Posts Tagged ‘FA Cup’

Lock, Stock and Three Smoking Seconds!
Vinnie sets fastest card record!

Chelsea’s Vinnie Jones sets a new footballing record

by Richard DJJ Bowdery.


Vincent in his Chelsea days

Vinnie Jones, the former ‘hard man’ of English football, has featured in a few ‘infamous’ moments during his footballing career – a certain Mr. Gascoigne and the Football Association, to name but two, can vouch for that. But one of those moments has entered the record books and will probably never be beaten for as long as the beautiful game is played.

It was 21 March 1992. Chelsea, whose side included Jones the ex-Crazy Gang cheerleader, were playing an FA Cup tie at Stamford Bridge against Sheffield United.

The referee had just signaled the start of the game and removed the whistle from his lips when Vinnie Jones had announced his presence by introducing himself to United’s Dane Whitehouse. The referee’s whistle was hurriedly called back into action. Out came the notebook and in went the name of Vinnie Jones: a mere three seconds into the match. That has to be one of the quickest records to rival any other collated by football’s statisticians who record these things.

In his book, ‘Vinnie: The Autobiography – Confessions of a Bad Boy?’ he recalled the incident. He wrote: “I must have been too high, too wild, too strong or too early, because, after three seconds, I could hardly have been too bloody late!” Indeed Vinnie.

A year earlier Vinnie, then a Sheffield United player, managed to get himself booked after 5 seconds against Manchester City at Maine Road – so this was shaving two seconds of his personal best!

As for the game, Whitehouse and company got their revenge by knocking the Blues out of the Cup, winning the game by two goals to one.

As for Vinnie, the incident added another layer to the mystique that was gathering momentum and would one day propel him onto the silver screen.

For now, however, he was just another name on the team sheet, with his steely stare and wearing those boots into the footballing arena where – taking the words from a Nancy Sinatra song – his opponents would fear that “One of these days [his] boots are gonna walk all over you.”


Sportsmanship v Gamesmanship
Kanu Causes a Storm in his First Game in English Football

by Richard DJJ Bowdery.


Kanu’s first outing for Arsenal was a memorable one

When is a replay not a replay? When it’s the result of a sporting gesture. But before the gesture came controversy which gave TV’s football pundits a field day. And for fans in pubs and clubs across the country it was the number one topic of conversation.

It was 13 February 1999. Arsenal were hosting Sheffield United in the FA Cup fifth round. The game was one apiece when a United player went down injured. Goalkeeper Alan Kelly kicked the ball out of play so his teammate could receive attention.

Ray Parlour took the resulting throw-in aiming the ball towards an opposing player, as is customary in these situations. However, Arsenal’s Kanu intercepted the throw, raced towards goal and squared the ball to Marc Overmars who scored the Gunner’s winner. Sheffield United’s players and bench were in uproar but to no avail. The referee, applying the letter of the law, gave the goal. It was legal but wasn’t in the spirit of the game.


Sheffield United’s players surround the referee after Kanu set up Overmars for Arsenal’s winner

Whatever the rights and wrongs, Arsenal ran out 2-1 winners and were heading towards the Cup quarter-finals.

In Kanu’s defence, it was his first game in English football. He was later reported as saying that he had ‘misunderstood’ the situation.

With the debate still raging, Arsène Wenger, to his credit, contacted Sheffield United manager Steve Bruce and offered to replay the game. His offer was gratefully accepted by the South Yorkshire side and, with no objection raised by the FA, the match was replayed at Highbury.

For Sheffield United the outcome was still the same. They lost by the same margin and their Cup run was over for a second time.

Did Wenger set a precedent for the rest of football? Perhaps. But as money exercises an ever tighter grip on our national sport, making it more cut-throat than ever, I wouldn’t bet on it!

Though, one thing can be said with certainty: his decision has gone down in FA Cup folklore.



Hereford Trump Bradford as the Greatest Cup Upset Ever
43 years since Radford’s Rocket

by Richard DJJ Bowdery.

Following Chelsea’s humbling at the hands of Bradford City last month, many on social media called it the biggest FA Cup shock ever.

But for my money – and without taking anything away from Bradford’s magnificent result – two other clubs have a better claim to that honour: Sutton United and Hereford United. Unlike Bradford who are a League One side, the third tier of English football, when the two United’s made the headlines, it was as Non-League clubs.


