Dave Mitten talks about his uncle Charlie as well as a good friend and opposition physio come Saturday.
In 1948 Kit Manager Dave Mitten’s family FA Cup story began when his uncle Charlie Mitten was part of Manchester United’s winning side against Blackpool in a 4-2 victory.
Little would be known that 65 years on another member of the Mitten family would be walking into Wembley as a member of staff of another cup final team.
“I’ve got a lot of stories from the FA Cup from my uncle,” said Mitten (pictured celebrating at this year's semi-final).
“He showed me his medal, it wasn’t as big as the medals are now, it was probably the size of a 50 pence piece but it was impressive because of the history it holds.”
Another of the tales passed down involved Blackpool and Stoke City legend Sir Stanley Matthews.
“My uncle said that he and Stanley Matthews were taunting each other about what each other had done in football.
“Uncle Charlie just said ‘You’ve not got an FA Cup winners medal yet though have you?’
“Of course Matthews went on to win one but it’s just one of those little things that you remember being told.”
“They were good mates because they played opposite each other on the pitch with my uncle Charlie playing outside left and Stan Matthews playing outside right so it was a good bit of banter between them.”
Saturday could also see Mitten opposite a good friend Paul Kelly who will be in the Manchester City dugout, with both men coming from the humble beginnings of a semi-professional team in Manchester.
“Paul was there when I first started off in football at Flixton FC.
“He played for City and he was a bit of a boy wonder there but he got a knee injury and couldn’t play again, so turned to the physio side.
“We had some great laughs together in semi-professional football but he moved on from there, after studying at Hope Hospital he got a job at Blackpool.
“It’s unbelievable how things work out when I think about where we started from and having crossed paths professionally when there’s a Premier League game.
“It’s a story that probably doesn’t happen too often.”
Of course the man in charge of making sure Latics look the business has been at Wembley before for the semi-final, from which he said:
“It was surreal working at Wembley because as a kitman I go to all of the stadiums in the Premier League, but to be doing it in the national stadium is something else.
“At the time I treated it as any other game because I was there to work.
“The changing rooms are fantastic, the facilities there are just a different class.
“To walk out of the tunnel with the other members of staff and onto the Wembley turf was unbelievable, it’s just something you can’t buy.”
An adopted Latics man who arrived at the same time as Roberto Martinez four years ago, Mitten says he has seen how much the FA Cup means to everyone involved.
“Sometimes I just get this little feeling that this is our year and if we could win the FA Cup and then stay in the Premier League it would just be another great part of the club’s story.
“I hear supporters’ passion when you’re sat in the dugout and see what it means to the players and the staff of the club, most of which are from Wigan and love the club.
“My other two kitmen Stuart Ward and Matty Daniels are big Latics fans so for the club they work for to be in the FA Cup final means the world to them.”
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