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Father and son's trail in honour of FA Cup

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: May 19, 2014

By JEFF WELLS

Mike and Paul Vallis toured the country as they followed each round of  this year's FA Cup all the way to Wembley

Mike and Paul Vallis toured the country as they followed each round of this year's FA Cup all the way to Wembley

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A father and son watched the FA Cup final at Wembley – after travelling more than 5,000 miles in nine months to watch every round of the competition.

Mike and Paul Vallis, aged 16, went to games in Plymouth, Northampton, Derbyshire, Essex and Hull in their bid to watch the winning team from each round progress.

They spent £1,300 along the way and completed their FA Cup trail when they headed to Wembley Stadium to watch Hull City lose to Arsenal on Saturday. Mike, of Plymouth, Devon, said: "I'm that age that when I was a kid, the FA Cup final day was more important than Christmas day. The FA cup has still got that magical appeal."

They started their own FA Cup run way back in August when they watched Plymouth Parkway take on Saltash United, beating them 2-0 in front of a crowd of 178 people.

Following the winner of each round has seen them travel as far as 672 miles in a round-trip for a game, when they went to see Hull City against Sunderland in the quarter final.

"Some games were forgettable but others were true cup ties," Mr Vallis said.

"The 4-3 replay between Clevedon Town and Hartley Wintney had everything and was a classic.

"There were a couple of penalties, plenty of goals and the winner was scored in the 96th minute from a controversial penalty.

"I enjoyed watching the grassroots football almost as much as watching the full-time professionals.

"With clubs like Clevedon, they got really small crowds and we do wonder how they keep going. Paul quite liked following them. As the games got bigger, the atmosphere got more and more exciting.

"Particularly the semi-final when it was 5-3 against Sheffield United."

The Babcock manager and Plymouth College pupil started pursuing Hull City's fortunes after they beat Southend United 2-0 away in the fourth round, giving the cup run added meaning.

"When I was a young lad, my parents moved to Hull and I went to college there," explained the father-of-two.

"We went to the quarter-final against Sunderland and it was the first time I had been back in a while but it was a good visit.

"The truth is, we have both become Hull fans.

"It was when we watched Hull versus Brighton and stood in the away end, we felt that sense of camaraderie with the fans.

To secure tickets to some of the contests, Mike even booked the day off work to make sure he could get them.

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