Sutton’s players celebrate a goal against top tier Coventry in 1989

In 1989 Conference side Sutton beat First Division Coventry City 2-1 in the third round. This coming only two years after Coventry had lifted the FA Cup following their dramatic 3-2 victory over Tottenham Hotspur. Now on a cold January afternoon in south-west London, they were made to eat humble pie by their lowly opponents.

Yet I believe a greater feat was achieved when Hereford beat Newcastle United in a third round replay.

The first game was drawn two apiece at St. James Park. The replay at Hereford’s Edgar Street stadium was postponed several times with the game finally going ahead on 5 February 1972, before a crowd of over 14,000.

Newcastle took the lead when Malcolm McDonald rose to head the Geordie side ahead with only 8 minutes left on the referee’s watch. It seemed Hereford’s valiant effort would come to naught; that was until Ronnie’s rocket.

Newcastle goalkeeper Willie McFaul's high dive cannot stop Ronnie Radford's stunning shot

Newcastle keeper Willie McFaul’s desperate dive is no match for Ronnie Radford’s stunning shot.

With three minutes remaining, Ronnie Radford played a one-two thirty yards from goal before launching a thunderbolt that left Newcastle’s keeper grasping at thin air. The underdogs had drawn level.

In the first period of extra-time substitute Ricky George, who had come on towards the end of normal time, picked up the ball deep into Newcastle’s half. With only one thing on his mind he took aim and fired Hereford into round four. Cue wild celebrations on the pitch.

In the fourth round they met West Ham United and again the game went to a replay. This time there was no fairy tale ending. West Ham won 3-1 with Geoff Hurst scoring a hat-trick. I guess if you’re going to lose when further glory beckons, then losing at the hands of a World Cup hero might soften the blow a little.

My reason for choosing Hereford’s exploits over Sutton’s is simple: their respective positions on the football pyramid. At the time of their heroics Hereford were plying their trade in the Southern League, the 7th tier of English football. Whereas, when Sutton beat Coventry they were playing in the Conference which is two leagues higher.

Before Hereford, the last time a non-league team knocked out a top-flight club was in 1949 when Yeovil beat Sunderland. And the next after Sutton United? Conference side Luton Town who, in 2013, knocked out Premier League side Norwich City in the fourth round, with the game’s only goal.

Yet despite the big money slushing around at the top of the pyramid, who’s to say another Non-League sides won’t humble a club from English footballs elite? As Jimmy Greaves used to say: “It’s a funny old game…”


Hatters Hit For Six by Law!
But it Counts for Nothing as City Still Go Out & He’s Robbed of Cup Record

by Richard DJJ Bowdery

Manchester City’s great form over recent seasons might have the purists drooling but none of Pellegrini’s players have managed to achieve what the Scottish Lawman did on January 28th 1961: one player, six goals.

The irony is that despite such a heroic effort City still lost the tie. Let me explain…


Law is credited with 42 FA Cup goals, but it could have been 47

Dennis Law, known affectionately as the Lawman by the fans, scored all six goals for City in a 4th round FA Cup match against Luton Town at their Kenilworth Road ground.

After 68 minutes the Sky Blues were winning 6-2. By the 69th minute the referee took the decision to abandon the game because of a waterlogged pitch.

As the game was abandoned Law’s six goals were wiped from the record books.

To add insult to injury when the match was replayed on 1 February Luton Town won 3-1 – with the Lawman scoring his side’s only goal.

Had those six goals been allowed to stand then Dennis Law would have gone into the record books as the FA Cup’s top goalscorer in the 20th Century with 47 goals (assuming he didn’t add to his tally in subsequent rounds).

Instead Ian Rush’s 44 FA Cup goals propelled him into the number one spot, by default.

Another interesting point to note from City’s bygone era, which was almost emulated by last season’s side, is that in the 1957/58 season the Sky Blues scored 104 League goals in the old First Division. However, they also leaked almost as many by conceding 100 goals. In so doing they became the only club to score and concede a century of goals in the top-flight.





November 1971: A Hat-Trick of Hat-tricks from SuperMac!


by Karl Hofer.

