The third round of the FA Cup has arrived and so have the whimsical musings on the magic of the world's oldest club competition. Average Joes play against their Premier League heros and the unthinkable upset are always possible. As wonderful as all of that is, sometimes it's the stories of non-league goalkeepers who are also naked butlers and qualified safari guides that truly encapsulate just how special the FA Cup is. This is one of those stories.
Non-league side Hastings United, the lowest ranked side still in the competition -- play Championship side Middlesbrough in the third round and their goalkeeper, 23-year-old Matt Armstrong-Ford, was a naked butler until very recently. The Sun has an exclusive feature about Armstrong-Ford with a large picture of the Andy Carroll lookalike jauntily holding a cocktail shaker and wearing his naked butler attire with only a thin black apron between his junk and the FA Cup itself. Included are quotes like this one:
The goalie, 23, said: “The naked butler will definitely be on the loose tonight with all the boys if we avoid defeat.
“I only wear my cuffs, dickie bow and apron and the girls love it when I pour cocktails and Pimms.
“If we win the FA Cup in May, I might use the trophy and serve the girls the ‘No 1 Cup!’”
Armstrong-Ford is the son of a Wimbledon tennis tournament assistant referee who was also a Hastings United goalkeeper in his day. And as if being a keeper and naked butler wasn't enough, The Sun says that Armstrong-Ford is also a "qualified safari guide" and an ATP tennis official, all but over-qualifying him for the title of The Most Interesting Man in the World.
What other 132-year-old sporting competition can boast of having a naked butler "on the loose"? None. And that's why the FA Cup is magic.
UPDATE: Sadly, an injury kept the naked butler from being on the loose against Middlesbrough. Perhaps the FA Cup isn't so magical after all.