Tomorrow sees Manchester United and Crystal Palace meet in the 135th FA Cup final. It’s a repeat of 1990’s final when the two sides gave us a memorable afternoon’s football. Let’s hope they can do the same again.
In the meantime, we look at five finals which gave birth to iconic football shirts.
1953 Blackpool 4 – 3 Bolton Wanderers
It was an amazing final with Nat Lofthouse gave Bolton the lead after 75 as he completed the feat of scoring in every round. Stan Mortensen equalised but goals from Moir and Bell put The Trotters into what seemed an unassailable lead with just over half-an-hour remaining.
Step forward Matthews. His irrepressible dribbling turned Bolton inside out, creating Mortensen and Blackpool’s second and Perry’s late winner. It was the final which had everything: Matthews only club honour and Mortensen scoring the only hat-trick in a Wembley FA Cup final.
1971 Arsenal 2 – 1 Liverpool
Five days earlier, Arsenal had been crowned champions at White Hart Lane. Now, ten years after Tottenham had claimed the double, Arsenal were looking to do the same at Wembley.
It was a scorchingly hot May afternoon and the two sides couldn’t be separated during ninety minutes. Two minutes into extra-time Steve Heighway gave Liverpool the lead before Eddie Kelly’s shot bobbled across the hallowed turf into the net.
But the double would be sealed with Charlie George’s ferocious twenty-yard drive. Shattered, the Arsenal striker slumped to the turf in one of the cup final’s iconic moments and Arsenal fans began their love affair with yellow and blue away shirts.
1973 Sunderland 1 – 0 Leeds United
Sunderland weren’t given a cat in hell’s chance against Don Revie’s all-conquering Leeds side. Since winning the title in 1963-64, they hadn’t finished outside of the top four having been champions once and runners-up five times. They had won the FA and League Cups as well as the Fairs Cup.
Yet the Black Cats weren’t over-awed. Leeds dominated possession but couldn’t make their pressure tell and after half-an-hour were made to pay when Ian Porterfield scored the game’s only goal.
The cup was won when, halfway through the second half, Jim Montgomery made one of the greatest saves in English football history. Lorimer and Leeds couldn’t believe it; nor could the watching world.
At the full-time whistle, Bob Stokoe, Sunderland’s manager, sprinted across the turf with his raincoat flapping in the wind, to celebrate one of the FA Cup’s greatest shocks.
1999 Manchester United 2 – 0 Newcastle United
Newcastle were returning to Wembley having been over-run by Arsenal in the previous year’s final. They fared little better this time around with United controlling the game, winning through goals in each half from Teddy Sheringham and Paul Scholes.
The Magpies created their own history that day in becoming the only side to lose cup finals in consecutive seasons to teams completing the League and FA Cup double.
2000 Chelsea 1 – 0 Aston Villa
The last final to be held at the old Wembley Stadium was one to forget for the most part. Certainly David James will have forgotten about the game, with his mistake punished by Roberto Di Matteo for the only goal.
For Chelsea, it was their second FA Cup triumph in four seasons and their fourth cup in that time having won the Cup Winners Cup and European Super Cup two seasons earlier. Aston Villa wore claret and blue stripes but the victors had a lion print on their blue shirts, showing the greater pride of the two teams to claim victory.