On November 20th 1971, Third Division side Bournemouth thrashed the Southern League’s Margate 11-0 in the First Round of the FA Cup. Bournemouth’s hero that day was Scottish forward Ted MacDougall who scored no less than nine of the Cherries’ eleven goals.

The club was still known as Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic when MacDougall joined them in the summer of 1969 from York City for £10,000. The Cherries were relegated to Division Four despite the 21 league goals scored by ‘SuperMac’ that season, but under new manager John Bond they bounced back at the first opportunity and were doing well in the Third Division when they faced Margate in the FA Cup.

MacDougall wasted no time by scoring five goals in the first half alone. Not satisfied with that MacDougall went on to score another four after the break, despite the Margate manager asking Bond jokingly to substitute the forward at halftime.

ted_macdougallThe Cherries went on to face Walsall in the Third Round. Presumably they took note of SuperMac’s performance against Margate and decided to mark him, as he was unable to get on the score-sheet and they were eliminated 1-0.

MacDougall moved to Manchester United in September 1972 when he was signed by Frank O’Farrell for a transfer fee of £200,000, but despite scoring on his debut he was unable to settle at the club. He played for a variety of other clubs, including West Ham, Norwich and Southampton, before a second stint at Bournemouth. He also represented Scotland on seven occasions, finding the net three times. After turning out for a number of non-league sides he hung up his boots for good in 1984 and is now coaching the Atlanta Silverbacks in the United States.

His 9 goals in a game by a single player is still an FA Cup record.


One 2 Eleven with Mark Bright
Legend talks about his best goal, the FA Cup, Wrighty & Port Vale

mark_bright_ambassadorFormer striker and all-round top bloke Mark Bright was born on June 6 1962. He is 52.

He played for Port Vale, Leicester, Crystal Palace, Sheffield Wednesday, Millwall and Charlton Athletic.

He now does various TV radio and print media work. He is also an ambassador for

More importantly; he also pays the bar tab.

First Car: It was an AUSTIN 1100. I was an apprentice Hydraulics engineer working in a local factory near Burslem in the Potteries. My nickname was ‘Huggy’ the character from Starsky and Hutch (Yes I wore a cap like the main man). One of the guys was selling it for £200 so I bought it. Soon after I was out driving with a few mates but I couldn’t get it out of second gear – when I tried again a bit harder the gear stick came out in my hands! We all crapped ourselves but survived.


Best ground: Has to be Wembley, both old and new. And just to remind people I scored the first goal at the new stadium in the first official match there when I played for a Geoff Thomas XI in a charity match. Graeme Le Saux gets the needle as no one ever mentions he set it up…

Worst Ground: I’d have to say Wimbledon’s Plough Lane. It was just awful more like a chicken shack or pig sty. Apart from the rubbish facilities they still tried to make it worse with all the
intimidation – they even hosed down the dressing rooms just before you arrived.

First Record bought/Last downloaded: It was called Footsie, not sure who it was by (for the record it was tba Willow, a 1974 Wigan Casino floor filler). It was a big Northern Soul hit in the Seventies. The Torch was a massive Northern Soul club in Stoke but I never got there cos I was always playing football. Most recently I downloaded Wretch 22.


Best goal: Has to be Maradona’s dribble against England when the ball stuck to his feet like chewing gum. In England – so many memorable ones but the volley’s of Paolo di Canio and Tony Yeboah stick in the mind.

Best bit of memorabilia: I still have the original white label pressing of the FA Cup final song we made in 1990, ‘Glad All Over’. It is signed by all the players. A real treasure and of course its now the Palace anthem.

Best goal scored: Gary Linker had left Leicester for Everton in the summer and when the fixtures came out it was a swift return for him to Filbert Street. All the focus was on Links but I scored a beauty in the first half when I chipped Neville Southall which no one ever did. My old pal Inchy (Adrian Heath), who was on the bench, told me later that Everton manager Howard Kendall asked “Who the hell was that who’d just scored?”. When he said “Mark Bright” Kendall replied: “Mark Who?!? He’ll never do that again in his life”. In the second half I did it again with another beauty. Just saying Links!

Best team: I guess it has to be the Liverpool team that beat us early on in the 1989-90 season 9-0 – and it could have been more. We had just been promoted, it was the fifth game. They were the Manchester United of the time – Barnes, Beardsley, Hansen, Rush, Aldridge. They passed us to death. Who would have thought then that would be the last time they would lift the title…?

