By Rob Cornell
Flying winger Andy Barcham will have no room for sentiment when AFC Wimbledon cross the white line at Wembley on Sunday, to face his former club Tottenham in the FA Cup.
The popular midfielder can’t wait for this weekend’s third round tie as a Spurs fan, but any loyalty he has to the North London giants will be forgotten about once the match gets underway.
“We want to beat them at the end of the day, we want to progress, we want to put ourselves in the next round so hopefully we can pull off the upset,” said Andy in an interview to our premium iFollow Dons subscription channel.
You can see a shorter version of the interview with Andy and clips of the Dons preparations, for the FA Cup third round tie at Wembley against Tottenham, by clicking on the link below via our official club YouTube channel.
“There are so many things to be excited about with this game. Not just Tottenham, one of the best teams in the Premier League, but playing at Wembley in the FA Cup. One of the challenges is to not get over excited with the occasion and just concentrate on the game and the challenge in hand. It’s a difficult task, but one we’re going to enjoy and relish the opportunity.”
Andy ‘s ties with Tottenham go back to his childhood and it’s an attachment that runs strong throughout his family with the eight-times FA Cup winners.
“I’ve got great memories of my Tottenham days,” said Andy. “All my family support Spurs, my dad is a season-ticket holder and I still go to some games with him. To get scouted at a young age was a very proud moment for me and my family. Coming up through the academy and graduating from there and signing professional contracts were some of the highlights of my career.
“I made my debut in the League Cup against Port Vale at White Hart Lane in front of a packed house and that was something that I’ll never forget. It was such a good feeling, all my family were there, they were great times personally for myself at Spurs. Unfortunately, I had to move away to go in a different route with my career.
“Like so many players in the Academy it’s so difficult to make it and nail down a place in the first team, with the calibre and quality of players they have at these clubs and the players they are going to attract. I needed to come away and did that.”
Wimbledon’s last time under the spotlight of the FA Cup came in 2015, when the Dons lost 2-1 at The Cherry Red Records Stadium to Liverpool. Although it came before Andy’s time with the club, he feels it’s something the side can take inspiration from.
“If you’re talking about levellers and playing against Premier League opposition, this club put on a great account against Liverpool. We want to enjoy the occasion, we know we’re up against quality opposition, but Steven Gerrard was a great player! We want to give a good account of ourselves and see where it takes us.
“We’re not silly! We know Tottenham have got some world class players. They are playing a very attractive style of football under a very good manager and they’re doing well in the Premier League. This is going to be a very difficult task for sure.
“Relying on Wembley as the venue? We’ve got a very good record there, so why not?! We’re going to try and rely on anything we can to get an edge in the game. Some of the players played in the Play-off journey we had, so to have good memories of that gives us some experience to call upon and hopefully we can cause an upset.
Andy is pictured celebrating in the dressing room at Wembley, after the Dons League Two Play-off final victory over Plymouth in May 2016.
“If you’re talking about underdogs and over-achieving, I don’t think you’re going to get any better than us! Why not do it again at Wembley?!”
Andy travels into work with Wimbledon as part of a player car pool from Kent. Another member of that party is also a former Spurs youngster, but talk about the FA Cup clash had been put on hold with George Francomb – until now.
“We haven’t spoken about it. The gaffer has been big on the league and picking up points, first and foremost.
“It’s only really since Thursday that we’ve fully embraced the game and think about it. Me and Georgie have been to a few Spurs games, but it’s the FA Cup – we’re playing against them and not going to be worried about supporting them!”
The full, seven minute interview with Andy Barcham, along with the pre-match thoughts of centre-back Darius Charles, are available on our iFollow Dons channel.