Page last updated at 09:21 GMT, Wednesday, 14 May 2008 10:21 UK

Son of 1927 hero backs Bluebirds

Ernie Curtis
Ernie Curtis was the youngest member of the 1927 cup-winning team

The son of the youngest member of Cardiff City's 1927 FA Cup-winning team believes the Bluebirds will lift the famous trophy on Saturday.

Ernie Curtis was aged just 19 years and 317 days when he helped Cardiff win the cup against Arsenal at Wembley.

And his son Peter, 62, has already enjoyed a slice of Wembley luck by winning tickets in a works draw.

"I'm going to be very excited and emotional and I think deep within my heart, we will win it," said Mr Curtis.

"I'm praying we win it because it would be a momentous tribute for the team now to emulate the team of 1927."

Mr Curtis, whose father was the last surviving member of the team when he died in 1992, will be at Wembley to cheer on the Bluebirds against Portsmouth.

He was struggling to get tickets for the big match but, possibly with his father smiling down upon him, he entered a draw at work at Kings Cross station in London and won tickets.

Peter was also at Wembley for the semi-final win over Barnsley, and he is expecting to feel just as emotional as he did on that day.

Peter Curtis
To get food, dad used to teach the Japanese officers to play football with a ball made out of paper
Peter Curtis
He said: "When I was walking up Wembley Way at the Barnsley match, it really brought everything flooding back.

"I was thinking of dad and all the players and how they must have felt.

"When I came away after the game, I'll be honest, I had tears in my eyes."

Ernie Curtis, from the Canton area of Cardiff, was an outside-right who was persuaded to join City from amateur side Cardiff Corinthians at the start of the 1927 season.

His career also took him to other Football League clubs including Birmingham City and Coventry City, and he was capped by Wales.

He was in the Royal Artillery during World War II but spent four years as a Japanese prisoner of war after his capture in 1941.

Mr Curtis said: "When he went he must have been about 12 or 13 stone, but when my mother met him at Cardiff station afterwards, she had to look twice because he was about five-and-a-half stone.

"To get food, dad used to teach the Japanese officers to play football with a ball made out of paper."

1927 FA Cup final
Cardiff captain Fred Keenor (right) prepares for kick off in the 1927 final
After the war, Mr Curtis said his father ran various pubs around Cardiff but was still involved with City as a trainer and scout.

"I used to go to the matches to help clean the boots and it was lovely to meet the likes of John Charles and Mel Charles," said Peter.

Top players may earn a fortune today, but that was not the case when Ernie Curtis was plying his trade.

Peter said: "My dad was upset about players' wages, not jealousy, but he was concerned they were motivated by money not the love of the game.

"I wouldn't say he hit on really bad times but he sold his medals and caps to make ends meet."

So with Portsmouth standing between Cardiff and a second FA Cup win, what advice would Peter have for City manager Dave Jones?

"All I want to say to Dave Jones is 'let's bring the cup back to Cardiff as a tribute to that team after 81 years'".



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