Get ready for the best afternoon of the year!
So where will you be on Saturday afternoon at three o’clock?
If you are one of the lucky ones you’ll be safely ensconced in your seat at Wembley Stadium for what promises to be a real sporting treat.
Recollections of that great Wembley final of 1985 between Wigan and Hull have been coming thick and fast, and are likely to increase in the days to come.
Twenty-eight years ago, Wigan edged the Airlie Birds 28-24 in a classic match that made a massive impression on a huge TV audience.
Saturday’s game will be the third time the clubs have met in a Wembley Final, the first the 1959 decider, which Wigan won 30-13.
Hull FC will be playing in their 15th Challenge Cup Final; have won only three of their previous fourteen and have never won at Wembley. Their previous final wins came at the Millennium Stadium over Leeds in 2005, Elland Road in the 1982 replay against Widnes and at Halifax’s Thrum Hall in 1914 against Wakefield, long before anyone dreamed of staging Rugby League’s biggest event in the nation’s capital.
We should be glad that in 1929, our game’s administrators made the bold move to take the showpiece to London. It was a daring venture and there were many doubters, but it didn’t take too many years to disperse the critics.
The Rugby League Challenge Cup Final at Wembley still provides a wonderful weekend 84 years on, unique among sporting events, where neutrals and partisan supporters mix annually and celebrate a common passion.
And to top it off there is usually a pretty good game to talk over in the pubs of London and on the way home.
Saturday will be no exception, it could even overtake 1985 in Wembley folklore.
Both Wigan and Hull had expected pre-Wembley wobbles at the weekend, but on 3pm on Saturday that won’t matter a hoot. Two very good teams will be giving their all. Wigan, Challenge Cup kings, Hull desperate to shake off their Wembley hoodoo. We can’t wait.
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