I’ve seen a bit of moaning about us not being able to wear our red and white stripes at Wembley on Sunday. I can understand the frustration but, let's face it, we don't have to go back too far to recall a time when wearing our home kit at the home of football didn't end too well, do we? Just the eight weeks.
However, my heart sank when I read “SAFC have been allocated 37,700 tickets for East End of Wembley Stadium.” Do we choose, or do the powers that be think we’ll feel at home in there? Maybe they decide we can’t be trusted to find our way into the ground if we're sent to the other end. So, it's the bastard East End, again. Home to the Watford fans at the most one-sided couple final in more than 100 years at the weekend.
It seems we always walk up Wembley Way and go left, but it's not the case. The vast majority of red and whites did in 1992 when we played Liverpool in the FA Cup final - but I'd copped for a ticket over the other side in a section which was mainly Liverpool, so I broke rank and went right. We were also trying to land a ticket for a mate who’d come along without one and figured there was more chance of touting one at that end.
Our judgement was skewed and we were badly wrong, spares were virtually non-existent and people became desperate. When a Scouse scally snatched one away from a genuine fan and ran, he didn’t get far before being brought down by a flailing leg. The hefty shoeing he took from fans on both sides was popular pre-match entertainment.
However, there’s one occasion when we were told to Go West. In a season when we had a red and white kit which would become iconic, resplendent with a sponsor’s badge that looked like a beer mat, we saw a cracking game, one of the best Wembley’s ever hosted. It's still talked about and remembered by neutrals more than two decades on. Yes, THAT game. The opponents that day were Charlton. So maybe being in a different end for this one is a good thing.
Hello darkness, my old friend...