Chris Cook scores at Wembley.Chris Cook scores at Wembley.
Chris Cook scores at Wembley.

COLUMN: If you had to choose - an away at Old Trafford or an appearance at Wembley?

Boston United are one upset away from the FA Cup’s third round and a potential tie at one of the nation’s famous old stadiums.

The Pilgrims, as The Standard’s deadline approaches, are preparing for last night’s contest against Blyth Spartans where a win, maybe a point, would have lifted them into the National League North’s play-off spots.

Two big competitions with everything to play for.

It’s a shame that Saturday will bring the distraction of an FA Trophy tie at Atherton Collieries, isn’t it?

Well, simply, no.

Right now it may feel like United have bigger fish to fry, that their already-congested fixture list could do with a break, or at least another home fixture (providing there are no cup replays needed, the Pilgrims are currently on a run where just four of 19 matches will be played at the Jakemans Stadium).

But what if there was another away day to add to the list? One at Wembley?

Would that change your mind?

The FA Trophy doesn’t have the prestige of the FA Cup, nor does it have the rewards. Boston could win six matches, reach the final and still have banked £6,000 less than they have picked up on their run to the FA Cup’s second round.

But don’t for a second dismiss a day out at Wembley or another cup run.

United have won three promotions since their only appearance at the north-west London stadium in 1985.

But it is still that day out, even if it ended with a 2-1 defeat to Wealdstone, that those who went talk about. Those who didn’t – or are too young – desperately wish they were there between the Twin Towers.

That photo of Chris Cook lofting the ball over the stranded keeper is far more iconic than David Rennie with the Dr Marten’s shield, United on the podium at Hayes with the Conference trophy or Ryan Semple 
going bonkers at Bradford Park Avenue.

Of course, you don’t just get to Wembley. If Boston fans know anything, it’s that cup runs are not as simple as the history books make them appear.

You can’t bank on a cup run because higher-placed foes or lower-placed rivals – Congleton, Kidsgrove, Canvey Island, Aveley, Peterborough Sports, whoever – also have plans on progressing.

But they’re always worth taking seriously.

As Craig Elliott alluded to following Saturday’s win at Farsley Celtic, this recent FA Cup run has only helped the club. Yes, they’re playing catch-up in the league, but there’s definitely a rediscovered connection between pitch and terrace.

At the weekend Brad Abbott was mobbed by supporters. Shall we rewind just 10 months?

Plus, in the FA Trophy you will only come up against rivals one division higher, a good chance to do well.

At Old Trafford to face 
Manchester United in the 
FA Cup’s third round or Wembley Stadium for the Trophy final?

Forget the ifs and buts and consider which of these two you’d rather witness.

I don’t think it’s as simple as you’d first think.

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