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FA Cup: Gillingham's Barry Fuller on his moments to treasure from the world's most famous knockout competition

By Craig Tucker

Gillingham defender Barry Fuller is lucky enough to have played in the FA Cup at Wembley.

It may not have been the final, but he was part of the AFC Wimbledon side who lost 3-0 to Tottenham in last season’s third round.

Goalless at half-time, they were undone by a quickfire Harry Kane double and Jan Vertonghen’s clincher soon after.

Barry Fuller has lived the dream in the FA Cup Picture: Ady Kerry
Barry Fuller has lived the dream in the FA Cup Picture: Ady Kerry

Three years earlier, he was in the AFC Wimbledon team who welcomed Liverpool to Kingsmeadow in a repeat of the 1988 final.

That night, Steven Gerrard’s double sent Liverpool through to round four although the Dons dared to dream when former Gills man Adebayo Akinfenwa made it 1-1 during the first half.

Occasions like those are the reason Fuller still loves the FA Cup – and he’s desperate to help Gills go on a run this season.

He said: “They’re fantastic games. If you can get yourselves into the third round, everyone’s buzzing for who can draw one of the top four or five teams in the Premier League.

"If you draw one of them it’s a great day out for everyone.

"The Liverpool one was a big buzz. It was at home, it was amazing.

"We thought they’d come down and play a weakened team, then the team came out and you’ve got Coutinho, Gerrard and all that lot. In the tunnel when you see them in there you get that little buzz.

"To be fair we were really unlucky. Gerrard was on show and he scored both of them.

"We thought we were going for a replay at Anfield but the buzz, that is great in the FA Cup and it draws a lot of attention to your club.

"If we can do that here that would be fantastic.

Barry Fuller, left, has tasted the FA Cup big time while playing for AFC Wimbledon. He now wants to do the same for Gills Picture: Ady Kerry
Barry Fuller, left, has tasted the FA Cup big time while playing for AFC Wimbledon. He now wants to do the same for Gills Picture: Ady Kerry

“We played Tottenham last year as well, at Wembley, so the last two or three years I’ve had some nice little draws in the cup.

“We defended fantastically in the first half. They’re so good at keeping the ball. We lost 3-0 but they scored three in seven minutes, I think, which killed the game off.

“It was still a fantastic day to walk out at Wembley and play against a top Premier League club. It’s something you dream of, really.”

Fuller hasn’t discussed his FA Cup record with his Gillingham team-mates but is more than willing to if it inspires them to go on a run.

He said: “I don’t really talk about it with the lads. They haven’t asked me yet but obviously I’m a lot older than some of them so I’ve probably had a few more experiences of ups and downs in the FA Cup.

“If they ask me I’ll tell them."

Fuller is wary of Saturday’s first-round opponents, Hartlepool, who are ninth in the National League.

He said: “I want to be in the hat and all the boys do so we’re going to go out on Saturday raring to go. We know we’ve got to roll our sleeves up because it won’t be an easy game.

“Everyone knows there’s upsets and we’ve got to make sure we’re not one of ones people are talking about, that there’s been an upset at Priestfield.

“I’m pretty sure if we turn up, we can get the job done.”

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