In the first of our series of FA Cup memories from staff and supporters of the club, Stuart Hayton (pictured right with Chief Executive Jonathan Jackson) explains his introduction into FA Cup football and talks about the magic he sees being created.
Stuart has been working full time for Wigan Athletic since 1996 and has supported Latics all of his life after being introduced to the club by his father.
“My Dad always tells me about going to St James’ Park in 1954 watching the 2-2 draw and a Newcastle supporter thought Latics played so well that he bought my Dad and his mates some food after the game in a Newcastle café before they came home.
“The first FA Cup game I remember going to was against Blackpool in a replay in November 1979.
“We’d drawn 1-1 at Bloomfield Road and then won 2-0 at home, Frank Corrigan and Tommy Gore got the goals in front of 14,500 people which was the biggest crowd I ever saw Latics with at Springfield Park.”
Those are the founding moments of Stuart’s FA Cup journey as a supporter and he also recalled his favourites.
“My best memory is the 1987 cup run.
“To beat Norwich City 1-0 was a big achievement for the club because they were sixth or seventh in the top division at that time.
“It was a freezing cold January day and Paul Jewell scored in the last 10 minutes.
“Most of us ran on the pitch at the end and that was tradition when Latics beat a top team back then, it was massive because at home we hadn’t beaten a then top division side before.”
As secretary, Stuart (as a fan right, second from left) now sees his days of standing with fellow fans being relived in today’s younger set of supporters and explains how he believes the FA Cup magic has been passed down through generations.
“The FA Cup is a great way to introduce supporters to football and if younger supporters went to the Huddersfield Town game in the fifth round, then it’s a great advert for Wigan Athletic and for the FA Cup.
“It will have been good for the young fans to have gone to Macclesfield Town as well because then they can see a ground like the ones we used to play at every Saturday back in the lower league days.
“There will have been fans who went to Macclesfield who will have stood up at a football game for the first time in their lives, that’s the sort of thing that makes the FA Cup special.”
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