Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Poom Realises FA Cup Dream

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Poom Realises FA Cup Dream

Article excerpt

Byline: By Luke Edwards

Mart Poom revealed last night how he had been bewitched by the magic of the FA Cup as a young boy after describing the Final as football's holy day.

The Estonian international goalkeeper had never set foot in England until he moved to Derby County in 1997 and described how his views of the country had been formed from the live coverage of the FA Cup his family watched thanks to an illegal link-up to a Finnish satellite channel.

Foreign broadcasts were banned in the former state of the old Soviet Union, but that did not stop a young Poom from becoming hooked on the excitement and tradition of what he describes as being the greatest club game in the world.

"There's a lot of excitement in the camp and I'm probably more excited than most," said the 32-year-old who will take his place in goal for tomorrow's eagerly awaited quarter-final meeting with Sheffield United at the Stadium of Light.

"The FA Cup holds a special place in my heart. Even in Estonia it was the most famous club game in the world.

"As a little boy I watched it on television and it was my dream to play in a final. It was a magical occasion for me, very special. When it was at Wembley it was like football's holy day.

"I remember the players walking on to the pitch and the Royal Family presenting the trophies. It is the biggest cup game in the world, without a doubt.

"But for me it also formed much of my image of England. I'd never seen the country before I came over to play for Derby County, but I had those memories of the FA Cup Final.

"It is one of the great British traditions, the whole day is special. The atmosphere and excitement, I dreamed about having the chance to play in a final one day.

"We're in touching distance of that now, but we've got a tough game against Sheffield United to get through first so we're not getting ahead of ourselves."

Much has been made of Sunderland's difficult task of combining their FA Cup run with their ultimate ambition of an immediate return to the Premiership. …

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