Yeah, I know. It’s really difficult to get worked up over the FA Cup Final this year, isn’t it? Ironic, really, because it should be the one we’ve all been waiting for years – the first major cup final at Wembley since 2000. However, Chelsea and Manchester United look upon the world’s oldest cup competition with such contempt that it’s starting to rub off on the rest of us. If Spurs hadn’t bottled their quarter-final against Chelsea or Blackburn hadn’t bottled the semi-final (when, to be honest, they had a great chance of winning), we’d have something to look forward to. As it is, though, we’ve got two teams in the final,neither of whom really want to be there (though I would offer this quick word of caution to any gloating Liverpool supporters – you’re absolutely, categorically, not one of the best two teams in Europe, regardless of what your tickets for Athens next Wednesday might say) and who will be going through the motions to a hitherto unseen extent. Of course, the high excitement on the day could be provided on the subject of whether Jose Mourinho will have to be wheeled up Empire Way, strapped to a gurney and with foam pouring from his mouth, having been nipped by his rabid Yorkshire terrier. We shall see. Meanwhile, though, I’m going to do what I always do when the present seems a bit too boring to deal with, and dive back into the past with five FA Cup Finals from the archives.
1. Chelsea vs Leeds United (1970 – Replay)
Now then. Here’s something great. The most-watched football match in the history of British television and, strangely, the first FA Cup final of the twentieth century to go to a replay. For reasons that I’m uncertain of, they played the replay at Old Trafford. Still, Leeds, as was their wont at this period in their history, bottled it. They went from having a great chance of the treble to winning nothing in the space of about three weeks. That might ring some bells Stamford Bridge, you know.
2. Coventry City vs Tottenham Hotspur (1987)
God. Spurs were SO certain that they were going to win the cup that year. Mind you, it was an absolutely cracking match – the best FA Cup final in years and years, at the time. Note the fact that only about six of the Spurs players have the sponsors’ names on their shirts. Apologies for the poor picture quality.
3. Liverpool vs West Ham United (2006)
4. Crystal Palace vs Manchester United (1990 – In Two Parts)
5. Arsenal vs Manchester United (1979)
Another great cup final. Three goals in the last five minutes, and Arsenal win their first major trophy in eight years. Note: FC United of Manchester will be wearing shirts exactly like those Manchester United shirts next season.