by Richard Bowdery.
Today the use of substitutes is an integral part football and the FA Cup is no exception. Yet it wasn’t all that long ago when if you weren’t in the team on Cup Final day, you would have no chance of playing in the end of season showpiece.
First ever substitute
That changed in the 1968 Final played on 18 May when West Bromwich Albion faced Everton at Wembley.
The only goal of the game was scored by West Brom’s Jeff Astle in the first period of extra time which forever etched him into Baggies folklore.
But the real history making event occurred when West Brom defender Dennis Clarke came on to replace the injured John Kaye. He was the first substitute to be used in an FA Cup Final.
And you have to go almost as far back to find the first substitute to score in a Final.
First scoring substitute
On a barmy day in May 1971 Arsenal lined up against Liverpool. A win would complete a dramatic double – League and FA Cup winners – for the Gunners, the first club to achieve it since Spurs a decade earlier.
Arsenal fell behind to a Steve Heighway opener for Liverpool in extra time. But parity was restored when Arsenal substitute, Eddie Kelly, steered a George Graham shot across the line in the 101st minute.
Charlie George fired the winner past a despairing Ray Clemence. George’s siesta after scoring will be forever remembered by the Gooners at Wembley and those watching the match on TV.
If you organise quiz competitions and are stuck for a decent footballing question, this information on Cup Final substitutes should provide the answer.
Until next time
This column is taking a well-deserved rest and will be back at the start of next season (although it may feature during the World Cup next month).
So, with apologies to the late, great Brian Moore, “Goodbye and thank you for reading.”
See you next season!