It’s the stuff that dreams are made of – standing beside the FA Cup. But that magic moment became a reality for junior footballers from Longhoughton Rangers.
The famous trophy was at Westfield Park on Monday, as part of a nationwide tour ahead of the first round this weekend.
The beaming smiles – and the countless ‘selfies’ – told you all you needed to know. This really was a special moment.
And the magnitude of the occasion was not lost on those lucky enough to see – and in some cases touch – the iconic piece of silverware.
It was a particularly special moment for 11-year-old Ben Lawton.
His grandfather was Nobby Lawton, who led Preston North End out in the 1964 FA Cup final at the old Wembley Stadium against a West Ham side skippered by Bobby Moore. The Hammers won 3-2 that day, but young Ben said his grandfather’s legacy added extra significance to Monday’s memorable trophy visit.
“It is really cool,” said the Longhoughton Rangers U12 player, who is also part of Newcastle United’s development squad. It is a really big thing for the FA Cup to come to Longhoughton and I am really proud of my grandad for the role he played in the tournament.”
Ben’s dad Jeremy Lawton, who is in charge of personnel services at RAF Boulmer, added: “It is fantastic that the FA Cup is here and my father would have been very proud of Ben today.”
The FA Cup also has special memories for Rangers’ coach Steve Mullen, who scored for Alnwick Town during the tournament’s first qualifying round in the 1991/92 season.
His winning strike, in the 1-0 replay victory against Brandon United, was shown on Match of the Day.
Steve said: “It was special to see the goal on the television, but it was about the whole team. It was a good result.”
The day was particularly emotional for Paul Kiddell, who recently stepped down as club chairman. He described the occasion as incredible. Representatives from RAF Boulmer also attended.
The trophy came to Longhoughton as part of a national tour to mark the fact that the FA Cup competition is returning to BBC Television this autumn with more coverage than ever before across TV and BBC Local Radio.
In a first for FA Cup coverage, the BBC will be giving extra prominence to the early rounds of the competition, placing lower league clubs in the spotlight.
Fans will be able to enjoy every twist and turn along the road to Wembley this season with extensive coverage across all platforms.
BBC Sport has a four-year FA Cup rights contract running until 2018 in partnership with BT Sport.