An Arsenal Blast from the Past No. 14 Arsenal’s FA Cup Final History

May 16, 2014

Original FA Cup 001

Tomorrow Arsenal plays Hull City in their record eighteenth FA Cup Final appearance; they are tied with Manchester United. Hull City will be making their first appearance.

Here is a brief accounting of our Cup Final appearances.


1926-1927 – Arsenal vs Cardiff City

Arsenal’s first final, but sadly we lost 0-1 and it’s the only time the FA Cup left England.

This was also the first time that there was community signing at a FA Cup Final.

The tradition of signing “Abide with Me” which was written in 1847 by a vicar from Devon also had its debut performance.

FA Cup Song Sheet 1927 001


1929-1930 – Arsenal vs Huddersfield Town

Our first FA Cup victory, and first ever trophy, we won 2-0 on goals by Alex James and Jack Lambert. This was the start of one on our most successful decades, we were led by Herbert Chapman undoubtedly the greatest Manger of his time and arguably Arsenal’s best ever Manager. The Final was interrupted by a fly over of the German airship Graf Zeppelin.


1931-1932 – Arsenal vs Newcastle United

Our second loss we were beaten 1-2 with Bob John scoring our only goal.

In the thirty eighth minute with Arsenal winning 1-0 Newcastle attacked down the right wing, a long pass appeared to go over the line but it was hooked into the middle and they scored an easy equaliser. The linesman was ninety feet away and the referee sixty feet but the referee still gave Newcastle the goal. Newsreel confirmed that the ball had crossed the line.


1935-1936 – Arsenal vs Sheffield United

Our second victory we won 1-0 with Ted Drake scoring our goal.

Having won the League Championship three seasons in a row we now added our second FA Cup to our trophy collection. Herbert Chapman had died suddenly two years earlier and George Allison was now our manager. It was our sixth success in League and Cup in seven seasons.


1949-1950 – Arsenal vs Liverpool

Our third victory we won 2-0 with Reg Lewis scoring both goals.

This was the era of the Compton brothers, Denis and Leslie, both were famous footballers and cricketers. They played in both sports for England with Leslie not making his football debut for England until he was thirty eight years old.


1951-1952 – Arsenal vs Newcastle United

Our third loss we were beaten 0-1.

Newcastle became the second club to win the Cup in successive years after Blackburn Rovers in 1890 and 1891. Arsenal was down to ten men in the thirty fifth minute after Wally Barnes was injured, Newcastle scored the only goal of the game six minutes from time. Winston Churchill made the Cup presentation to Newcastle; he is the only Prime Minster to have made the presentation at Wembley.


1970-1971 – Arsenal vs Liverpool

Our fourth victory we won 2-0 with goals by Eddie Kelly and Charlie George.

Bertie Mee Double 001

This was indeed Red Letter day for Arsenal, having won the League Championship at White Hart Lane the victory secured our first League and Cup double. We were drawn away in every round of the competition and needed a replay to beat Leeds United in the semi-final. Charlie George scored his unforgettable winning goal from twenty five yards out in the twenty first minute of extra time.


1971-1972 – Arsenal vs Leeds United

Our fourth loss we were beaten 0-1.

This was a disappointing day for Arsenal but it set up the first stage of the “Double” for Leeds. They went to Wolverhampton just forty eight hours later needing only a draw to clinch the League Championship but to their disappointment they lost 2-1.


1977-1978 – Arsenal vs Ipswich Town

Our fifth loss we were beaten 0-1.

This was the fiftieth Cup Final and Arsenal was the odds on favourites to win their fifth FA Cup but Ipswich, managed by Bobby Robson, had other thoughts. They reduced Arsenal to nothing more than a supporting role and won the game with a goal in the seventy sixth minute but they also hit the post or bar on three other occasions.


1978-1979 – Arsenal vs Manchester United

Our fifth victory we won 3-2 with goals by Brian Talbot, Frank Stapleton and Alan Sunderland.

