WELL, it’s finally here and we’re allowed to talk about it at long last.
We’re going to WEMBLEY!
We’ve not been able to talk about it with all the important Premier League games going on, but it’s been there in the backs of our minds.
And now it’s here we can talk about it, think about it and look forward to it.
I’m certainly looking forward to it, it should be a big occasion.
I know there’s been a bit of fuss about the ticket sales, but it’s a load of nonsense to be honest.
We all know it’s a big expense to go down this weekend, and if we were to get through to the final we’ll have to do it all over again in a few weeks.
I think a lot of people, rightly or wrongly, are taking that gamble of saving their money for the final, and you can’t blame anyone for doing that in this day and age.
It’s tight at the moment, money-wise, isn’t it?
Not everyone can take a family down there, forking all that money out, and then do it again a few weeks later.
Of course it’s a gamble, hoping we’ll win the game against Millwall. I think if it had been Manchester City or Chelsea, a lot more people would have gone.
But I suppose, because it’s Millwall, they’re a Championship club, and we’re expected to get through.
It’s not going to be easy, though, I can tell you that.
They’ll be up for it – there’s no doubt about that.
But hopefully we’ll get down there and, when we get out on that big pitch, hopefully we can do the job.
We’ve played lower league opposition in the earlier rounds, so we certainly know what to do.
It would be a shame to get so far and blow it now.
The big thing we’ve got to contend with is expectation – although I don’t think any of the players will be falling into that trap.
We know they will have the full backing of 30,000 fans on the day, and they’ll probably see playing one of the less glamorous Premier League club as their chance to get through to the final.
We know they’ll be in our faces. But if we can play anything like we know we are capable of, especially on that big Wembley pitch, then we shouldn’t have a problem.
We can’t be thinking that it’s a ‘gimme’, though, because it’s not.
But I’m sure the lads know what’s at stake, and to get to a final they have to do their job.
What an occasion it would be if we could get to the final.
That would be something else, wouldn’t it?
Whether it would be Manchester City or Chelsea in the final, it would be a great occasion.
There will be no other games on that day, so everyone will definitely be concentrating on the FA Cup final.
I know it’s not the same when there are games the day after, but I’m sure it will be a great occasion.
I’m sure the lads will be up for it – in fact I know they are.
Everybody’s champing at the bit at the moment. Everybody wants to be involved in big games like this.
To go and play at Wembley in any game ... it doesn’t come along all that often. Everybody’s raring to go more or less, everybody is fit.
That’s what happens at this time of year.
If we’d have been playing Fulham away on a Tuesday night, we’d have had injury issues.
But you know what it’s like.
“Oh hang on a minute, Wembley? Yeah I’m all right!”
I’m sure everyone will do their utmost to be fit for this one.
In fact, I think it’s only me who’s injured now!
Finally, I don’t know what’s going on with our Wembley club suits, but I’ve certainly not been fitted for mine.
But you can’t do all that, can you? It’s still only a semi-final.
Because it’s at Wembley, everyone’s made a bigger thing of it.
If it was at Villa Park, it would have been a normal situation.
We’d have gone done down in normal tracksuits, gone to the game and that would have been it.
Everything else ... that should all be saved for the final. Fingers crossed ...
HE’S not been here for very long, but Joel Robles is already standing by to make his Wembley debut.
I’ve been waiting eight years for that ... he’s been here for, what, eight weeks!
I do like him, though.
As soon as a saw him, I said there was something special about him.
At 22, he’s got one hell of a future ahead of him.
He’s done so well for us on loan, I’d love it if we could make the deal permanent.
I don’t know how much money Atletico Madrid will want for him.
Figures have been banded about, but the thing is other clubs have seen him now haven’t they?
And I think that’s the idea from their point of view – get some games and put himself in the shop window.
But he’s certainly not done himself any harm here.
He’s done really well. He just fits the part, doesn’t he?
He doesn’t speak much English, but we’re teaching Spanish and English to each other.
He seems like a good lad, though. You can tell he’s got the right mentality.
You can tell he’s got a little bit of arrogance about him as well – but not in a bad way.
He can definitely handle that big-match situation.
He’s 6’5 – he’s huge. But he’s got everything, his distribution is brilliant.
He threw one ball the other day against QPR – he just launched it straight into their half to feet – and I thought ‘blimey’.
They’ve got some keepers, Atletico Madrid, I’ll say that.
When you’ve got him and David de Gea in the same Academy, you’re doing something right.
The thing is, they coach them at such an early age with their distribution.
I find it amazing over here, watching my lad play football (Under-9s), where they let the keepers pick the ball up.
And then they move up in age groups and they don’t allow them to pick it up.
Instead of saying at Under-7s they can’t do it, they let them do it and then stop them.
All right, they might make mistakes.
But, at that age, does it really matter?
It’s the only way they’re going to learn.