FA CUP glory is beckoning for this lifelong Tiger – more than eight decades after victory was cruelly snatched from his clutches.
Diehard Hull City fan Sherard Pearson was but a small boy teetering on his tiptoes when he witnessed the first-leg of the club’s first ever FA Cup semi-final against Arsenal at Elland Road back in 1930. When the Gunners went on to lift the trophy that year it provided the first dose of football heartache which comes with the territory for Tigers fans.
But in a show of his unflinching faith in the boys in black and amber the 91-year-old has put his confidence in today’s team, the first Hull side to reach an FA Cup Final, to realise his boyhood dream.
He is making the trip to Wembley today for what he predicts will be a 2-1 victory to Hull to finally settle the score with Arsenal.
Mr Pearson, who lives in Hull, said: “I really think we can do it this time. I guess it will be 2-1 to Hull.”
The grandfather has enjoyed local celebrity status in his home city since the FA Cup magic was sprinkled on the city.
When they reached the semi-finals, Hull City manager Steve Bruce made a public pledge to pay for the ticket of any fan who had been at the game 84 years ago.
The appeal was spotted by Mr Pearson’s grandson and fellow Tiger Dan Aitchison, aged 24.
He said: “Granddad says he was only young but he does remember. He always says Hull were robbed in that match and they should’ve beaten Arsenal.”
When Mr Aitchison shared his grandfather’s story and the Hull boss stayed true to his word and they enjoyed a free day out at the semi-final. Hull’s subsequent victory over Sheffield United providing the icing on the cake.
Mr Aitchison, also of Hull, said: “Everything seemed like a blur in the build-up we got a bit of a rush when we got in to Wembley. It was pretty good being sat with him, looking around and taking it all in.”
While many of the 25,000-plus expected to make the journey to London would no doubt profess to be Hull’s biggest fans, few can boast as deep a connection with the club as Mr Pearson. It was Hull City which brought together the former rail worker and wife Sylvia, aged 82. He came to her rescue when she was stranded at Sheffield Wednesday’s ground when her Hull supporters’ coach left without her following the away tie with the Owls.
Their love of the club has filtered down through daughter Christine and to her son Mr Aitchison, who will be by Mr Pearson’s side at the big game praying for a repeat of the semi-final win. He said: “Football is in my family. We’re all Hull fans –except my dad who supports Liverpool for some reason. I was a ball boy when I was younger.
“My grandad says it will be 2-1 but I’m probably a little bit more pessimistic.”
Mr Aitchison’s mother and grandmother will be watching the game at home. His brother Phil, 29, is said to be ‘gutted’ he cannot make it owing to work commitments.
Mr Aitchison said: “It’s going to be dead in Hull. If you want to go shopping and avoid the queues, I’d say today is the day to do it.”