For the first time since Tottenham Hotspur dashed Nottingham Forest manager Brian Clough's dreams of FA Cup glory in 1991 the final is being contested without a representative from English football's current Big Four. Just before 3pm on Saturday the fans of Portsmouth and Cardiff City will watch their teams stride out at Wembley for a match which will decide which of them will parade the famous trophy that neither has lifted since the Second World War. One man waiting patiently for kick-off is Shoreditch music agent Scott Thomas, a member of Cardiff City's official London supporters' arm, the World Famous 1927 Club, and he spoke to Londonist while making his final preparations for the big day
How did you begin supporting your club?
I was, shamefully, brought up in a rugby family, playing the game myself Saturday mornings and watching my dad on Saturday afternoons, but as I am from three generations of sporting Cardiffians, and was lucky enough to have a City supporting uncle and cousin, I was taken to Ninian Park for birthdays and treats. Once you’ve seen the classic yellow and white stripe kit and Phil Dwyer, the oval ball game is never the same.
What were your impressions of the new Wembley when you visited for the semi-final?
I loved the Death Star style approach to it and entering the outer echelons was very affecting. The bars dedicated to previous Cup Finals and momentous Wembley events got me quite shook up. The actual “watching a football game” experience? So-so to be honest, like most new grounds and not a patch on the Millennium or the Emirates in my opinion. We were eleven rows from the pitch though and have relocated to the front row of the third tier for the Final in the hope of a more expansive experience.
How much does it mean to your fans to be in the FA Cup Final?
It means the whole wide world, absolutely everything. I am welling up even trying to put it in to words. Our brief burst of relative success in the 1920s has pretty much defined us as a club ever since and there is no way I ever thought we’d come close to a whisper of it again. I would not swap Saturday for anything a Premiership team has. It is what football is all about.
Who's the unsung hero in your squad?
For me, it’s Kevin McNaughton. A startlingly fast right-back with the pace and positional sense to cover the entire back four. He started this Cup run scoring an own goal at Chasetown and was pelted with a hot dog by a home fan for his troubles and will now end it at Wembley for the final. He also, inexplicably, wore a Danger Mouse suit for the video for the Cup Final single.
Picture via Walt Jabsco's Flickr stream.
Which opposition player worries you most?
Where do I start? Their midfield trio of Kranjcar, Utaka and Muntari are the biggest threat for me. All very good players with impressive goal-scoring records and as it looks like they’ll play a 4-5-1 we will have to watch them.
What will the score be on Saturday and who will be the match winner?
Logically we should lose. Our hope is that it is a tight game and if it is then our match winners (I am not even going to speculate on whose Portsmouth might be, thank you) are likely to be the back four and Paul Parry who is the absolute focal point of our play, always the out ball and the foremost attacking player despite being a converted winger as opposed to a natural striker. The other possibility is Aaron Ramsey, by far our most gifted player (possibly the most gifted in either side) coming off the bench as a catalyst for us.
What are your plans for Saturday?
We have a (hopefully) private pub arranged with the landlord for The World Famous 1927 Club and guests (there is a block of about 120 of us sitting together) to meet in from early on. I can’t imagine anyone sleeping much the night before or hanging around their houses for any more than the most cursory of breakfasts. We’ll leave there for Wembley about 1 o’clock and all try and perfect our “No, there’s something in my eye, honest” faces for ‘Abide with Me’.
Where will your fans in London without tickets meet to watch the game?
I think we’ve all got tickets. We’re lucky in that our branch of the supporters club have proved their dedication, organisation and reliability and we get the tickets we deserve.
Where do you generally watch televised football in London?
The Famous Three Kings in West Kensington is a favourite. I reckon the landlord there has a little pro-Welsh soft spot if he’s honest.