The final of one of, if not the most famous cup competitions is almost upon us once again. Shocks of course can happen at any stage and the final is no different. Over the years there have been many great games and many famous upsets. It captures the hearts of fans from every corner of the world and it’s what makes this occasion great. Here is a look back at some of the famous shocks of the FA Cup Final.
For famous shocks of the FA Cup round three to part one of the final, please click on the following links.
Famous FA Cup Final Shocks Part Two
Manchester United 0-1 Southampton, 1976
Manchester United were overwhelming favourites to lift the trophy against a Second Division Southampton side who had never who a major trophy. United went into the game having finished third in the top-flight of English football, however, their league season could have ended so much better. If they hadn’t suffered two defeats in the final three games they could have beaten Liverpool to the title. Southampton had finished a respectable sixth place in Division Two but the Red Devils were still white-hot favourites to walk away with the trophy.
The game itself was going as everyone had predicted and as early as the first minute Ian Turner in the Saints goal kept out a close range United effort. United created plenty of chances but a combination of excellent saves and the crossbar kept Southampton in the game.
United didn’t have it all their own way, Southampton’s danger man Mick Channon and winger Bobby Stokes troubled the United defence and goal whenever they could get forward. With United still pushing forward but with game looking like it would be heading into extra time the goal came along that would shock the world.
All ball over the top of the United defence in the 83rd minute found Stokes whose left foot strike found the bottom corner to put the Saints in front and crush United. As Southampton were in dreamland, United fans and players felt the goal was clearly offside. It’s a debate that still goes on to this day. The Second Division side held on to their lead to lift the trophy for the first time in their history and send United back home angry and embarrassed.
West Ham United 1-0 Arsenal, 1980
Second Division West Ham were huge underdogs going into this game, and rightly so. They were up against a strong Arsenal side that had appeared in the last two FA Cup finals and were the current cup holders. Few were giving the Hammers much hope and as usual Brian Clough would have his say.
In his newspaper column, Clough implied that West Ham focused more on getting to a Wembley final than trying to gain promotion. He also made a remark in which he would later apologise for about the Hammers midfielder and England international Trevor Brooking. He said that the playermaker “floated like a butterfly – and stung like one too”. It’s not the first time the great Cloughie would feel a little embarrassed by his comments on a match at Wembley. Poland’s “clown” of a goalkeeper anyone?
The game itself was by no means a classic, not that the United fans are too bothered by that. Arsenal began the game playing their usual defensive keep ball style of play. However a change of tactics were certainly in mind of Gunners manager Terry Neill early in the game. On 13 minutes Alan Devonshire’s cross was met by David Cross, his shot was blocked but Stuart Pearson then hit a cross-shot which Trevor Brooking reacted to first. His flick header flew past Pat Jennings in the Arsenal goal to give United an unlikely lead.
Arsenal fought back but were unable to find a way past Phil Parkes in the Hammers goal and his defence. West Ham very nearly made sure of the victory with only minutes remaining. Paul Allen, the then youngest player to play in an FA Cup final was put through on goal and with only Jennings to beat he was challenged from behind by defender Willie Young which brought him down just outside of the penalty box. If the professional foul rule was in force then, Young would surely have been sent off. He escaped with just a yellow card.
United were able to hold on to their slender lead and captain Billy Bonds lifted the famous trophy to give West Ham their third FA Cup final victory. 200,000 fans turned out to see their side parade the cup soon after the final. The Hammers victory still remains as the last time a team from outside the top flight won the cup.
Liverpool 0-1 Wimbledon, 1988
Unfashionable and unfancied Wimbledon, dubbed ‘The Crazy Gang’, came up against the league champions at Wembley in an era where Liverpool dominated. Even though both sides played in the top flight, Liverpool were massive favourites and the pressure was on to complete a league and cup double. Just eleven years prior to this game the Dons were playing non-league football, this was their first FA Cup Final and they were determined to spoil the party.
Liverpool, as expected began the final the better team, creating several chances. Peter Beardsley had the ball in the net after chipping Dave Beasant in the Wimbledon goal but it was disallowed as the referee had already blown the whistle for an earlier foul. Soon after the Dons won a free kick deep in Liverpool’s half. Dennis Wise delivered the ball into the box and Lawrie Sanchez flicked the ball on and it landed in the far side of the Reds goal. Wimbledon were in front on 37 minutes and no one could quite believe it.
Liverpool began pressing for the equaliser in the second half but were having trouble getting through a stubborn Dons defence. That was until John Aldridge found himself in the area only to be brought down by Clive Goodyear. The defender looked to have played the ball but the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot.
John Aldridge was having an excellent season and was currently on 29 goals for the season. He seemed odds on to equalise but Dave Beasant had done his homework on Liverpool’s expert penalty taker and had different ideas. The keeper dived full length and pushed the ball away for a corner. It was the first penalty to be saved in the cup final and it put Beasant into the history books.
Wimbledon held on for the rest of the game and the penalty save hero and captain became the first goalkeeper to receive the trophy. The Wimbledon fans inside Wembley who were heavily outnumbered could not contain their delight. The Crazy Gang had beaten the Culture Club and no one will ever forget it.
Manchester City 0-1 Wigan Athletic, 2013
Wigan, who were in great danger of being relegated from the Premier League were looking to provide a huge shock against mega rich Manchester City. However, as we all know, spending money in football guarantees nothing.
Wigan were playing in their first FA Cup final, City their 10th and very few where predicting anything other than City victory. With Wigan still having two games remaining in the Premier League, some predicted that their focus would be mainly on staying in the top flight. The Latics had other ideas.
The game got under way with City creating the clearer chances but due to Wigan’s tactics, their star players were not able to get into the game the way they would have liked. It was not all City though, the underdogs had chances themselves and weren’t afraid of taking the game to their opponents. At half time and with scores level at 0-0, the chances of yet another cup upset at Wembley seemed a lot more realistic than they did just 45 minutes ago.
As the second half wore on, both teams were still creating chances and at this stage the game could easily go either way. With six minutes to go the game suddenly swung into Wigan’s favour. Pablo Zabaleta was shown a second yellow card for a foul on Callum McManaman and all of a sudden many felt that Wigan could give Wembley and the footballing world another huge cup final upset.
With game heading into extra time, Wigan won a corner. Shaun Maloney sent the ball into the near post and substitute Ben Watson, who had missed much of the season with a broken leg, rose highest to head the ball in. A few minutes later the final whistle blew and the underdogs from Wigan had won the FA Cup for the first time. Few could argue that didn’t deserve it either.
Manchester City, distraught after losing what they thought was going to be a straight forward final, sacked manager Roberto Mancini two days after the game. The Latics failed in their attempt to stay in the Premier League and in doing so they became the first team to win the cup and be relegated. However, they created a story that would be told for many years.