Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Caskey's Keen to Create More FA Cup Memories

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Caskey's Keen to Create More FA Cup Memories

Article excerpt

Byline: Steve Brown steve.sports-brown@trinitymirror.com

DARREN Caskey has fond memories of the FA Cup. Gazza and El Tel, 1991. Four years later, too.

And though he acknowledges its place, now, in the shadows of the Premier and Champions Leagues, Gateshead's assistant manager insists it has lost none of its shine among non-league footballers.

After all, he says, it "gives everybody a chance".

Caskey has had his. In 1991, Terry Venables invited him and Nick Barmby - both yet to play for Tottenham Hotspur - to travel with the team that beat Nottingham Forest 2-1 in the Wembley final, and to the party afterwards.

Then in 1995, the midfielder played in every round from the third to the semi-final, which Spurs lost to eventual winners Everton at Elland Road after winning at Liverpool in the last eight. Tomorrow, he and the Tynesiders have another crack at it, away to West Bromwich Albion - Tony Pulis and all - in the third round, for the first time in 60 years.

And while he knows the Heed face a tough assignment at the Hawthorns, Caskey says they are determined to stick to their possessionbased principles, meet the challenge head on and "put a good show on".

"I've got some great memories of the FA Cup," he said.

"It's a tournament that's probably a little bit understated nowadays, with the way the game's gone with the Premier League and the Champions League.

"But I think deep down, English players and especially lower-league players absolutely love it.

"It gives everybody a chance, like your Blyth Spartans and ourselves, to go and play against big teams. That's why it's so fantastic for the players, all the supporters and everyone at the club." Caskey added: "The lads are relaxed, it's another game. Of course, there's a bit of hype but me and the gaffer (Gary Mills) will push that aside. They deserve the plaudits for getting through for the first time in 60 years. …

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