Remember this?

Very few people in life get a second chance to make up for disappointment in their lives.

In the case of Andy Ritchie though, the former Latic made up for lost time when helping the club reach Wembley in 1990.

Eleven years earlier, the then teenager had helped Manchester United reach the FA Cup final against Arsenal.

In the days of one substitute, United boss Dave Sexton opted to name Brian Greenhoff on the bench and consigned Ritchie to the role of 13th man.

“I’d played there for England Schoolboys, so at least I knew what it was like in that sense,” revealed Ritchie.

“However, I’d never played there professionally, so to get another chance was absolutely fantastic.

“The day of the final itself was terrific, especially everything that came with it; Wembley itself was a mass of blue and white.

“You couldn’t see any Nottingham Forest fans which brought a lump to many people’s throats – it certainly did with me – because we had so much great support.

“It was a lovely day, really sunny, and all the fans were mixing together which made the whole thing so special; the fact that both sets of fans got on.

Winners

“Although we ultimately lost the game, we probably came out of it as winners in the sense that I think there were a lot of people supporting us that weren’t necessarily fans of Oldham Athletic.”

Ritchie netted in every round bar the final on his way to becoming Athletic’s top scorer that season.

However, in common with his team-mates, he believed their run to the final, FA Cup semi-final and bid for promotion meant Wembley was one game too far.

He said: “I think there were just too many games at the end for us to get promoted.

“Wembley was a bridge too far and the number of games we had meant we couldn’t recover properly inbetween.

“We were playing three games a week for the last two or three weeks which took its toll; Frankie Bunn had a massive blister on the back of his heel and he couldn’t get that right, while there were one or two others who were not really fully fit.”

Ritchie was missing from the side which sealed its place in the final despite a 3-0 semi-final second leg defeat at West Ham United.

Athletic were practically in the final anyway after the first leg when they beat their opponents 6-0 on February 14 – a night inevitably dubbed ‘The Valentine’s Day Massacre’.

Once their final spot was confirmed, there were the traditional side products that come with it; the obligatory cup final record and inevitable interview requests.

However, given the significance of Oldham making it to Wembley, one or two things were a little off the wall.

“Getting to the final is something that was a first for Oldham but what I recall were some of the things surrounding the game,” remembered Ritchie.

Pies

“When we got to the final, the town was a sea of blue of white everywhere you went – so much so that one company made blue meat and potato pies.

“The filling was the same as normal but they dyed the pastry blue – I don’t know what they tasted like but I imagine some people did!

“The other thing that stands out was the second leg of the semi-final at West Ham after we’d won the first leg 6-0.

“I was injured so I did some co-commentary on the game with Stuart Pyke which was recorded and then sold.

“It was so funny because he was panicking after they’d scored their three goals, saying we were going to blow it.

“I ended up saying to him live on air that we’d be OK because there was no way West Ham would score another four goals against us.

“Doing the commentary on the game that night was memorable; a real pleasure and something I’ll always treasure.”

This entry was posted by theboleyninheritance.

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