The game was described as the “Five Minute Final” a routine heavy weight bout with a finish that matched the “Matthews Final” in raw excitement. Arsenal led 2-0 with less than five minutes remaining when Manchester United scored two goals in 115 seconds. Extra-time appeared inevitable until Liam Brady, who was the architect of Arsenal’s first two goals picked up the ball straight from the re-start. He passed to Graham Rix, on the left, who centered to Alan Sunderland and he slid the ball into the net for the winning goal.


1979-1980 – Arsenal vs West Ham United

Our sixth loss we were beaten 0-1.

One of the most disappointed Arsenal fans on this day was GunnerN5 – I drove, on my own, four hundred miles through the mountains from Coeur D’Alene, Idaho to Cranbook, British Columbia. I had booked a hotel room in Cranbrook as the game was not being shown in the USA. Even a bottle of Macallan could not mask my disappointment and the return journey, the next day, was one of the longest and loneliest drives of my life.


1992-1993 – Arsenal vs Sheffield Wednesday

Our sixth victory we won 2-1 with goals by Ian Wright, Wright, Wright and Andy Linighan.

Arsenal became the first club to win both the FA Cup and the League Cup in one season but Sheffield United would prefer not to talk about that as they were the team that lost to Arsenal in both Finals. Andy Lineghan headed home the winning goal from a Paul Merson corner kick in the last minute of extra time


1997-1998 – Arsenal vs Newcastle United

Our seventh victory we won 2-0 with goals by Marc Overmars and Nicolas Anelka.


Arsenal finally beat Newcastle in a FA Cup Final having lost to them in both 1932 and 1952. This was Arsene Wengers first full season as Arsenal manager and he ended the season with a fist full of silver after winning both the FA Cup and The League Championship to secure Arsenals second “Double” season.


2000-2001 – Arsenal vs Liverpool

Our seventh loss we were beaten 1-2 with Freddie Ljungberg scoring our only goal.

Arsenal dominated the game but Liverpool came from behind to win 2-1, thus winning the FA Cup for the sixth time. It was the second trophy of their treble-winning season of 2000–01: they had won the Football League Cup in late February and would win the UEFA Cup four days later. As well as being the first FA Cup Final to be staged outside of England, it was also the first in which the managers of both teams were from outside the British Isles – Liverpool’s Gérard Houllier and Arsenal’s Arsène Wenger both coming from France.


2001-2002 – Arsenal vs Chelsea

Our eighth victory we won 2-0 with goals by Ray Parlour and Freddie Ljungberg.

Ljungberg, having also scored in the 2001 final, became the first man to score goals in successive FA Cup Finals since Tottenham Hotspur’s Bobby Smith, who scored in 1961 and 1962. The match took place with one week remaining in the Premier League calendar for the 2001–02 season. Arsenal were in first position, but still needed a point from their final two games to secure the championship, which they achieved in their next match with victory over second-placed Manchester United. It was Arsene Wengers second and Arsenals third League and Cup double.


2002-2003 – Arsenal vs Southampton

Our ninth victory we won 1-0 with Robert Pires scoring the only goal.

The Gunners won their second Cup in 2 years with a dominant performance over Southampton. The gulf in class between the 2 teams was not evident in the score line as Arsenal won by the single goal, a scrambled shot by Robert Pires. The last 7 minutes of the game saw Arsenal retain almost constant possession accompanied by a string of cheers from their supporters. Southampton had a mere 2 chances to score. the last of which came in the dying seconds as Ashley Cole saved the day with a goal line clearance.


2004-2005 – Arsenal vs Manchester United

Our tenth victory we won a penalty shootout 5-4 with Patrick Vieira scoring the decisive penalty.

The game was dominated by Manchester United who did everything but score a goal, Arsenals defence was stubborn to the end and forced the game into a penalty shootout.

Van Nistelrooy took the first penalty for Manchester United, in front of the United fans, and sent Lehmann the wrong way to give United the early advantage. Lauren then converted the next penalty for Arsenal, before Scholes stepped up to take United’s second, only to see it saved by Lehmann, diving low to his right. The next six penalties were all scored – Ljungberg, Van Persie and Cole for Arsenal, Ronaldo, Rooney and Keane for Manchester United – leaving Vieira with the opportunity to win the FA Cup for Arsenal in his last match for the club before moving to Juventus. Although Carroll guessed the correct way to dive, Vieira’s kick was just out of his reach, giving Arsenal their 10th FA Cup. Manchester felt aggrieved to have lost a game where they outplayed Arsenal – but frankly who gives a damn?


