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Even walking through Coventry towards the train station on Cup Final morning brought a tear to the eye.

It seemed every house, every car, was displaying Sky Blue.

One day in May - Sky Blue glory of '87

Strangers smiled, something special was happening. Of course, that brings the nasty, what if it all goes wrong feeling. But you put that to the back of your mind on the train to London. Nearly everybody had a newspaper and was reading the big match build-up. One of the most revered occasions in the World football calender and we were there.

The odd thing was, it had felt like destiny for a good while. Right from the moment we won at Old Trafford in the fourth round, the momentum just kept on building, the belief growing, on and off field. A series of away days, each one dramatic and ultimately victorious. My initial feeling after the thrilling semi final victory over Leeds was just to be overjoyed we were going to Wembley for the first time. But as time went on, I wanted to see us lift that trophy against Spurs so bad it hurt.

It was a lovely sunny day when we arrived in London. The pubs were rammed. We settled for some green space and a carry out. I bought cans of Stella, not the best idea when you’re trying to enjoy a memorable day, to neck back loads of something that blurs the mind. A open top bus came into sight, the passengers cheering. We thought it was City supporters and went it greet it. Empty beer cans rained down on us. It was full of Tottenham fans. In the 80’s, not even the biggest occasion was free from a bit of the almost compulsory aggro.

Then we were on Wembley Way, place of legends, stuff of dreams. The queues for the turnstiles were massive. There were body surges this way and that, the horrible feeling when you’re not in charge of your own balance. Then at last, we were inside. By now, bladders were bursting, more queues. I’d lost my friends in the clamour to get in. No mobiles back then. Brilliant, biggest game ever and I was on my own. It didn’t matter as I watched the pre match on pitch events. This was really happening. Watching your team emerge from the Wembley tunnel on FA Cup Final day.

The raw emotion evoked by, Abide With Me, then kick off, and disaster. Inside two minutes, Clive Allen put Spurs in front. Then came the most awful foreboding, don’t get thrashed, not today. Oh me of little faith. Dave Bennett equalised and the rest was a roller coaster, including that diving header, that own goal and finally that amazing moment when the final whistle blew. The dream come true, George and John dancing, Killer lifting the cup. I must have died and gone to Sky Blue heaven. What a way to go.

As the stadium euphoria continued, for some reason I felt the overwhelming urge to get back to Coventry. To celebrate in my place of birth. It proved a sixth sense. I got an early train. Just after, vandals destroyed signals on the track, delaying the arrival home of thousands. The journey back to Cov was a strange one, our greatest hour and the atmosphere was subdued for a while, like everything had been taken out of us.

That changed back on my home City stamping ground. Bars were heaving, some even ran out of draft beer. The biggest party in the history of Godiva’s fair City was underway. This included a crowd estimated at over six figures lining the route of Sunday’s victory parade. It was then it started to sink it, we had actually done it. As a child, I’d watched other triumphant club’s ecstatic fans as the winner’s came home thinking, if only that was us. Now it was.

Just a brief snapshot of a never to be forgotten day. The present despicable predicament of Coventry City makes it all the more poignant.

At least, I have that memory. Of the day, a team of provincial underdogs came good. Of a weekend where a City united as one. I pray the younger generation of Sky Blue get to experience something similar one day. For if that Cup Final proved one thing, it was the value of belief. That your time in the sun has come, and all the bad times you kept the faith were vindicated.

May we once again recapture the unbelievable feeling of that one day in May. We have to keep believing.

Post written by Rob Summerfield
Blog: rob-summerfield.jimdo.com, Twitter: @RobSummerfield1

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One Response to “One day in May – Sky Blue glory of ’87”

  1. shaun king May 28th 2014 at 11:26 PM #

    brilliant rob really brings it back just one dicrepesie excuse spelling .I remember cov were throwin the cans at the spurs fans on the bus the tramps caught a few and took the piss by drinking them lol great day ..