Team Supported as a boy: Port Vale. I was brought up in the Burslem (one of the six towns that form Stoke-on-Trent) and I could see the Port Vale ground, Vale Park, from our estate. Back then we were always out mainly playing football around the streets and recs (recreation ground). All I ever dreamed of was playing there just once. After playing non league for Leek Town, Vale manage John McGrath gave me that dream. I had one year to prove myself as a pro. I did well with Port Vale and moved on to Leicester.

Best Manager: Steve Coppell. He comes across as quiet and genial but had a very tough streak. He made me a much better player. He made me go away and read things about the game and so think about the game much more.

Wright or Zaha..?: As it stands Wrighty cos he’s been there and done it. But I’ve been on record as saying Zaha can be like Ronaldo. I do some coaching at Palace and I saw him come through the ranks and now he’s at Man Utd he has the chance to become a great player.



Best Friend in the Game: Robbie Earle, the former Wimbledon midfielder. We grew up in the same area and played together at Port Vale. I introduced him to his wife and I’ve made sure they have stayed together. Robbie is now in the US working as a TV pundit.

Best world player: Maradona

Best British player: George Fryer. George Who? Let me tell you when I was a kid in the Seventies George was the local hero. He was grown up, a giant of a guy with big square shoulders. On Saturday he’d play in goal for Kidsgrove Athletic FC then centre forward for the Minors Estate Galley FC. I would carry his gloves for him. Sometimes when playing in goal he would puff on a fag, He was a legend in our area. To us he was King George!

What moment would I like to save to DVD ?
Geoff Thomas heading the winner in the FA Cup semi final when we beat Liverpool 4-3 at Villa Park. We had been given no chance especially as they had beaten us 9-0 earlier in the season. But we did them. We had a game plan and we stuck to it. I scored the first. It was so tense so dramatic goals going in at both ends, then Geoff scored towards the end of extra time. I can’t describe the utter elation.

Then the nerves as we hung on to the final whistle. I exploded with excitement and ran to the fans. The fantasy had been fulfilled! Back in the day playing in the FA Cup final was the dream beyond dreams. For us it was bigger than anything. Even playing for England. When we played street football one of the kids was revered cos he had actually gone to see a final at Wembley. Now I was there.


Andy Gray ran up to me and shouted: “Brighty, we’re going to Wembley!”. We just hugged each other. How I’d love to freeze frame that moment.

We lost to Manchester United after a replay but I’m still very proud I played in an FA Cup final after all those years of day dreaming about it on the streets of Stoke.

Follow Mark on Twitter @Mark_Bright

Brighty is also an ambassador for



FA Cup: BOBBY Sensing Scouse Success


Martinez will face one of his former sides as Everton entertain Swansea

The FA Cup has received a huge shot in the arm given the draw the for the fifth round, which means at least two super powers will be knocked out.

The two diamond draws see Manchester City play Chelsea while Arsenal are at home to Liverpool.

There is a twist of romance with Everton boss Roberto Martinez facing one of his former clubs, Swansea.

Martinez of course won the competition with Wigan last season. And Everton, who were a clever money shot at the start of the tournament at 10-1 and a BOBBY’S BETS tip to go all the way, are now 6-1 third favourites behind Man City (10/3) and Arsenal (9/2) according to Coral.

There is still value to get on Everton now.

But given the schedule Arsenal face, Liverpool could well win at the Emirates so 6-1 on them right now is worth a punt.

The Gunners are now scheduled to play Liverpool and Manchester United in the league, Liverpool again in the FA Cup and Bayern Munich in the Champions League in the space of 12 days.

Second-placed Manchester City’s game with Chelsea, who are third, will take place either within four days of hosting Barcelona in the Champions League.

Given Sunderland’s relegation worries and the fact they have made the Capital One Cup final, Southampton look a good bet to win at the Stadium of Light and are 10-1 to lift the Cup.

