FA CUP favourites Arsenal may have won the trophy, but Hull City enjoyed a victory all of their own during a thrilling day out at the Wembley final.
The Tigers remained heroes in the hearts of their loyal black and amber army as they headed home. To them, they were winners from the moment they arrived at Wembley Stadium to play in their first ever final at the famous venue.
The fact the team had put two goals past Arsenal in the first eight minutes of the game and held on to a draw until extra time only added to the delight.
From the broad grins across their sun-kissed faces, it was difficult to believe one father and daughter had just watched their team suffer a heart-breaking defeat. But Hull City die-hards Trevor, 68, and Anita Jones, 47, echoed the feelings of thousands of fans preparing to make the long journey back north after a nail-biting, spectacular match.
Miss Jones, of Beverley Road, Hull, said: “I’m happy as Larry. What a day out. There was an absolutely brilliant atmosphere.”
Mr Jones added: “We didn’t disgrace ourselves. They gave it everything and it was a brilliant match.”
Thoughts of what might have been weighed heavy on shoulders, but heads were held high. They were down, but not out – and ever so proud.
Andy Brown, 50, said: “We gave Arsenal a big shock. I’m gutted because I thought we were going to pull it off, but it was a great day out.” His son Tom, 11, said: “I still love them and I’m still proud of them.”
While pundits and Press spoke of how close Hull had come to pulling off a shock win, to many of the 25,000-plus fans, the club had still done the unthinkable.
Hull native Caroline Writer, 37, who now lives in Reading, said: “If you’d have said to me 10 years ago that Hull City would have just done that in an FA Cup Final I’d have laughed in your face. They played their guts out. I was stood next to a fan who had come all the way from Australia and he was loving it.”
Victory came within the Tigers’ reach in the early stages of the thrilling match and the atmosphere at the black and amber end was enough to tingle the spines of neutral spectators before Arsenal eventually triumphed 3-2 in extra time.
Hull season ticket holder Alan Johnson, 75, of Beverley, summed up the side’s steely determination as he prepared to board the bus for the long journey back up the M1.
“We’ll be back. We’ve had a taste of it now,” he said.
Comment: Page 10; FA Cup Final special supplement in Sports Monday.