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When Life & Football Collide

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What happens when something 88 years in the making meets something 29 years in the waiting? Wimb looks at when football and life just don't match up.

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If you've listened to a Tilehurst End Podcast recently or followed the Twitter account (both of which I of course wholly suggest you do...) you'll have no doubt have heard me moan and lament a fixture clash that would have any football fan cringing.

It's something that I first noticed way back in June when the fixtures were released, but at the time the thought of missing a trip to Rotherham seemed a bonus rather than a stroke of misfortune.

Fate had other plans. While nearly 33,000 Reading fans will be heading down the M4 to watch us take part in our first FA Cup Semi-Final since 1927, I'll be in North Hampshire exchanging vows with my wonderful fiancée in front of around 100 family and friends. Since the day that the television companies confirmed their selections, I've had to slowly accept the fact that I won't be in a sea of blue of white and that I could potentially miss my only chance to see Reading grace the Wembley turf in the final four of the world's greatest cup competition.

Much like anyone who's had to face up to bad news, I've been through the five classic stages of loss and grief.

Denial and Isolation

This can't be happening can it? Maybe if I don't look at my Twitter feed full of fans queuing for tickets, making travel arrangements and discussing drinking plans something unexpected will happen and I'll be going.

Anger

Those absolute f**kers at the BBC, why have they done this? It makes FAR MORE SENSE for two northern sides to play on the Saturday, why won't they think of the fans?!

Bargaining

Wait... We get married at 2.30 and kick-off is at 5.20... Could I still make it? How much is it to hire a helicopter these days?

Depression

I'm not going am I? I've watched Reading since a miserable 3-1 home defeat to Oldham in the FA Cup 20 years ago and yet now I'm not seeing the biggest cup game in nearly a century.

Acceptance

I'm fine, I'm going to have an awesome wedding celebrating with my family and friends and if we lose I'll have missed a defeat and if we win I get to go to the final = win/win.

That last point is the only one that matters, because honestly I don't have too much to complain about. I get to marry the woman of my dreams in front of those that mean the most to me on what will hopefully be one of the best days of my life. Even so, I'd be lying if I said there wasn't a tinge of sadness at not being with my other 'family' at Wembley on Saturday.

So to help me through the next few days I'd love to hear your own tales of when football and life have conspired to force you into a tough decision. What games have you had to miss, or what special days have had to come second to a key clash? Let us know in the comments section below.