It was the FA Cup final this past Saturday in its’ 134th year since it was first won way back in 1871 by Wanderers Football Club with a 1-0 win over the Royal Engineers. That match was played at the Kennington Oval and there were just 2,000 people in attendance.
Last year’s FA Cup final was witnessed by 89,345 fans at Wembley Stadium, London and was won by this year’s finalists Arsenal who finally defeated the gallant Hull City 3-2 after extra time and they were hot favourites to make it back to back Cup’s as they face Aston Villa in this year’s showpiece final.
This year the BBC brought back their traditional all day television coverage on FA Cup final day, just like the old days when this match was a proper event! It used to be a really big day but it’s profile has been diminished somewhat so I thought I’d take a look back through the FA Cup archives and list a few of my most memorable FA Cup moments..
Ian Porterfield’s goal , Sunderland v Leeds 1973
As a long suffering Leeds United fan, let’s get this one out of the way first. I was only knee high to a grasshopper when this Cup final took place, but I have seen that Ian Porterfield’s goal countless times which gave second division Sunderland a shock 1-0 win over the then mighty Leeds who were riding high in the top division of English football and also the kings of Europe.
Alan Sunderland goal for Arsenal in 1979
I was only 8 years old but I can distinctly remember the curly afro headed Alan Sunderland celebrating his goal like a mad man. Manchester United had just equalised at 2-2 but the soccer genius that was Liam Brady and Graham Rix combined straight from the kick off to set up Alan Sunderland to knock it in at the far post for a classic FA Cup moment.
Ian Rush scores a brace for Liverpool v Everton, 1986
In 1986 the FA Cup final was a Merseyside derby match which Liverpool won 3-1. Liverpool were the newly crowned League champions and Everton had finished in 2nd. Gary Lineker put Everton in front but a goal from Craig Johnston followed by two great finishes from Ian Rush secured the double for The Reds.
Dave Beasant saves penalty as Wimbledon beat Liverpool, 1988
Who could forget the “crazy gang” in 1988? The now defunct Wimbledon FC who incredibly rose up from non-league football into to the old first division and faced Liverpool in the final as massive underdogs. A Lawrie Sanchez goal and Dave Beasant’s fantastic save of John Aldridge’s penalty, the first penalty save in a Cup final, gave Vinny Jones and his cohorts and unlikely win and denied Liverpool another double.
Sutton United knock out Coventry City in 1989
Although not a Cup Final, this match sticks in the brain as it was one of the biggest and most famous giant killing acts in the history of the FA Cup. Sutton United were a non-league team with part time footballers and yet somehow managed to beat a professional team from the top tier of English football. Sutton won the 3rd round tie 2-1 with the winning goal coming from Matthew Hanlan.
Arsenal beat Manchester United on penalties, 2005
The two most successful teams of the FA Cup, Arsenal and Manchester United met in the 2005 final. They are the joint record holders with both teams lifting the trophy eleven times in total but Arsenal have the chance to surpass Man Utd if they can beat Aston Villa on Saturday. They won this one 5-4 in a penalty shoot out despite United dominating the game with Jens Lehmann making the crucial save from Paul Scholes.
Ricky Villa goal for Spurs vs Manchester City, 1981
Ah these were the days. What a winning goal that was from the skilful Argentinean Ricky Villa who, along with his compatriot Ossie “Tottingham” Ardilles were snapped up by the Spurs manager Keith Burkinshaw and have now both been inducted into the Tottenham Hotspur Hall of Fame. This goal came in extra time of the replay and won Ricky Villa the Wembley goal of the century award in 2001.
Roberto Di Matteo scores after 42 seconds, 1997
It took Chelsea just 42 seconds to take the lead in the 1997 final against Middlesbrough when midfielder Roberto Di Matteo fired a 25 yard shot in off the crossbar. This was then the quickest ever goal in an FA Cup final until Louis Saha broke the record 12 years later in 2009 when he scored after just 25 seconds for Everton, coincidentally against Chelsea.
Ian Wright double vs Manchester United, 1990
Legendary Arsenal striker Ian Wright came on as a substitute and scored two goals for Crystal Palace in their 3-3 draw after extra time in the 1990 FA Cup final. He had not long recovered from an injury and made a dramatic appearance from the subs bench where he equalized for Palace just a few minutes after coming on, and then put them in front in extra time before Mark Hughes made it 3-3.
Palace eventually lost the replay 1-0 but Wright went on to play for England and reached a hundred goals for Crystal Palace before moving to Arsenal.
Alan Clarke winning goal for Leeds v Arsenal, 1972
I’ve saved the best until last. The only time my team, Leeds United, won the FA Cup I was barely alive, but we have been runners-up three times but they were also a very long time ago. 1972 was the Centenary final and was the year Alan Clarke nodded in a long range header into the corner of the net to beat Arsenal 1-0. Hopefully one day in the not too distant future I hope Leeds Utd will get to another final.