When Aston Villa last won the FA Cup, we hadn’t yet managed to put something into orbit.
58 years is one hell of a long time.
If there’s anything the last 90+ years should have taught Villa fans about this competition, it’s to not take moments like Saturday lightly.
After losing to Newcastle in the 1924 final, the Claret and Blues have returned to the grandest stage just twice, in 1957, when they won the competition over Manchester United, and in 2000, when they lost to Chelsea in the last final at the original Wembley.
And while it’s not like Villa have been devoid of success in the last 90 years — a league title, five League Cups and, of course, a European Cup speak to that — success in the world’s greatest cup competition has, for the most part, evaded them.
But that can all change at the snap of a finger Saturday, on the club’s biggest day in 33 years.
Make no mistake. Football is about winning things, and that’s something Villa haven’t done in 19 years, when they won the League Cup in 1996.
Financially? Sure, there have been bigger games. You could argue the match with West Ham not even three weeks ago was bigger. There have been tons of others over the past four seasons that have been crucial in keeping Villa up.
But who cares about money? We’re fans. The bottom line? It’s whatever.
Realistically speaking, Villa are 90 minutes — or 120 or 50 million, because that’s how long a penalty shootout seems to take — away from winning the biggest trophy they’re capable of winning. The league isn’t coming any time soon and even if a miracle run ensues, you’d expect the club to bow out of any Europa League adventure well before the final.
And that’s what makes Saturday so huge; such a grand opportunity for the club.
While solid performances earned wins in the last three rounds, it’s not as if Villa haven’t had a few strokes of luck to get to this point.
Four consecutive home draws helped the cause, while having someone else do the dirty work to knock out Chelsea and Manchester City was certainly a boost for everyone.
Villa still haven’t beat one of England’s elite teams in the competition, and while that’ll have to change Saturday, it’s much nicer than having to beat a few to get here.
But at the end of the day? 62 other clubs that partook in the Third Round on that first weekend in January had every bit the chance to Wembley that Villa did.
They, however, didn’t seize the day. Villa have.
And that’s now what’s left for the club; one more opportunity to go out and take what’s sitting there in front of them.
Never mind the fact that Arsenal have battered the Claret and Blues twice this season, or that Tim Sherwood is probably going to play a high line that’s going to get exposed by the Gunners once again.
Saturday represents an opportunity, one that’s probably the biggest one the club can have.
Wherever you are around the world, relish Saturday. These moments don’t happen very often for a club like ours, but that’s what makes them special.
But why not do something a little more than "special?"
If don’t win, what are you? A footnote to history? The team that the winners, Arsenal, happened to face in the final? That group with that one Christian Benteke guy, who’s now banging in the goals at wherever he moved to?
Is that what Villa want?
A chance doesn’t come like this very often.
Lose Saturday, and we’ll understand.
But if you win, you’ll live forever.
Your call, guys.
Throughout the FA Cup final week, we're raising money for the Villa Rockets Powerchair Football club. With your help we can reach £5,000 and get them a new powerchair! Read about the club and our effort here, or simply click here to donate and help us reach our goal! And remember, if you donate any amount, you can enter to win a free Fabian Delph t-shirt from The Art of Football!