Hereford lad Aaron Wildig is desperate to cause a giant killing of his own - 50 years after his hometown club’s heroics.
Colin Addison’s side memorably produced the greatest FA Cup upset of all time when they dumped Newcastle out in the third round way back in 1972. Fans stormed the pitch after Ronnie Radford’s famous goal sent the game to extra time before substitute Ricky George’s, much-forgotten, winner.
Hereford United, playing in the fifth tier at the time, still hold the record as the lowest-ranked non-league club in history to knock out top-flight opposition. And Wildig is out to make his mark as part of League One Morecambe’s bid to topple Premier League Tottenham this afternoon.
Wildig, who has toughed out trying times at the cash-strapped club when the players weren’t getting paid, said: “I was born in Hereford and one of the biggest cup upsets ever was Ronnie Radford scoring against Newcastle!
“I was brought up going to games in the terraces there with my dad so I knew the story when I was quite young.
“The FA Cup was always special growing up in my house because of that and it’s always stuck with me.
“I used to go to games when I was about seven or eight and it was always spoken about even then.
“It used to always make the highlights on the big programme on BBC One. My dad used to point it out and say ‘that’s the Hereford goal’.
“Everybody looks for a cup upset and always support the underdogs.
“It would be great to be part of an upset along those lines."
And the Lancashire club will relish the occasion after playing Chelsea behind closed doors at Stamford Bridge in the third round last season.
“It will be a special experience to play in front of a packed stadium because last year against Chelsea was surreal," added the midfielder.
“We were playing against some big names like Mason Mount and Timo Werner, but there were no fans because of Covid and you got changed in the hotel. It wasn’t the same.”
And the Shrimps will be leaning on their Spurs connection to try and spark a huge shock. Striker Jon Obika, who grew up in North London, started his career at the club and is close pals with first-team coach Ryan Mason.
But there will be conflicts in the family with musician Lemar, Obika’s cousin, a huge Spurs’ supporter.
“It’s a huge occasion for me going back to Tottenham,” said Obika, who was England captain Harry Kane’s strike partner in the youth set up.
“That was my childhood club where I spent most on my time from ten to 23 years old.
“I still have some great relationships with staff there and players I played with whilst at Spurs.
“There were so many great players whilst I was there like Luka Modric, Gareth Bale, Rafael van der Vaart, Kyle Walker.
"I'm still close with Danny Rose and Ryan Mason's one of my close friends. It will be great to see him."
He reflected: "I made my full debut at White Hart Lane against Shakhtar Donetsk. I didn’t actually know I was going to be playing until Harry Redknapp read out the team sheet.
"I was very shocked, but instead of being nervous I was more excited to show what I could do on the pitch.
"I was on the bench in a Premier League game against West Brom away. That was under Harry also, that was my closest opportunity.”
Morecambe manager Steve Robinson was an apprentice at White Hart Lane but struggled for game time with the likes of Jurgen Klinnsman and Teddy Sheringham ahead of him in the pecking order.
The striker played two games under “cavalier” boss Ossie Ardiles.
Robinson, who started at the club whilst Paul Gascoigne was there, said: “It was the tie I wanted. You always want to go back to your old clubs.
“A lot of my Gazza stories I can’t tell you on record.
“One I can tell you is Gazza used to throw twenty or fifty pound notes out of his car window.
"As a YTS we were paid £28.50 a week, that was like a week’s wages to us, so me and Sol Campbell would be fighting over it and there was only one winner unfortunately for me.
“Gazza used to have his chicken and chips at about 1.30 on a Saturday and he’d give you twenty quid to go down the high street and get it so we’d be queuing up to do that for him. He was great with the youngsters.
“I’ve been involved in some big cup finals up in Scotland against Celtic, but the occasion ranks right up there.
“Antonio’s been there and done it, managed at the very highest level and it’s going to be a game I’m going to enjoy.
“I’d love a glass of wine with Antonio afterwards and pick his brains, but in these Covid times I’m not sure that will happen.”
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