We take a look back at one of podcasts from our archives (2013) in which we look at five of the most memorable finals to have taken place at Wembley Stadium in my lifetime. You can listen to the report by clicking on the link below, while vocabulary support (in bold) appears at the foot of the report.

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The Biggest Upset 1973 (Sunderland 1-0 Leeds United)

Although there would be subsequent instances when teams from the second tier of English football managed to win the Cup against First Division sides (West Ham beating Arsenal in 1980 and Southampton defeating Manchester United in 1976), Sunderland’s victory in 1973 stands out as the greatest shock of them all. Leeds United were the holders of the Cup and one of the most dominant teams in English football at the time and were expected to sweep aside a Sunderland side that had finished mid-table in the Second Division. Two incidents dominated the game: first the underdogs Sunderland scored through an Ian Porterfield goal and then in the second half their keeper Jim Montgomery made an outstanding double save to thwart Leeds. A truly remarkable upset.

The Ricky Villa Final 1981 (Tottenham 3-2 Manchester City)

The 1981 final pitted Manchester City against Tottenham and was the first final to go to a replay in over a decade after the two teams played out a 1-1 draw at the first attempt. In that game Tottenham and Argentinian midfielder Ricky Villa had been substituted after a poor performance but in the replay he was back in the starting XI and he re-paid his manager’s faith by scoring one in the first half and then adding a second late on in the second. The winning goal has gone down as one of the greatest FA Cup winning goals of modern times after Villa dribbled past three (or was it four?) Manchester City players before slotting the ball home. Great days!

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The First Merseyside Final 1986 (Liverpool 3-1 Everton)

Liverpool had already won the league the week before and so were going for their first ever double. Ironically their opponents, city-rivals Everton, had finished runners-up in the league and so this was seen as a great chance for the Blues to put one over on Liverpool. They started the game well and took the lead with a well-struck Lineker goal but Liverpool hit back with three second half goals to give player-manager Kenny Dalglish an amazing end to his first season in charge.

The Crazy Gang Final 1988 (Wimbledon 1-0 Liverpool)

Liverpool were looking to complete their second league and cup double and were odds-on favourites to do so after sweeping all before them in the 1987-88 league season. Wimbledon were not expected to stand in their way but in a game full of firsts the ‘Crazy Gang‘ managed to cause one of the biggest upsets in FA Cup history thanks to a Lawrie Sanchez goal in the first half. Liverpool were the first team to miss a penalty in the final after Wimbledon keeper Dave Beasant saved from John Aldridge, while Beasant also became the first ever keeper to lift the trophy as captain – the first ever trophy that the south-London club had won.

Gazza vs Clough 1991 (Tottenham 2-1 Nottingham Forest)

Apologies for mentioning another Spurs win but this game had it all. Paul Gascoigne was Tottenham’s talisman and had helped his side get to the final with amazing performances on the Road to Wembley. His final was to only last 15 minutes as he was carried off on a stretcher after a terrible tackle on Nottingham Forest’s Gary Charles. From the resulting free-kick Spurs found themselves one down but it was to get even worse as first they had a good goal disallowed for offside and then England striker Gary Lineker missed a penalty. It looked as if this would be Forest manager Brian Clough’s first ever Cup victory to cap a brilliant managerial career. But Spurs hit back and a Paul Stewart equaliser forced extra time before an own goal won it for the London side. More great days.

What was the best ever FA Cup final that you have seen? Let us know by posting a comment below.


  • to sweep aside: Defeat easily
  • to thwart: To stop or prevent from winning
  • starting XI: The players who begin the match (11 players)
  • re-payed his manager’s faith: He played well this time
  • dribbled past: To go past, to beat a player
  • slotting the ball home: To score
  • to put one over on: To defeat, gain revenge
  • odds-on favourites: Hot favourites; expected to win
  • sweeping all before them: Winning everything
  • Crazy Gang: The nickname for Wimbledon
  • one down: Losing 0-1
  • to cap: To finish off

Good Bye

DF: OK, that’s it for this short podcast – we hope you have enjoyed our look at some of the words and phrases from previous FA Cup finals and you can contact us by dropping us a line at: admin@languagecaster.com. You can also check out languagecaster’s football glossary which has a huge selection of football vocabulary.

Learn English Through Football
Learn English Through Football
Learn English Through Football


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