2013-2014 – Arsenal vs Hull City

The game is still to be played.

The Cup is still to be raised.

The story is still to be written.

FA Cup Trophy




Childhood Arsenal Heroes and Villains‏

August 9, 2012

All of us have our heroes and villains, and in every generation there are players who passionately divide opinion, causing us to dissect every possible flawed trait of the human DNA, especially those representing Arsenal.

The first conscious connection I had with Arsenal was the side that won the UEFA Fairs Cup, followed by the ‘Double’ a year later, which was particularly pleasing because we equalled what Spurs had done ten years previous, and I’m sure I read somewhere in statute law that under no circumstances are Spurs allowed to get one over Arsenal for as long as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. I could be wrong, who knows!

Back then, just as it’s always been, it’s the flair players and goal-scorers who grab the glory and headline banners, and every time I played football I was always ‘Charlie George’ who would later morph into Liam Brady.

I was devastated when Charlie George was sold to Derby, with Brady I was more disappointed that as well as opting out to chase the Italian lira, his last act with us was to miss a penalty in our losing CWC final against Valencia. And on his return from Italy he went to West Ham!

My first ‘villain’ was Alan Ball, who was bought to replace George Graham. I had no particular affinity to Graham as a player, but he was part of our success, and not many footballers get to celebrate winning the ‘Double’. ‘Bally’ ticked all the boxes, World Cup winner, tenacious never-say-die midfielder who I’m sure Bertie Mee considered an up-grade, but not someone who would ever lift you out of your seat with a thrilling, barn-storming performance.

I remember seeing a picture on the back of the Daily Mirror, in December 1971, Alan Ball with his trademark white football boots draped over  his shoulder, looking visibly upset at leaving Everton for Arsenal. Like most kids, I was very impressionable especially when it comes to my football team, and that picture said to me that his sadness at leaving Everton out-weighed his ‘happiness’ at joining Arsenal, and I didn’t take to him. Maybe he just arrived at the wrong time and couldn’t inspire us to push on for further success. It clearly wasn’t all his fault, but he ended up captaining an Arsenal side that had been a lot better before his arrival, and that was the only excuse I needed. Well, that and being a young kid.

Jeff Blockley from Coventry was another villain who cost good money, touted as a future star, scored far too many own-goals, and was sold for half what we paid to Leicester. When it finally dawned on Bertie that Blockley wasn’t working he bought Terry Mancini, as a stop-gap to allow for the integration of David O’Leary. It’s hard to think of a good signing Bertie Mee made after the ‘Double’ and relate to them as a hero. As if to prove he’d learned nothing from the Peter Marinello experience, he went back to Hibernian and bought Alex Cropley, who just like Marinello, wasn’t good enough and was sold to Aston Villa.

Brian Kidd was a surreal signing, a European Cup winner at 19, but stalled after that, so much so that Tommy Docherty sold him to us. He was our top scorer for the two seasons he was with us, but it was over-shadowed by our lowly league positions. Certainly not a villain, but he wasn’t around long enough to be given hero status either.

While I’m on the subject of ex MU players, Denis Law is a hero. I and a few of the older generation of Arsenal fans on here were priveliged enough to witness something we’ll probably never see again. MU relegated to Division 2, and it was Denis Law’s goal for Man City against his former club that sent them down. Priceless.

One ex MU player who did do well for us, and won an England cap on the back of his performances for Arsenal was Jimmy Rimmer. He made his debut at Anfield against the all-conquering Liverpool, and had a stormer. He kept everything out and was largely responsible for us coming away with the two points in a brilliant 1-0 victory. He was later sold  (by Terry Neill) to Aston Villa and went on to help them win the title and European Cup.

Terry Neill wasn’t a villain, but then he wasn’t really a hero either. His only crime was that he wasn’t really good enough. It was a strange appointment by the Board, especially as he’d been managing Spurs for two years, and had done nothing, apart from narrowly avoiding relegation in his first season there. I can only assume that it was some sort of reward for having played for us over quite a few years.

