Semi-final spot would give Tigers men place in history

Cardiff City's Fraizer Campbell (front) and Hull City Tigers' James Chester
Cardiff City's Fraizer Campbell (front) and Hull City Tigers' James Chester
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THE FA Cup may have the richest of heritages and, even in these days of Champions League domination, be enough to stir the emotions of football romantics everywhere.

But even the most ardent of Hull City fans will admit that their own club has contributed little to the magic of the world’s oldest knockout competition with just one semi-final appearance to their name since first playing in the Cup way back in 1905.

In contrast, the other seven teams competing in this weekend’s quarter-final ties boast no less than 27 Cup wins between them and 52 appearances in the final.

All seven have lifted the famous old trophy since Hull made that solitary appearance in the last four, 84 years ago.

That 1929-30 season was a bitter-sweet one for the Tigers, who enjoyed a thrilling run to the semi-final and were then two goals ahead against Arsenal with half-an-hour to play at Elland Road.

A first trip to Wembley beckoned, only for the Gunners to hit back and earn a replay, which Hull lost 1-0 at Villa Park. Just 38 days later, that sense of dejection had given way to desolation as the Tigers were then relegated from Division Two on goal average.

Three years later, Hull were back in the second tier. It would be almost two decades, however, before the East Riding next witnessed a Cup run to rival that of 1930.

As a member of Division Three (North), Hull began in the first round with a 3-1 home win over Accrington Stanley. Further victories followed over Reading, Blackburn Rovers, Grimsby Town and Stoke City to leave Raich Carter, a Cup winner with Sunderland (1937) and Derby County (1946), chasing an unlikely hat-trick.

Holders Manchester United stood between the Tigers and a place in the last four, the prospect of which drew a record crowd of 55,019 to Boothferry Park. The 1948-49 run was, however, to end in disappointment as Matt Busby’s holders triumphed 1-0 thanks to Charlie Mitten’s goal.

Boothferry Park also witnessed a quarter-final defeat for Hull in 1966, as a Chelsea side featuring Terry Venables, Peter Osgood and Ron Harris triumphed 3-1 in a replay.

Five years later, Hull battled through to the last eight for only the fourth time in their history but, again, a home tie ended in defeat as Stoke City hit back from two goals down in front of 41,452 expectant fans to reach the semi-finals.

Adding to the sense of frustration was the winner having come in controversial circumstances, as a wrongly-awarded throw-in allowed the Potters to launch an attack that ended with John Ritchie netting an 81st-minute winner.

Controversy also abounded when Hull reached the quarter-finals in 2008-09 – the club’s first in the Premier League – when victories over Newcastle United, Sheffield United and Millwall earned Phil Brown’s men a trip to the Emirates.

Hull had won in North London just six months earlier and took the lead through Nick Barmby.

Robin van Persie equalised 16 minutes from time before William Gallas, clearly offside, sent the Yorkshire side crashing out with a close-range winner.