Special feature
Dutch journalist's Ricoh visit on Road to Wembley

By Steve Carpenter Thursday 29 November 2012 Updated: 30/11 10:42

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Patrick van Ijzendoorn will be in Coventry for the FA Cup second round on Saturday (s)

THE SECOND round of the FA Cup does not usually attract much international interest.

But this Saturday's clash between the Sky Blues and Morecambe will fall under the spotlight of one Dutch journalist.

Patrick van Ijzendoorn is on a special mission to report on every round of the FA Cup for de Volkskrant, the Dutch equivalent of The Times.

The 41-year-old is used to reporting on national Premier League superstars like Robin Van Persie and Dennis Bergkamp.

But he wanted to learn more about the English game so embarked on a journey which began with his decision to follow Dulwich Hamlet back in September.

"I wanted to know more about what's going on at the lower levels of the football pyramid, especially non-league teams," Patrick told the Observer.

"Doing a Road to Wembley seemed the best way of doing this and of course the FA Cup is the most famous knock-out competition in the world."

Patrick followed Dulwich for two rounds until they lost to Arlesey Town who he followed for a further three rounds which brought him to the Ricoh to play Coventry in the first round proper last month.

And this weekend he returns when they host Morecombe in the second round.

"I had never been to Coventry, so I decided to visit the famous cathedral first, which turned out to be good idea. It was beautiful.

"I spoke to a couple of fans, mainly about the glory days in 1987 and the stadium itself is nice but I can imagine that Highfield Road had more atmosphere.

"After the game against Arlesey I had half a pint with Dave Bennett at the Legends Bar. I remembered him of course from that final, in which he was the man of the match. He was very friendly and kind.

"The same counts of Micky Gynn whom I spoke to in the press box. He told me about the wonderful team spirit of the 1987."

Patrick has meet lots of colourful characters along the way, including a 90-year-old war veteran in Dulwich who helped liberate Holland in 1945.

"It was the first time I had met someone like that. He still spoke some Dutch and was an amazing man.

"The physio of Arlesey turned out to be on old acquaintance of mine, whom I met in 1988 in Flitwick.

"At Didcot I had a chat with a Tory MP and one of the architects of the coalition agreement, Ed Vaizey. And the manager of Didcot was a member of Wimbledon's Crazy Gang so he had some good stories.

"I've met a whole variety of people and they all appeared in my series."

Who knows what the third round of the competition could hold for Patrick, but he has an idea of where he would like to visit before his journey ends.

He added: "It would be nice to return to south east London in one of the rounds so Charlton, Millwall or Crystal Palace are high on my list.

"When Coventry beat Morecambe, an away game to Leicester would be nice, so I can cover a derby as well!"

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