The Romance Of The Cup: The FA Cup Final’s Biggest Shocks
While it may have been overshadowed by the lucrative Champions League in recent times, the FA Cup remains the single most prestigious domestic cup competition in the whole of world football. With a unique heritage and history, it retains the elements of romance and unpredictability that first endeared it to fans at the end of the 19th century. There have been a huge number of heart-warming shocks and upsets in the 140 years since, some of which have even taken place in the final itself.
The final is a day which brings the UK to a standstill, and over the years has silenced some of the world’s biggest clubs. We take a look at the three biggest shocks in FA Cup Final history…
Wimbledon 1 Liverpool 0 (Wembley Stadium, 1988)
While Wimbledon’s robust and aggressive style caused controversy, the clubs rise to the pinnacle of the English game was nothing short of meteoric. This incredible journey, which began in the rustic surroundings of the amateur Southern league, reached an incredible peak in 1988 as the club reached its first (and to date only) FA Cup final. Faced against the might of an all-conquering Liverpool side, Wimbledon held firm under intense pressure before goalkeeper Dave Beasant saved a penalty from Reds’ forward John Aldridge. This turned the tide for the Dons, and midfielder Lawrie Sanchez sealed a famous win with a close range header 12 minutes from time.
Manchester City 0 Wigan Athletic 1 (Wembley Stadium, 2013)
While the defending league champions Manchester City had endured a difficult season, there was every expectation that the club would end with a trophy after the FA Cup final against struggling Wigan. Led by the charismatic and positive Roberto Martinez, the Latics were struggling in the relegation zone and were ultimately to lose their Premier League status just days after the final. That did not stop them springing a huge surprise at Wembley, however, as they dominated for large parts of the game and won deservedly with an 89th minute header from midfielder Ben Watson.
Everton 1 Manchester United 0 (Wembley Stadium, 1995)
While Everton shared Premier League status with their rivals, there was a huge gulf between the teams when they met in 1995. United had won the league and cup double in 1994, for example, and had only just missed out on recording a hat trick of EPL crowns to Blackburn Rovers. In contrast, the Toffees had only just avoided relegation on the final day of 1994, while they had also enjoyed a torrid start to the new season (although Joe Royle’s appointment enabled them to secure a 15ht place finish). This was forgotten in the final, where veteran forward Paul Rideout headed the only goal of the game to deliver what remains to this day Everton’s last major trophy.