Draw for the Fifth Round :

Manchester City v Chelsea
Sheffield United v Nottingham Forest
Arsenal v Liverpool
Brighton & Hove Albion v Hull City
Cardiff City v Wigan Athletic
Sheffield Wednesday v Charlton Athletic
Sunderland v Southampton
Everton v Swansea City

The games will be played on the weekend of 15-16 February


MNF: West Brom v Everton
Preview & Odds PLUS ’68 Cup Final Memories

West Bromich Albion v Everton, Premier League, Monday 20th January, 8pm. Live on SkySports1


WBA:   23/10   DRAW:  23/10    EVERTON:   5/4


WBA wins: 58   Draws:  35   Everton wins: 65

Selected Bets:

Both Teams to Score:   YES:  4/6   NO:   11/10

Everton to come from behind and win:  10/1

West Brom to win:  1-0:  9/1, 2-0: 17/1,  2-1: 10/1,  3-1: 25/1, 3-2: 30/1

Draw:  0-0: 9/1, 1-1: 11/2, 2-2: 12/1, 3-3: 50/1

Everton to win:  1-0:  7/1, 2-0: 10/1, 2-1: 8/1, 3-1: 16/1, 3-2: 25/1

First Goalscorer: Lukaku: 9/2, Anelka: 7/1, Mirallas: 7/1, Baines: 12/1

BOBBY’S BET OF THE DAY – Anytime Goalscorer; Baines: 4/1

Odds courtesy of PaddyPower


Jeff Astle and Bobby Hope hold the cup aloft in 1968

Astle’s Finest Hour

Perhaps it wasn’t the greatest of matches, but the 1968 Cup Final was a remarkable one for a number of reasons;

*The 1968 Cup final was the first final to be televised live in colour.

*West Brom won with a Jeff Astle goal three minutes into extra time. The goal meant that Astle had scored in every round of that season’s competition.

*Dennis Clarke became the first substitute to be used in an FA Cup final when he came on for West Bromwich Albion.

*Both teams wore away strips, Everton wearing bright amber shirts and blue shorts and West Bromwich Albion in white shirts and shorts with red socks.

This was Albion’s tenth final and they won the cup for the fifth time and in doing so qualified for the 1968–69 European Cup Winners’ Cup. They haven’t appeared in a final since.

Did You Know: Legend has it that on the evening of the 1968 FA Cup Final triumph the words “ASTLE IS THE KING” appeared in large white letters on the brickwork of Primrose Bridge in the heart of the Black Country. The bridge quickly became known locally as “the Astle Bridge”. When the council removed the letters, they re-appeared a few days later.

A campaign was launched to have the bridge officially named in his honour following Astle’s death in 2002, but this has so far been rejected over fears of vandal attacks by supporters of rival teams, as the area also has a high percentage of Aston Villa and Wolves fans.

FA Cup Final, Wembley Stadium, May 18th, 1968

EVERTON: Gordon West, Ray Wilson, Brian Labone, Tommy Wright, John Hurst, Alan Ball, Colin Harvey, Howard Kendall, John Morrissey, Joe Royle, Jimmy Husband

WBA: John Osborne, Doug Fraser, Graham Williams, Tony Brown, John Talbut, John Kaye, Graham Lovett, Ian Collard, Jeff Astle, Bobby Hope, Clive Clark

Att: 99,665



Cup Half Full..? + 2014 Odds
Will the Country Ever Rekindle it’s Love for the FA Cup..?

by Karl Hofer.

It has had it’s issues of late, but the FA Cup is still the world’s oldest football knockout competition,  and its role in the history of the beautiful game is unprecedented.

The FA Cup Final has been an indelible part of English national consciousness for over a century. Since the dawn of the television era the entire nation (and many other countries around the world) have been transfixed by the great spectacle from North London.

The whole of FA Cup Final Saturday would build up to 3 pm. Both ITV and the BBC would begin their coverage earlier and earlier each year to milk the viewers, sometimes as early as 8am!

The final itself generated so much excitement; we can all recall the TV crew on the bus to the stadium from the hotel, the players walking round the pitch in their specially tailored suits for the day, the crowd singing ‘abide with me’ – and teams would always release a single during the build up.

Not anymore though. With the incredible amount of live football on TV nowadays such romance and sentiment is unlikely to ever return, which is a shame. Be careful what you wish for as they say…

Regardless, the FA Cup has also produced some amazing memories and some fantastic games over the years, too many to reminisce about here. But before we look at the odds to win the 2014 competition lets remember three finals whose anniversaries are this year;

25 Years Ago: Everton 2-3 Liverpool

What a final, a Merseyside derby no less. The final was played only five weeks after the Hillsborough disaster and before kick-off there was an impeccably observed minute’s silence while the teams wore black armbands as a sign of respect. Gerry Marsden, lead singer of Gerry & the Pacemakers, led the crowd in an emotional rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone before the sides served up a match fitting for the occasion.

