MATT Upson is still living the dream in the FA Cup – 12 years after his hopes were shattered by a broken leg.
Upson was injured for Arsenal in a tackle by Lee Carsley in a Premier League win at Everton, shortly after appearing as a substitute in their fourth round victory over Liverpool.
The Gunners went on to complete the double, beating Chelsea in the 2002 final at Cardiff. Upson played 22 games but missed out on the glorious run-in.
He said: “That whole season for me was really disappointing because it was quite a breakthrough year for me at Arsenal. I’d made ten, 12, 13 appearances on the bounce and I’d just forced my way in the team ahead of Martin Keown who at the time was a top player but coming more to the end of his career at Arsenal.
“It was bad timing really and very disappointing. I got sold a bit of a ball and I went to win it and my foot was planted and I just got smashed and broke my leg.”
That setback makes Upson appreciate even more what he has now – two wins from reaching Wembley with Albion, three away from the final. He said: “Everyone always tells you that when you are young, that you'll only appreciate it when you know it might be coming to an end. There’s an element of truth in that.”