`Mickey Mouse' Cup finalists laugh their way to the bank
Saturday 22 April 1995
Birmingham City are bringing 48,000 supporters and Carlisle United a following of 26,000; not bad for the so-called Mickey Mouse Trophy. Size is not everything, however, and although the clubs will each bank at least £400,000 in receipts, the game has come as something of a distraction for the champions-elect of the Second and Third Divisions.
Next Wednesday, 72 hours after their fourth match in nine days, Birmingham receive Brentford, who are level on points and one goal behind them at the top of the Second. Their manager, Barry Fry, calls the League game a "bigger, bigger, bigger match - a real cup final".
Mick Wadsworth, Carlisle's "director of coaching", expected to have promotion wrapped up by the time they made their Wembley debut, and it remains a formality despite two Easter defeats. So the tackles may not be as fierce as anticipated, a factor which could enhance a spectacle already rich in attacking promise
Fry and Wadsworth, "failed" players with 35 League appearances between them, are differing characters. One is gregarious and impulsive, the other a phlegmatic tactician. Yet they share a faith in flair: Blues' would have included two old-style wingers had Portugal Under-21s not called up Jose Dominguez, while the Cumbrians' front three are as skilful as any in the lower divisions.
The dreadlocked Rod Thomas returns in Carlisle's "deckchair" stripes to the flanks he graced as an outstanding if unfulfilled schoolboy talent. Although his partners, David Currie and David Reeves, boast top-flight experience with Nottingham Forest and Sheffield Wednesday respectively, their opposite numbers Steve Claridge and Kevin Francis are more prolific scorers.
Even with so many potential match-winners, central defence is the platform on which both teams have built their success. Birmingham's captain, Liam Daish, has been released by the Republic of Ireland, and the comparison with Carlisle's linchpin, the former Leeds apprentice Dean Walling, should be instructive.
Whatever the outcome - and who outside Swansea remembers the result of last year's final - it is the fans' day out. Carlisle rugby league club, sensing they might be on a loser at the turnstiles, have switched their fixture to Gateshead. A roll-call might be advisable when they arrive.
Latest in Sport
- 1 Planes go hybrid-electric in important step to greener flight
- 4 Hip hop is both racial and political, and for Iggy Azalea to suggest otherwise is insulting
- 5 Man hospitalised with pneumonia after downing eggnog at office Christmas party
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Alex Salmond has 'broken his word to the Scottish people' says Scottish Lib Dem leader
£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...
£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...
Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...