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  1. I rarely do these Career stories, so little time these days, but after a very successful FM17 9yr stint with Ilkeston Town, I'd wished I had made a thread for that save and so decided that I would do one the next time and here we are. It's late and I need sleep so this will be brief to start with but will add to it tomorrow. First, a little story. I moved to Cardiff when I was just two years old and lived there until my mid twenties. Grew up with a lot of pain from watching Cardiff play generally such poor football at a low level, but this was thankfully offset with the occasional bright moment. One of those was our FA Cup run in 1994, when we were struggling in what is now League One. I still remember that season quite vividly. We scraped past Enfield 1-0 in the 1st round but only in a replay after a 0-0 draw at their place. We then travelled to Brentford and came away with a 3-1 win, in no small part thanks to an outrageous own goal, a bullet header from their defender who was trying to clear a corner. 'Boro up next in round 3 and we drew 2-2 at Ninian and faced a replay at Ayresome Park. Phil Stant was injured early on for us and could barely walk but he somehow managed to jump off his one good leg to head us into an early lead before being subbed straight after. Just when it looked like we were going to hold on, 'Boro equalised in the 89th minute and it went to extra time. I thought that was us done for but Nathan Blake scored the winner and into the 4th round we went! Then came Man City, in relegation trouble in the EPL at the time, but still far too good for us... surely? We were without Stant, who hadn't recovered from his injury at 'Boro, so that didn't help matters at all. Man City started the game better than us and were awarded a penalty. Up stepped captain Keith Curle to take it but his effort was saved by GK Mark Grew and we were still in the game. One piece of magic was to decide this match and it came from the left boot of Blake. We were all celebrating wildly in the stands and I was hugging some stranger next to me haha. In the picture above, I'm in the stand behind, off to the far right of the pic next to the steward in orange (I think). We won the match 1-0 and when the draw was made for the next round, we were to play at home against the winner of the replay between Newcastle and Luton. Everyone expected it to be Newcastle who, under Keegan, were flying high in the EPL, but it was Luton, struggling in the division below, who came through that tie. We definitely fancied our chances against Luton but it wasn't to be. They scored first and although we equalised in the second half, they got the winner in slightly frustrating circumstances. The new offside law had recently come into effect where you are only offside if you are deemed active, something that had caught Holland out at the World Cup in the QF defeat to Brazil a few months later, 35 seconds into this clip... We fell foul of it too (although not so blatant as the Brazil one and mainly our fault) so out of the cup we went Back to the humdrum of the league and we'd had a number of postponements, due to our cup run and the replays, so we had a fixture congestion and had to play every 3-4 days to try and catch up, including a rather ludicrous 3 games in 5 days! Our squad wasn't great and we were actually in danger of relegation to the bottom division. Results were poor but we scraped enough points together to be safe with just 3 games to go. Our next game was at home against Cambridge, our 9th game in 19 days, and we were battered 7-2! But we didn't care by then as we were safe and we cheered every goal that went in. That might sound weird but it was just relief really. We lost all 3 at the end of the season but stayed up by 2pts. Ah, those were the days! Before Sam Hammam and the mess he left us in, a mess that was only resolved 15yrs+ later (yet he was still given life presidency of the club as part of the payoff deal ) Plenty of fans' favourites amongst the players too: Phil Stant, Carl Dale, Jason 'bite yer legs' Perry, Lee Lee Lee Baddeley, Oh Nicky, Nicky.... Nicky Nicky Nicky Nicky Richardson (we weren't very original with most of our songs tbf). Apart from one...Nathan Blake. ♫He's black, he's mean, he robs the fruit machine, Nathan Blake...Nathan Blake♫ So much for this being just a little story eh? I may have got a bit carried away. I think I'll stop there and then tomorrow actually talk about FM ♫Eddie May's barmy army!♫
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