FA Cup: Two friends, the cup and a journey to every round

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Muddy tackles, silky skills & a terrible own goal - Sunday's FA Cup best bits

Croydon to Newcastle, 10 games, more than 1,400 miles - meet the friends who have been to every round of the FA Cup this season.

So when Jack Dormer and Alex Rowe texted BBC Sport about their journey, there was only one question on everybody's minds: will they make the final?

The friends from London were at the goalless fourth-round draw between Newcastle United and Oxford United at St James' Park on Saturday - their 10th match of the competition so far.

"Not bad but a bit dull," Tottenham fan Jack, 25, told BBC Sport when asked how the game was.

The pair started their journey on 10 August at Mayfield Stadium, home of Croydon Athletic - who play in the Southern Counties East League Premier Division - where they watched a 1-0 victory over Virginia Water in the extra preliminary round of the FA Cup.

"It was completely random at the start. We picked Virginia Water out of a hat. The rule is, whoever wins that game, we go to the next one. They lost to Croydon so we went to their game next and so on," said Jack.

"We have almost no say in it," added Liverpool fan Alex, 24.

But what made them want to go to every game? "The magic of the cup is not dead," Alex said in one of his texts on the BBC live feed.

"It was something my dad [Jeff Dormer] did as a kid. We fantasised about doing it and it was a good opportunity to make a podcast as well," added Jack. "Luckily, Alex agreed to do it with me so we just went ahead."

Jack and Alex's journey in the FA Cup so far
Croydon Athletic 1-0 Virginia WaterHerne Bay 2-2 Croydon Athletic
Haringey Borough 3-0 Herne BayHaringey Borough 5-0 Staines Town
Haringey Borough 1-0 Cray WanderersHaringey Borough 0-3 Yeovil Town
Yeovil Town P-P Hartlepool United (they travelled) Exeter City 2-2 Hartlepool United
Oxford United 4-1 Hartlepool UnitedNewcastle United 0-0 Oxford United

Jack and Alex have not done it cheaply. They have travelled by public transport to every game so far, while staying in hotels and Airbnbs.

"It's absolutely killing us!" Alex joked when asked about the cost of the trips. "Jack doesn't drive and I passed my test in November so that has actually opened up a new option. Now we have the replay, Oxford might be a good place to drive to. My car is older than me so it probably wouldn't have made it up to Newcastle!

"But it's the journey that makes it - the big trips, the expensive trains and the Airbnbs are what makes it. When we look back in May and we are hopefully sat at Wembley having been to Croydon, Herne Bay and stadiums like that, it will feel like an achievement."

After we asked on the live text whether they had picked up tickets for the final, Alex replied: "No tickets to the final yet but the show must go on!"

"We have a few ideas on how to get them," said Jack, on their way back from Newcastle.

"We'll cross that bridge when we get to it," added Alex. "Our back-up plan is that we go back to where we started."

Only time will tell whether the pair make it to Wembley in May but as Alex says, it's about the journey. They have picked up souvenirs from each place they have visited, such as badges from Yeovil and a shirt from Haringey Borough, and the friends have even managed to get a photo with the FA Cup.

"We got lucky as it was at the preliminary round game," said Alex.

Hopefully they will see the winner lifting it on 23 May at Wembley.

Jack holding a scarf
Jack with a scarf they picked up at Haringey Borough
Alex with a shirt
Alex with a shirt at Haringey Borough

How you reacted to their story on #bbcfootball

Anonymous: After reading the journey of Jack and Alex I think I'd much rather they made the final than my own team. Someone make this happen!

Theo: Wow! Alex and Jack - what a journey. How far have you travelled in total?

Pardeep Jheeta: You gotta keep the magic alive with Jack and Alex! Get them to the final!

Fikret Hassan: Someone needs to sort #JackandAlex those FA Cup final tickets, incredible journey so far!

Chris Atkinson: I bet Jack & Alex weren't calling it magic when Newcastle came out of the hat! Good work lads, safe travels. Keep the magic alive.

Harry Birch: Would love to see Jack and his mate Alex go the whole way through the cup this year, have loved following it so far.

Anonymous: Get those boys into the final what a great idea and what tenacity.

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FA Cup: Newcastle United 0-0 Oxford United highlights

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