Arsenal v Leeds United: My memories of our FA Cup win - Lorimer

A few years ago I asked a friend of mine to value my collection of medals, the 1972 FA Cup winners' medal included.

His estimate was so high that my solicitor phoned me out of the blue and said 'get them under lock and key!'

As a result of that, some of my most treasured possessions are deposited in a safe, out of sight but not out of mind. I'm always willing to show my medals to supporters who ask for a look but displaying them in my pub is absolutely out of the question. I'm sad to say that the result would be inevitable. It's the way of the world these days.

Paul Reaney and Johnny Giles are two former team-mates of mine who have both had their medals stolen in the past, and I'd be devastated if my name was ever added to that list.

Prizes like an FA Cup medal are of immense personal value but it was only recently that I discovered how much they are worth financially. Whenever I take them out, I warn people that I'm armed with a metal detector.

It's on weekends like this one that you most enjoy revisiting the peaks of your career.

Tomorrow's FA Cup tie between Leeds United and Arsenal provokes many emotions and many memories. How could it not? Arsenal are a club I associated strongly with the emergence of Leeds as a major force under Don Revie in the 1960s and 70s.

They were, of course, the team we beat in the centenary FA Cup final in 1972. Just as significantly, they were the team we beat when we won the League Cup for the first time four years earlier. Tomorrow's game is steeped in history and a return to what used to be our bread and

butter. I'd have taken this draw over most others.

Attitudes have changed over the years but, as a tournament and an honour, the FA Cup was as big as they came in my day. I can't speak for existing players but in the 1970s the thought of playing at Wembley – and particularly in a major final – was an absolute dream. I was lucky enough to do so on several occasions, with Leeds and Scotland. I can't really explain how proud it made me feel.

The funny thing, though, is that I never truly appreciated what those matches meant to our supporters until long after I retired.

I went to the League Cup final between Leeds and Aston Villa in 1996 and saw grown men crying as the trophy slipped away in pretty feeble fashion. This might sound strange but you never appreciate the full extent of that emotion when you're on the field.

You know the fans want the club to succeed but it's hard to see exactly how passionate they are. Standing on the terraces in 1996 was a real eye-opener for me.

The outcome in 1972 was obviously very different. It really was a significant moment in Leeds United's history – the only time the club have ever lifted that iconic cup. Some of the afternoon is very hazy in my mind and other parts are crystal clear.

Nothing stands out more than the sight of Mick Jones with his injured arm, hobbling up the 39 steps at Wembley with the help of Norman Hunter to collect his medal from the Queen.

The pain Mick suffered must have been agonising but he steadfastly refused to go off to the dressing room. That is probably the best example of what winning the FA Cup meant to us – it was literally a once-in-a-lifetime experience and Mick was damned if he was going to disappear down the tunnel while the rest of the players celebrated.

I've no doubt at all that a few of these stories will be told again at the Emirates tomorrow.

For us older lads, you never tire of speaking about former glories. But this is not our day and not our era.

The players who line up against Arsenal this week do not need to think or worry about the history of this game.

It's true to say that this tie – regardless of its profile – is secondary to the crux of this season. I know it won't feel like that when 8,500 fans pack into the Emirates and the tie kicks off but Leeds will not restore their former glory by causing an upset in London. In the long-term, they will restore it by rejoining the Premier League and rejoining England's elite.

It was said time and again last season that cup ties against Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur caused a distraction, to the detriment of our aim of winning promotion from League One. I'd agree with that but not because I think the players were guilty of complacency.

I just feel that several of them pushed themselves to limits in those games that they could not maintain. A tie away to Arsenal is a fantastic draw (the perfect draw in some respects) and a fantastic moment of exposure for Leeds.

A respectable result is all you can ask for but it is also imperative that the club do not leave the Emirates and stumble into a period of malaise.

Promotion, after all, is genuinely attainable this season.

That is the expectation which the squad at Leeds must bear if their form in the Championship continues to impress.

But 1972 is not their concern. It's nice for a club to have history and nice for someone like me to be able to reminisce but history should not put undue pressure on future generations.

This squad and their manager will not be judged on the FA Cup – they'll be judged on their attempts to make Leeds United a Premier League club once more.

Richie Myler.

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