The FA Cup is not only loved because it is one of the oldest sporting competitions in the world, but also because it has been the backdrop to some of the greatest moments in football history.
Whether it be a late goal to seal a win for a non-league team, or something even more dramatic like scoring a golden goal, the FA Cup has had it all. This post will go through some of the biggest and best moments from the competitions across the years.
Liverpool vs Everton – 1989 Final
A game that was set to the backdrop of a tragedy, the 1989 final between Merseyside rivals was played a little while after the Hillsborough disaster that occurred at the semi-final of the competition.
Even though many said the final shouldn’t be played, it did, and for the most part, the game was playing second fiddle to the fact that the city united after a tragedy, the stadium was loud with everyone in attendance singing “You’ll Never Walk Alone”. Liverpool went on to win 3-2.
Manchester City vs Stoke – 2011 Final
While the game is one that may be easily forgotten, it is most definitely remembered by Manchester City fans across the globe. Goalless, and maybe a bit boring until the 76th minute when Yaya Toure put the ball in the back of the net.
City would go on to win the game and final 1-0, and seal their first major trophy in 35 years. While success has sort of followed City around since then, many can view that win as the catalyst to future success.
Leicester City vs Wycombe Wanderers – 2001 Quarter-Final
Leicester City drew third-tier, injury-ravaged Wycombe in the quarter-final of the 2001 tournament, and while many believed the Premier League would walk the game, Wycombe won, but how they won is the incredible part.
Due to being a small third-tier team, and having too many injuries to count, they advertised looking for a fit striker that wasn’t cup-tied. Roy Essandoh stepped forward, and in one of the most dramatic moments, he scored an injury-time winner to send Wycombe through.
Ipswich vs Arsenal – 1978 Final
1978 was the year Ipswich won their first and only FA Cup. Roger Osborne was the player to score, and while many would be over the moon with excitement after scoring for their home team to win the cup, it was too much for Osborne.
He clearly became a bit light-headed with excitement and adrenaline, and he basically passed out. The physio came on and tried to wet sponge his forehead, that didn’t work, and neither did smelling salts. He was a hero, but had to be replaced for the last 12 minutes of the game. He made a full recovery in time to celebrate.
Arsenal vs Chelsea – 2002 Final
In the same week that they would go on to become Premier League champions, Arsenal beat Chelsea 2-0 in the Final, thanks to goals from Freddie Ljungberg and Ray Parlor, the latter being the biggest surprise.
This Arsenal team was stacked with some of the greatest goalscorers in football history, and when Parlor got the ball 35 yards out from goal, no one thought much of it, even the commentators said “it’s just Ray Parlor”, what followed was a 25-yard screamer that sealed the trophy for Arsenal.
Liverpool vs West Ham – 2006 Final
The 2006 final between Liverpool and West Ham was the last one played at the old Cardiff Stadium, and it was most definitely one of the best send-offs a stadium could get. West Ham were 2-0 up, before Djibril Cisse and Steven Gerrard scored to tie it up.
Paul Konchesky made it 3-2 to West Ham, before the ball landed at Steven Gerrard’s feet, and he scored one of the best and most memorable long-range goals in football history. The game then went to penalties, which Liverpool ended up winning 3-1.
Manchester United vs Arsenal – 1999 Semi-Final Replay
A game that had one of the best solo goals in the competition’s history was played between two of the biggest rivals in football. The first time was goalless, but the replay a few days later is where all the drama happened.
Goals from David Beckham and Dennis Bergkamp made it 1-1, before Patrick Viera gave the ball away and Ryan Giggs danced and dribbled past 4 defenders before putting the ball in the back of the net. His famous shirtless celebration followed, United would go on to win the cup, but that goal is stuck in the minds of every football fan who got to see it.
The FA Cup has had many, many dramatic moments in its long history, this is just a small handful of some of the best. Incredible goals, major upsets, David vs Goliath, with David winning, has all happened in the FA Cup.
With this year’s final just around the corner, Hopefully there will be another moment to add to the storied history of this great competition.