Video of the Day: The 1954 FA Cup Final
It’s the FA Cup final this weekend, so this week’s videos will be peering back into the past for some complete FA Cup finals from days gone by. The previous season to this had brought arguably the competition’s greatest final and story of all, when a last minute winner snatched the cup for Blackpool and a first cup winners medal for Stanley Matthews at the age of thirty-eight. The Seasiders were unable to hold onto their trophy. After taking three replays to get past Luton Town in the Third Round and beating West Ham United in the Fourth Round, they were beaten by Third Division North side Port Vale in the last sixteen. Vale went on to narrowly lose the semi-final to West Bromwich Albion at Villa Park, in front of a crowd of more than 68,000 people.
It had been a season of might have beens for West Bromwich Albion, who had already finished their league season as runners-up to local rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers and started the Cup Final as hot favourites to defeat their opponents, Preston North End. Preston had beaten Derby County, Lincoln City, Ipswich Town, Leicester City and Sheffield Wednesday – the only top flight team they met en route to Wembley, but had only finished the season in eleventh place in the league, despite the presence of Tom Finney in their team. Finney, who later admitted that he wasn’t fully fit for the final, never won a major trophy throughout his playing career, and he never came quite as close as he did in this match. Preston’s team would also feature Tommy Docherty, who would go on to manage Manchester United from 1972 to 1977 A late winning goal from Frank Griffin won the match for Albion, at the end of their greatest ever season. Commentary for this match comes, of course, from the late Kenneth Wolstenholme.