Thursday, May 12, 2011

IN NOBODY'S SHADOW

Those pundits screaming from the rooftops about how Utd will steal City's thunder this weekend should take three minutes to run their eyes down this list. It is a list of all Cup Finals since the 1974-75 season, when West Ham's skeletal striker Alan Taylor bagged two to help the Hammers beat Fulham. Run your eyes down the columns and look for a final that does not contain the following words: "united", "Chelsea", "Arsenal", Everton", "Liverpool" or "Tottenham". Amazingly, you will find only one, 2007-08's Portsmouth-Cardiff, born of the strangest 4 semi-finalists seen for many a long decade. West Brom and Barnsley were the others in that merry band of four.

1974–75 West Ham United 2–0 Fulham Wembley Stadium (original) 100,000
1975–76 Southampton 1–0 Manchester United Wembley Stadium (original) 100,000
1976–77 Manchester United 2–1 Liverpool Wembley Stadium (original) 100,000
1977–78 Ipswich Town 1–0 Arsenal Wembley Stadium (original) 100,000
1978–79 Arsenal 3–2 Manchester United Wembley Stadium (original) 100,000
1979–80 West Ham United 1–0 Arsenal Wembley Stadium (original) 100,000
1980–81 Tottenham Hotspur  †1–1 * Manchester City Wembley Stadium (original) 100,000
(R) Tottenham Hotspur 3–2 Manchester City Wembley Stadium (original) 92,000
1981–82 Tottenham Hotspur  †1–1 * Queens Park Rangers Wembley Stadium (original) 100,000
(R) Tottenham Hotspur 1–0 Queens Park Rangers Wembley Stadium (original) 90,000
1982–83 Manchester United  †2–2 * Brighton & Hove Albion Wembley Stadium (original) 100,000
(R) Manchester United 4–0 Brighton & Hove Albion Wembley Stadium (original) 100,000
1983–84 Everton 2–0 Watford Wembley Stadium (original) 100,000
1984–85 Manchester United  †1–0 * Everton Wembley Stadium (original) 100,000
1985–86 Liverpool 3–1 Everton Wembley Stadium (original) 98,000
1986–87 Coventry City  †3–2 * Tottenham Hotspur Wembley Stadium (original) 98,000
1987–88 Wimbledon 1–0 Liverpool Wembley Stadium (original) 98,203
1988–89 Liverpool  †3–2 * Everton Wembley Stadium (original) 82,500
1989–90 Manchester United  †3–3 * Crystal Palace Wembley Stadium (original) 80,000
(R) Manchester United 1–0 Crystal Palace Wembley Stadium (original) 80,000
1990–91 Tottenham Hotspur  †2–1 * Nottingham Forest Wembley Stadium (original) 80,000
1991–92 Liverpool 2–0 Sunderland Wembley Stadium (original) 80,000
1992–93 Arsenal  †1–1 * Sheffield Wednesday Wembley Stadium (original) 79,347
(R) Arsenal  †2–1 * Sheffield Wednesday Wembley Stadium (original) 62,267
1993–94 Manchester United 4–0 Chelsea Wembley Stadium (original) 79,634
1994–95 Everton 1–0 Manchester United Wembley Stadium (original) 79,592
1995–96 Manchester United 1–0 Liverpool Wembley Stadium (original) 79,007
1996–97 Chelsea 2–0 Middlesbrough Wembley Stadium (original) 79,160
1997–98 Arsenal 2–0 Newcastle United Wembley Stadium (original) 79,183
1998–99 Manchester United 2–0 Newcastle United Wembley Stadium (original) 79,101
1999–2000 Chelsea 1–0 Aston Villa Wembley Stadium (original) 78,217
2000–01 Liverpool 2–1 Arsenal Millennium Stadium 72,500
2001–02 Arsenal 2–0 Chelsea Millennium Stadium 73,963
2002–03 Arsenal 1–0 Southampton Millennium Stadium 73,726
2003–04 Manchester United 3–0 Millwall Millennium Stadium 71,350
2004–05 Arsenal  †0–0 Manchester United Millennium Stadium 71,876
2005–06 Liverpool  †3–3 West Ham United Millennium Stadium 71,140
2006–07 Chelsea  †1–0 * Manchester United Wembley Stadium (new) 89,826
2007–08 Portsmouth England 1–0 WalesCardiff City Wembley Stadium (new) 89,874
2008–09 Chelsea 2–1 Everton Wembley Stadium (new) 89,391
2009–10 Chelsea 1–0 Portsmouth Wembley Stadium (new) 88,335

So, to those suggesting Salford Rangers are about steal anybody's thunder, I would counter that this final pairing is so fresh, so virgin white, that it cannot do anything but stand out quite nicely by itself. Manchester City, in their first final since 1981, versus Stoke City, in their first ever final. Now, if that's not an occasion to bring the colour back to the cheeks of the FA Cup, I don't know what is...

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