A better, braver and more dynamic appointment would have been that of Bobby Robson from Ipswich, who I feel at a club of Arsenal’s stature would have seriously challenged Liverpool’s dominance. Although Neill did buy Pat Jennings (a bargain at £45,000)….and Willie Young!

‘SuperMac’ Malcolm Macdonald was a big terrace hero, and represented a marquee signing, a proper old-fashioned number 9, deadly pace over 100 yards, and a natural goal-scorer too. A great signing whose career was tragically cut-short through injury, which meant we only had his services for two seasons. But at least he was better than Brian Kidd!

Alan Hudson was a huge disappointment but he was originally a Chelsea product that we brought back to London from Stoke, and his heart just didn’t belong. After 36 games, no goals and no desire he was off-loaded to America.

Conversely, Alan Sunderland a midfielder bought from Wolves, converted to a striker by Neill, will forever be remembered as a hero, just for his dramatic last-minute winner against MU in the 1979 FA Cup final, and without ever being considered as a major world-class star, he served the club well, and for £240,000 was relatively good value.

A special mention too for Paul Vaessen,who scored the only goal in Arsenal’s 1-0 win against Juventus in the CWC Semi-final, which created a bit of history as we became the first English club to win away at Juve.

Growing up supporting Arsenal was hard during the turbulence of the 1970’s, especially as all the other kids around me ‘supported’ Liverpool, MU and Leeds. I remember vividly the 1972 Centenary FA Cup final against Leeds. We were under-strength because Bob Wilson was injured so reserve ‘keeper Geoff Barnett had to play in goal. Back then, Leeds were almost as hated as MU, so losing to them was too much for this particular kid to digest. Watching Allan Clarke’s diving header was like a dagger had been plunged into my heart (made even more annoying by Charlie George hitting the bar late on!!!), and it was by far the worst pain I had suffered up to that point of my young life.

At the final whistle I ran from the house, and just carried on running until I couldn’t run anymore, and I cried for what seemed like ages. There was no-one to share the pain with, or anyone who was going to make me feel better, so all the emotion poured out. Speaking strictly from a lads perspective, (and a young kid too), everybody is allowed one cry, two is pushing it, three and you need psychiatric help!

If like me, you grew up supporting Arsenal, you will have many childhood memories of your own heroes and villains. Many thanks for taking the time to share some of mine.

Written by Herb

Arsenal’s Hairy Upper Lip

November 22, 2011

As many will know, we are in the middle of Movember. Yup, in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, the US, Canada, Finland, the Netherlands, Spain, South Africa and Ireland, chaps are being encouraged to let the above-the-lip stuff grow unchecked for a month.

And this has exactly what to do with the greatest football club in the world (that’s us, in case there’s any misunderstanding)? Well, it made me wonder about who the best moustachioed Arsenal players have been in my years in harness. My criteria are entirely arbitrary, frankly I don’t really understand them myself, but both the quality of the moustache and the quality of the player are somehow taken into account.  Full-on beardies are excluded.  Here’s my countdown:

10. Chris Whyte: An Islington-born centre-back in the sides of the early to mid 80s.  His patchy hair was more noted than his upper lip furniture, but he nonetheless was a proud exponent of the mou.  Whyte was an adequate defender but who also enjoyably filled in as striker for a while (easy to enjoy because we were hopelessly rubbish at the time, so playing a centre-back up front was good for a laugh).  But he left the club disconsolate when not offered a new contract, and spent two years playing US indoor footy before enjoying a renaissance with West Brom and then Leeds, culminating in being an ever present and playing alongside Cantona, McAllister and Strachan in the title-winning 1992 side.

9. Alan Sunderland: A man who sported the finest example of the white man’s afro, complemented by an unrepentant moustache. Sunderland deserves a higher profile in our history books, he was a potent striker, most famous for scoring the winning goal in 1979′s “five-minute final” against Man U – we were coasting at 2-0 before Gordon McQueen and Sammy McIlroy pulled it back to 2-2 in the closing minutes. Liam Brady then burst forward, released Graham Rix on the left, who floated over a high looping cross that Gary Bailey in the United goal flapped at, only to see Sunderland sweep it home at the back post. A mammoth moment. And it secured the only trophy we picked up between 1971 and 1987.

