Even magic of the FA Cup cannot undo dark deeds

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MAGIC of the FA Cup?

Maybe not...

We can all root for Oldham against Liverpool - a straight Giant Killer v Giant scrap where we can allow our romantic flights of football fancy to wander and take sides without conscience or doubt.

Brentford V Chelsea? No bother.

QPR v MK Dons? Not even close.

But Leeds United against Tottenham?

Now there’s a tester for your football prejudices.

Tottenham, perennial good guys with a reputation for playing attractive football and one that might be becoming a serious threat in terms of Premier League title-winning capabilities.

But they are Londoners and their fancy ways still don’t go down too well in these parts.

Then there’s Leeds United.

Perennial city rivals to Sheffield with a dark and wilful past.

Has any other team in football history carried the shadow of a bad reputation for as long as Leeds United?

It’s half a century now since Don Revie turned them into the game’s most efficient proponents of football’s dark arts.

They became a brilliant side with some fantastic players who should have won a lot more trophies than they did - but boy were they hated.

And, because of the way that team behaved, Leeds are to this day far more reviled than any team of their current status should be.

Alright Manchester United and Bradford fans will always have a rivalry thing going on with them as does Huddersfield and both Sheffield teams, but no team is hated like Leeds.

So who did YOU want to win on Sunday?

The ‘good guys’ or the perennial villains?

Allowing for the Warnock factor for Blades and Owls fans I’ve an idea even the FA Cup’s somewhat tarnished but still powerful magic couldn’t overcome the ‘Leeds thing’ for most people.

The club won’t care much and their supporters even less - especially as they travel to the Etihad for the next round.

But it shows the unforgiving nature of football rivalries when the legacy of a team’s past can overturn 140-plus years of the FA cup’s back-the-underdog tradition.

Last week column referred to an incident in which a lad called Merill Capenerhurst - I spelled his name wrong last week - was so cold during a Central Midlands League game out in the wilds of the Derbyshire coalfield in the 1980s that he had to come off the field and get warmed through.

I got an email from Merril, who I haven’t seen for about 30 years and whom now lives on the Isle Of Wight, after he was sent the story by Island Football Focus, an IOW football newsletter.

He’s now a referee on the island and although he remembers playing on more than one occasion in that area, he doesn’t remember the incident I recalled last week.

Of course I could have made up the whole thing in a flight of non-FA Cup fancy but I don’t think so. More research required methinks.

Andy Murray will win Wimbledon this year and he’ll beat Novak Djokovic in the final.

In a blaze of strawberries and cream silliness Murray will be the first Brit to win it since Fred - polo shirt - Perry made it a hat-trick in 1936.

Murray’s victory is a nailed on, 100 per cent certainty - or my name’s not Bunny Austin.