Silver is used to mark a 25th wedding anniversary and Tottenham Hotspur will be hoping for some silverware this season to mark an anniversary which is slightly less of a cause for celebration.
This season will make it 25 years since Tottenham’s last appearance in an FA Cup final and, given Arsenal have won the trophy seven times since then, it’s certainly about time the club were back at Wembley.
True, Spurs have won the League Cup twice, and appeared in the final a further three times, since their last FA Cup final outing, but there is something about the club’s tradition in the world’s oldest cup competition.
In beating Nottingham Forest in extra-time in 1991, Spurs became the first club to win the FA Cup eight times. That tally has since been surpassed by both Arsenal and Manchester United, as Spurs wait for a 10th appearance in the final.
It also used to be a tradition that Spurs won the FA Cup when the year ended in one, having lifted the trophy in 1901, 1921, 1961, 1981 and 1991. But failure to reach the final in 2001 and 2011 has seen that talked about a bit less.
Instead, what should be discussed is how a club of Spurs’ size have failed to make it to the FA Cup final for 25 years. The desire to qualify for the Champions League in recent seasons could be pointed to as a shifting in priorities, but Spurs’ best two finishes in the Premier League have also coincided with their best recent FA Cup runs in reaching the semi-finals.
In 2010, Spurs finished fourth in the league and were beaten 2-0 by Portsmouth in the cup. Two years later, they were fourth again and lost 5-1 to Chelsea in the cup semi-final.
It’s a demonstration of the momentum a cup run can bring to a club’s league form and a reason why Mauricio Pochettino should take the competition seriously this season.
Spurs will enter the third round among the leading contenders in the FA Cup betting to win the competition and Pochettino has a team and a squad capable of going all the way to the final.
In beating Chelsea and Arsenal at White Hart Lane in the Premier League last season, Spurs proved they are capable of matching the best teams. Even in losing 2-0 to Chelsea in the Capital One Cup Final, Spurs showed they can rise to the big occasion.
With players like Harry Kane, Christian Eriksen and new signing Son Heung-min to call upon, Pochettino has the attacking talent to win a one-off cup tie.
And Spurs are also usually involved in closely-contested cup finals as well, with their last four appearances all going to extra-time. In 1991, they beat Forest, after losing to Coventry 3-2 in 1987, which is the only time they’ve lost a cup final. In 1982, they beat QPR in a replay, having gone down the same route to beat Manchester City a year earlier.
Spurs have always provided entertainment for the neutrals and the FA Cup final is the biggest game for the neutrals in the football calendar. It’s too long since Spurs played in the end-of-season showpiece and the onus must be on Pochettino to commemorate this 25th anniversary with a shiny piece of silverware.