8. Viv Anderson: Many refuse to acknowledge Anderson on account of his enthusiastic departure for United (he was Ferguson’s first signing), but he was a great recruit from recent European Champs, Nottingham Forest.  With Sansom on the left flank, for a while we provided the England team with both their full-backs (Anderson having been the first black player to play for England).  I also remember being on the North Bank when a goal from big Viv contributed to a glorious 3-1 win over the mighty Liverpool.  Classic Phil Lynott-styke tache

7. Robert Pires: I still love Pires, he was such a fantastically creative player to watch.  The insanely good goal against Southampton stands out, but there were so many.  And with Henry, Bergkamp and Ljungberg, he was part of possibly the best attacking line Arsenal have ever had.  And the ludicrously Gallic Three Musketeers moustache that sometimes adorned his upper lip was the perfect accoutrement to the man.

6. Kevin Richardson: A man with no known nickname, a solid, dependable, no-nonsense, ego-free, moustachioed Geordie.  A real pro, George Graham loved him, and Richardson was a member of the side that won at Anfield THAT night in 1989.  His tache?  Well, it was a tache, nothing out of the ordinary, nothing extravagant, just your regular Joe moustache.  He looked like he would’ve been at ease in Edwardian England.

5. Kevin Campbell: Superkev – we loved him, but let’s be honest, for all his bustle and bulk, he wasn’t very good.  He was sometimes pretty effective, and I remember fondly the two goals he scored in the stunning six we racked up against Sheffield Wednesday in the last 18 minutes of a 1992 match, the score finishing 7-1 to the good guys.  A pretty straight forward tache, looked a bit dodgy in his early years but he grew into it.

4. Ian Allinson: “Ian who?” I hear younger fans ask.  Well, Allinson might have had all the charisma of a beige carpet, but he had a glory moment in the epic three-part League Cup semi-final against Spurs in 1987, when in he came on as a sub and scored the equaliser, before Rocky got the winner and we went to Wembley and won the Cup against then-mighty Liverpool.  That win proved to be the launch pad for our renaissance and led to our title wins in 1989 and 1991.  His terrible tache was in keeping with his Austin Allegro persona.

3. Kenny Sansom: Solid mou from the ever dependable left-back. Was he worth the bizarre swap for Clive Allen, sold twice in one summer?  You bet your Gillette Shaving Gel he was.  (Oops, apols for the betting reference, not really suitable when talking about Mr S.)  Time hasn’t been kind to Sansom (though his porky deterioration is as nothing compared to what’s happened to Dean Holdsworth – has anyone seen the state of him these days? Not good).  We’ve been lucky with left-backs down the years, but Sansom ranks right up there.

2. John Jensen: The cult hero’s cult hero, bad tache, bad curly hair, bad player. Yes, I say to you, yes.  This is a man who would have been judged to look uncool in 1970s East Germany.  He was not burdened with style.  When we signed a player who scored in the European Championships Final, we might have thought we could count on the new guy for a few each season.  It didn’t work out that way, and the fans (when they had a sense of humour) adopted “We’ll be there when Jensen scores!” as a song.  And once he did score, at Loftus Road.  We still lost.

1. David Seaman: Surely the only possible winner, top tache, culminating in the fantastic bad-taste combo with Spunky’s ponytail. Oh and the best keeper we’ve ever had.  OK, he might have suffered a bit with the aerial stuff (Nayim from the halfway line, Ronaldhino etc), but the £1m we spent on bringing him from QPR was a superb investment.  Had to leave his native Yorkshire because he can smile.

So there you have it – my Gooner Tache list.  Feel free to dispute it, suggest others I’ve missed etc.

But also think about contributing to the Movember cause: if you know someone doing the business, sponsor them, and if not, you can always donate on The charitable causes relate to research and awareness raising in respect of prostate and testicular cancer.  Many of us will have experienced cancer affecting family members, and these are indisputably worthy causes.

Written by 26may1989