Top 10 FA Cup Finals


The 10 Greatest FA Cup Finals

Our top 10 favourite Cup Finals of all time...

No.1 1953 Blackpool 4 Bolton 3 Jumpers for goalposts, marvellous. It's easy to be cynical, in these cynical times, about the `olden days' but this was a crucial milestone in our footballing heritage. It's remembered of course as the Matthews final and rightly so, as the `Wizard of Dribble' tormented the Bolton defenders from the right wing. Matthews, then a callow youth of 38, conjured the crucial chances which were converted by the prolific Stan Mortensen. 3-1 down with only 22 minutes to go Blackpool's legendary comeback at the Empire Stadium gets our number 1 spot. All that was missing was a white horse. No.2 2006 Liverpool 3 West Ham 3 (Liverpool won on penalties) The best cup final since, well, see what's at number 1. A genuinely top class game that really was the first properly watchable final since Man Utd v Palace in 1990. It was refreshing because, for once, the underdog took the game to their superiors, unlike Millwall and Southampton in other Cardiff finals. The Hammers, led up front by a hastily patched up Dean Ashton, took the lead through a Carragher own goal and eventually led 3-2 going into injury time. However, a shattered Steven Gerrard summoned up a moment of magic with a rasping 30 yard drive into Shaka Hislop's net. Liverpool proved their knack of winning cup final shoot outs with a 3-1 victory, Zamora, Konchesky and Ferdinand being the fall guys for West Ham. If this was to be the last Cardiff final, it was fitting that the Millennium Stadium finally got the match its surroundings deserved. No.3 1981 Tottenham 3 Manchester City 2 (after 1-1 draw) A high quality replay, the first since 1970, saw Tottenham triumphant. The match was particularly memorable for one marvellous goal and another that was even better. Steve MacKenzie scored with a terrific volley to give City the lead, but few remember that when compared with the winning goal. It was scored by the bearded Argentinian, Ricky Villa, after a majestic run through the heart of the City defence. It was a goal good enough to win a general election, let alone a football match. They might have sung about Ossie's knees going all `trembly' (rhymes with Wembley, geddit?) but it was his compatriot who reduced City to jelly. No.4 1970 Chelsea 2 Leeds 1 (after 2-2 draw) Not so much a football match as a mass brawl. Only this time instead of a pub car park, 22 of our finest footballers saw fit to take lumps out of each other on the cup final pitch. The game took place at Old Trafford after a 2-2 draw at Wembley, amazingly the first Wembley final to go to a replay. Amidst a fractious atmosphere two teams that genuinely loathed each other battered each other into virtual submission before the winning goal by David Webb. In the late 1990s Sky got David Elleray to `ref' the match on video and concluded that he would have sent off six and booked every other player bar the Leeds keeper using today's interpretation of the laws. Those were the days! No.5 1973 Sunderland 1 Leeds 0 Back in the days when the Cup Final was the king of the sporting calendar came the sort of game to remind us all of the power of this simple game. We all know the script by now... Sunderland had fallen on hard times and were in Division 2. They were total underdogs against cup holders Leeds, a side that dominated the English game, but one that had developed a tendency to choke in big games. So it proved at a damp, claustrophobic Wembley. Porterfield scored the only goal and as Sunderland doggedly defended their lead Jim Montgomery produced arguably the greatest (double) save of cup history. At the final whistle Bob Stokoe set the template for the managerial on field dash, wearing magnificently crimson trousers while holding onto his pork pie hat. No.6 1966 Everton 3 Sheffield Wednesday 2 An oft forgotten classic that had it all. 5 goals, a marvellous fightback from Everton after being 2-0 down and possibly the first televised pitch invasion that has stood the test of time in terms of its comedy. A balding, bladdered Evertonian (in a suit!) sashayed onto the pitch before bobbing and weaving past an assortment of players, officials and coppers in a way which Wembley hadn't seen since Sir Stan in '53. Mike Trebilcock was the other on pitch hero with 2 goals as the teams produced a cracker that would surely live longer in the memory if it weren't for other events later that summer on the same pitch. No.7 1983 Manchester Utd 2 Brighton 2 "And Smith must score!" Well, actually, erm, no. The famous radio commentary hadn't reckoned with Gary Bailey's formidable presence in the United goal, preventing Scot Gordon Smith from securing a highly unlikely Cup victory. Brighton had been relegated but their season was illuminated by a 5th round victory at Anfield and the reflection off Jimmy Melia's white shoes. Despite the loss of iconic captain Steve Foster, they fought heroically against far superior opponents. When Foster returned for the replay they lost. 4-0. No.8 1987 Coventry 3 Tottenham
The year of the Snozz. John `Snozz' Sillett to be precise. He presided over a journeymen team of has-beens and never-will-be's to overcome the city-slicking, namby pamby London outfit. Sounds too clich├ęd to be true, and it is. This was a good City team beating a better Spurs through tactical discipline and strength of will. And Keith Houchen. His diving header is one of the defining images of 1980s football. It was memorable for me personally as I was the school bookie and everyone, including the school bullies, were backing Tottenham with their hard earned dinner money. Thanks Snozz. No.9 1903 Bury 6 Derby County 0 We just love the idea of a cup final between Bury and Derby County. It should be done more often. The fact that it ended 6-0 is almost incidental. These of course, were the days before television, radio and defending. The Bury captain infamously refused to lift the cup on the grounds that he found victory distasteful. Probably. No.10 1979 Arsenal 3 Manchester Utd 2 This game was memorable for its truly epic conclusion. Arsenal were coasting to victory with goals from Brian Talbot and Frank Stapleton when all hell broke loose in the last 5 minutes. United pegged the Gunners back to 2-2 with goals from McQueen and McIlroy. Arsenal produced one last heave and Alan Sunderland had the legs to put away Brady's injury time cross, despite having the most wind resistant hairdo on the pitch.