Liverpool went ahead after four minutes through John Aldridge, and held onto that lead until the final minute, when Everton substitute Stuart McCall equalised, and a pitch invasion by Everton fans ensued.

McCall’s goal was the last kick of the 90 minutes and the match went into extra time. On 95 minutes, Liverpool substitute Ian Rush scored with a half-volley on the turn to give Liverpool a 2–1 lead. Everton again equalised five minutes later when McCall again scored, chesting and volleying past Bruce Grobbelaar into the corner of the net. However, Rush – who had scored twice in Liverpool’s 3–1 win in the first Merseyside derby Final three years earlier – scored his second goal in the 104th minute with a header from a John Barnes cross and Liverpool would triumph once more.

30 Years Ago: Watford 0-2 Everton

The final of 1984 is remembered for Everton’s controversial second goal. After Graeme Sharp had put the Toffees ahead with a clinical finish late in the first half, Andy Gray seemed to head the ball out of the grasp of Watford keeper Steve Sherwood when he put Everton two up, but referee John Hunting allowed it to stand.

This victory ended a 14 year wait for silverware at Goodison Park and was the first trophy of the very successful Howard Kendall era. This was Watford’s only cup final appearance and Gray ensured that Elton John’s team left with the blues. 

 35 Years Ago: Arsenal 3-2 Manchester United

Terry Neill’s Arsenal held on to edge past Manchester United in what is widely regarded as one of the greatest-ever finishes to an FA Cup final. For over 85 minutes the game had been largely unremarkable, Arsenal having taken control with a 2–0 half time lead through goals from Brian Talbot and Frank Stapleton. In the 86th minute, however, Gordon McQueen scored following a set-piece, and two minutes later Sammy McIlroy dribbled past two Arsenal players to score a dramatic equaliser.

United’s celebrations proved short-lived however, as with the game poised for extra time Alan Sunderland scored a last-minute winner, making the final result Arsenal 3–2 Manchester United. This match is often referred to as the “Five-minute Final”.

THE ODDS – (Updated Jan 6th)

Man City  4/1,  Chelsea  9/2, Arsenal  9/2, Liverpool  11/2, Everton  8/1, Southampton  12/1, Swansea 25/1,  Sunderland  40/1, Stoke  40/1, Hull  40/1, Fulham  50/1, Palace  50/1, Forest 66/1, Norwich 66/1, Brighton  80/1, Bolton 80/1, Wigan  100/1, Ipswich  100/1

Odds courtesy of PaddyPower.


Gazza Steals The Show at First Ever Wembley Semi

by Rob Shepherd.

Next Saturday’s FA Cup third round clash between Arsenal and Tottenham evokes memories of the famous 1991 semi-final.

Given the enormous interest, a pointless exercise of both sets of London fans travelling north to Old Trafford was avoided, meaning it became first semi-final to be staged at Wembley.

It was a thrilling game best remembered for Paul Gascoigne’s astonishing 5th minute free kick to open the scoring – seemingly all the way from Willesden (see belolw).

Gascoigne had been a massive doubt for the game because he was recovering from a hernia operation.

A couple of weeks before I met up with him in the South of France where we had been watching Chris Waddle score the goal that saw Marseille beat AC Milan in the quarter finals of the European Cup.

Gazza gave me an interview insisting he would be fit for the semi-final which at the time seemed wishful thinking.

But he fulfilled his pledge. While he was not fit enough to last the distance, Gascoigne on his return to action at Wembley produced a whirlwind display that blew Arsenal – who would win the title that season – away.

Apart for the astonishing opening goal he later paved the way for Gary Lineker’s second. Alan Smith (yes, he’s on telly too now) pulled one back but Lineker then clinched a 3-1 triumph for Spurs.

Gazza’s joy at the final whistle is clear for all to see in this brief interview;

In the final Spurs beat Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest. It was a game which for Gazza would be in stark contrast to the joie d vivre exuded that semi-final day…