THE magic of the FA Cup is alive and well at a Wearside pub.
While last orders have already been served on Sunderland’s hopes of lifting the trophy, fans can get their hands on the famous piece of silverware at The Travelling Man, in West Boldon.
The road to Wembley will be taking a detour through the borough next Monday after the Newcastle Road venue won a competition to take possession of the coveted cup for one night only.
Regulars will have a chance to get close up to the cup and get their picture taken with one of the most illustrious items in English football.
This year’s final will mark the 40th anniversary of Sunderland’s 1973 FA Cup win over Leeds United.
Landlord Alan Crooks, 46, a former DJ who runs The Travelling Man with wife Kay, 39, and business partner David Guy, 46, can’t wait for the special guest to arrive.
He said: “There was a competition run by Punch Taverns (the pub chain) to get the FA Cup at your pub and we won for the North East region. It’s the only way Sunderland fans will get to see the cup this year. I will be inviting all the local football teams, particularly to give young children a chance to see the cup.”
The dad-of-three is at fever pitch ahead of the night, and is a big lover of a competition that has brought him its share of highs and lows as a staunch Sunderland supporter.
Mr Crooks added: “I was at Wembley in 1992 when we played Liverpool in the final.
“I remember talking to a friend at the final and we thought we were going to win, then Michael Thomas scored in the second half.
“It is still a great competition. People still talk about Jim Montgomery’s save in the 1973 final against Leeds.
“If you win the competition, you are always remembered.”
The FA Cup will at the pub from 7pm until 9pm on Monday with fans able to grab a picture with the prestigious prize.