Needham Market’s Kem Izzet says FA Cup has lost none of its appeal
- Credit: Archant
It’s fair to say the FA Cup’s reputation has taken a knock in recent years.
Manchester United infamously pulled out of the tournament in the 1999-2000 season to focus on the World Club Championship, while in recent years, Premier League teams have, at times, fielded weakened sides, with the pot of gold at the end of the Premier League rainbow shining bright.
In Kem Izzet’s eyes however, the Cup maintains its magic, even though the 33-year-old has now moved into the part-time game in order to establishing his football academy.
He grew up watching the likes of Sutton and Woking defeat Coventry City and West Bromwich Albion on TV in the Eighties and is hoping to write his own place in FA Cup folklore with Needham Market, tomorrow.
Speaking at Bloomfields, ahead of the Fourth Round Qualifying clash with Skrill Premier leaders Cambridge United, the midfielder said: “My generation dreamt of walking up the steps at Wembley, as it was back then, and lifting the FA Cup.
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“I have been lucky enough to see my brother (former Leicester midfielder Muzzy) lift a cup (League Cup) at Wembley and as a kid I played in the garden and played out the scenario where I scored the winner in the last minute of the Cup final.”
As a young professional, Izzet perhaps didn’t expect to have to wait until the twilight of his career to score his first Cup goal, but that’s how it materialised – the experienced midfielder getting off the mark in the First Round Qualifying win over Brantham.
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“That was massive for me, a real big deal,” Izzet added.
“I have been playing for 15 years and it was about time I got an FA Cup goal, having scored in the Championship and League One.”
Izzet has played a big role in Needham’s successful season so far, alongside fellow ex-Ipswich Town star Ian Westlake.
And the former Charlton youngster hopes they can pass on some nous tomorrow as Market chase an upset against the U’s.
“We have got some quality in the squad but we have a lot of young players too who are still learning,” said Izzet who confessed he is rarely aware of Needham’s next opponents until Thursday’s training session, such is his packed schedule off the field.
“Hopefully they can learn a bit off myself and Ian and they trust us as I think a few of them can certainly play higher.
He added: “We are well aware of Cambridge’s capabilities and I would say we are quietly confident, although we are not shouting from the rooftops.
“What tends to happen when you are the favouriteS is you take your foot off the pedal and we’re a bit reliant on one or two of their players not being at it against ‘Little old Needham’.
“If that happens, there might be an upset.”