FINDING his way to his seat will be like a walk in the ‘Goodison Park’ for a South Tyneside comic when the latest round of an epic FA Cup mission makes a stop at Premier League high-fliers Everton tomorrow.
Andy Fury – who is following the famous trophy from its first kick through to the final whistle of the showpiece Wembley final in May – had just wandered past the Merseyside outfit’s Goodison Park ground when he found out he would be making a return trip for the club’s fifth round cup clash with Swansea City.
The 31-year-old and pal Mark Tearney are taking in all 14 rounds of the knock-out competition – following the winner of each tie until the 700 teams which started are whittled down to just two.
The pair’s gruelling journey kicked off in August with West Auckland Town’s 5-0 thumping of Tow Law Town in the competition’s extra-preliminary qualifying round
Nine rounds, 15 games, dozens of goals, one abandoned match, hundreds of pounds and countless miles later, the pair will be in Liverpool tomorrow for the all top-flight meeting, which is being broadcast live on ITV 1 on Sunday.
The unique FA Cup journey, titled Cup Runnings, is being recorded in a podcast and photo-blog after each game.
As well as documenting their own experiences, Andy and Mark have spoken to a diverse range of people involved with clubs along the way – from players and managers and their families to fans.
Mr Fury said: “I had been gigging in Liverpool and had a wander past Goodison before I left for a football grounds blog I do.
“Then I got a text from Mark saying Swansea had been drawn at Everton. I said ‘I’m already here’.”
The Hebburn funnyman is looking forward to the game, with just two more steps to go before they head to Wembley for the semi finals. He said: “This is the first game we will have seen between two teams from the same league
“As a Sunderland fan, we’ve had some bad experiences up at Goodison Park – apart from this season –- so it might be best to go as a neutral.
“I have a show in Aberdeen on Saturday night, so I will be getting home at about 3am then setting off at 7am on Sunday for the game.
“It is either dedication or stupidity.”
Everton against Swansea City kicks off at 1.30pm on Sunday, with live coverage on ITV 1.