersFA2Q: Coke, poodle rock & half a fenceFA2Q preview: Let's spend a night togetherFA1Q: Lawro, ducks & a care homeFA1Q preview: The preliminaries are overFAP: Dogs, daughters & dodgy telliesFAP preview: Preliminary problemsFAEP: Dereham dreams alive and kickingFAEP preview: The long road starts here