Peterborough United players will regret it for the rest of their careers if they fail to land an FA Cup third round tie against Premier League leaders Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
That’s the view of former Posh full-back Adam Drury who was in the last team to play against the London giants at the same stage of the FA Cup in January, 2001.
Posh were muddling along in League One in those days and they were greeted by a pretty much full strength Chelsea side including Gianfranco Zola, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, John Terry, Marcel Desially and Gus Poyet.
Predictably it finished 5-0 to Chelsea, but Zola still gave Drury one of his most memorable moments.
“We were tonked good and proper,” Drury recalled. “The FA Cup was probably taken a bit more seriously by the top clubs in those days and they put out a top-class side.
“For reasons I don’t recall I was playing at centre-back (Adam is among the best left-backs to have ever played for Posh) so I ended up marking Zola for a lot of the game.
“I don’t think I got too near him for 90 minutes, but at the end of the match he turned round and congratulated me on how I had played. He was probably just being kind, but I took the opportunity to ask him for his shirt and he said yes.
“Anyway by the time the team had applauded our fans and I had left the pitch Zola had gone so I assumed his shirt wasn’t coming my way.
“But I’d just showered and changed and he walked into our dressing room to present it to me.
“He didn’t have to do that, but I suppose it proved the class of the man. I haven’t forgotten the gesture and I still have the shirt.
“The match itself passed by in a blur, but you dream of third round FA Cup draws away to big clubs and the build-up to the game was exciting.
“We drew our second round tie at home to Oldham so we went up there knowing a win would give us our dream tie. Thankfully Mark Tyler had an incredible game in goal and we won 1-0.
“These ties don’t come along very often so you have to grab the opportunity when it’s there. It would take some getting over if you don’t. The chance might not come around again.
“If Posh do get to go to Stamford Bridge I’d advise the players to savour the day. Bradford City even showed it’s possible to win there.
“It’s unlikely, but there would be nothing to lose and you never know in the FA Cup!”
Drury (38) graduated from the Posh Academy and played 176 times for the senior side before moving to Norwich City for £500k two months after the Chelsea defeat.
He served the Canaries with distinction, skippering them in the Premiership, while amassing 361 appearances in a decade at Carrow Road.
After brief spells at Leeds United and Bradford, Drury finished his career in 2014. He is now enjoying his work as a coach for Norwich City Academy.
POSH also played an FA Cup quarter-final at Stamford Bridge in 1965, the season they famously knocked First Division Arsenal out in the fourth round at London Road.
The Gunners are still the only top-flight club Posh have beaten in an FA Cup tie.
Third Division Posh lost 5-1 after Vic Crowe suffered an early injury in the days before substitutes were allowed. Crowe, who was a limping passenger on the wing, scored a consolation goal.
Over 63,000 watched that game. It remains the only time Posh have reached the last eight of the FA Cup.