BBC BLOGS - Chris Bevan

Archives for April 2011

Semi-final success sees Pulis put Wembley woes behind him

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Chris Bevan | 23:39 UK time, Sunday, 17 April 2011

Wembley Stadium

Stoke City boss Tony Pulis laid to rest most of his Wembley ghosts in some style by putting Bolton to the sword in Sunday's FA Cup semi-final, and victory over Manchester City when he returns for next month's final would be a fitting way for him to finish the job.

It was a famous comeback from the Mancunians that saw Pulis's previous visit to the national stadium, as Gillingham boss for the 1999 League One play-off final, end so traumatically that he did not step foot inside it again - in its old or new incarnation - until last week.

Twelve years ago the Gills led Manchester City 2-0 until the 89th minute, but ended up being beaten on penalties, a defeat that Pulis admits not only haunted him to the extent he had not attended a Wembley game since, but also helped make him into the manager he is today.

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Trautmann hopes Man City's time has come again

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Chris Bevan | 23:00 UK time, Thursday, 14 April 2011

Bert Trautmann will be at his home near Valencia when his beloved Manchester City take on Manchester United in Saturday's FA Cup semi-final at Wembley. He would like to watch the game but won't be able to as he does not subscribe to any of the satellite TV channels showing the match in Spain.

But if City do beat the odds - and their red neighbours - to set up a return to Wembley for the final next month, then the spritely 87-year-old does not want to miss a thing.

For a man synonymous with FA Cup folklore, a return to the scene of his legendary triumph in 1956 is long overdue. The Nazi paratrooper turned prisoner of war turned heroic goalkeeper, who broke his neck in that year's final but famously played on, has not been back since the ground was rebuilt and, more poignantly, has never been invited to a major final by City since he retired in 1964.

In fairness, there have been no opportunities in the 30 years since City's last FA Cup final, against Spurs in 1981, but City's visits to Wembley for showpiece games in the late 1960s and 1970s were a lot more frequent.

Like many other Blues fans, Trautmann is hopeful Saturday will be the first of many more but he is not overly optimistic about City's prospects this weekend.

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