FA Cup Final memories: GMF remembers

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GMF Editor Dave Smith says...

I’ve still got vivid memories of the first FA Cup Final I watched on colour. It was Chelsea v Leeds in 1970. Two bitter rivals; two great teams – one shocking pitch!

The Wembley surface was what can only be described as a ‘shocker’; virtually grassless and covered in sand as a result of the Horse of the Year show being held there the week before.

But, despite the dodgy pitch, the football served up was of the highest order, although Gary Sprake didn’t like being reminded of the Peter Houseman shot that squirmed under his body.

The game ended 2-2 and Chelsea went on to win the replay at Old Trafford 2-1, thanks to David Webb’s towering header, with a little bit of help from a Leeds defender.

Probably the thing I remember most about the first game at Wembley was the physical nature of the match; tackles flew in from all angles and it was amazing most emerged unscathed.

In recent times the game was watched and assessed by current officials who reckoned that had the match taken place today, there would only have been about seven players left on the pitch. Brutal, but brilliant.

GMF Writer Mark Shail says...

The first FA Cup final I attended was the 1985 showpiece between Everton and Manchester United at Wembley.

The game made history for two different reasons as, firstly, United defender Kevin Moran became the first player to be sent off in a final after a foul on a clean-through Peter Reid in the second half.

But United were not be denied and in extra-time Norman Whiteside scored with a brilliant curling left-foot shot that evaded Everton’s outstanding goalkeeper Neville Southall.

That win denied Everton a league, Cup Winners’ Cup and FA Cup treble as United became the first FA Cup-winning team that consisted of a starting X1 that were all capped at international level.

The United line-up was as follows. Gary Bailey, John Gidman, Arthur Albiston, Paul McGrath, Kevin Moran, Bryan Robson, Gordon Strachan, Norman Whiteside, Jesper Olsen, Frank Stapleton and Mark Hughes.


GMF writer Lawre Madden says...

The Manchester United-Southampton final in 1976. Not too dissimilar to this weekend where you have a favourite and an underdog. It appeared a foregone conclusion but football is not a foregone conclusion so who would bet against Stoke this weekend?

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