Listening Report: Memory Lane – FA Cup 1976
The 1976 FA Cup final is one of the most well known, and the reason is simple. The result was an upset. The second division side (now the Championship) Southampton beat Manchester United, who had finished 3rd in the First Division (the Premier League now). The score was 1-0 and it was what all the neutral fans, like me, wanted.
In 1976, I was nine, and just beginning to pay attention to football, the teams, the players and the cups. I had been to my first football match for my birthday, Liverpool versus Middlesbrough. The north-east side beat ‘my’ side, The Reds, 2-0. I did, however, manage to see the current superstar Kevin Keegan, as well as other famous Liverpool players, like Callaghan and Clemence in goal.
1976 sticks in my memory for another reason: There was a severe drought in England. We couldn’t use hosepipes to wash the car at the weekend and the school field where we played football after classes until dusk was brown and dusty.
It was also the year when I fully got into the pre-match build up. Back then, the FA Cup was a huge event. It celebrated the end of the season, which that year was won by Liverpool, and appearing at Wembley, the home of football, really was the pinnacle of most players careers. The TV coverage started early in the morning: interviews with players, a visit to the teams’ hotel, reviews, what the players were eating, what they were wearing – it went on for hours! Then there were the fans – hordes of fans descending on London and walking to Wembley, filling the stadium with their singing and scarves. The 1976 final had a crowd of 99,000. I remember lying on the floor of the living room in front of the TV all morning and up until kick off!
I don’t remember too much about the game, except that I had my eye on Mick Channon who was becoming a bit of a star. Bobby Stokes scored a great goal on the break after a flick on in midfield by Channon. A goal that has gone down as one of the great FA Cup goals, giving the Saints the lead with less than 10 minutes to play. The underdogs had won. The giants had been defeated. And now it was time to get down to the school field to meet up with my mates to re-enact the game. I came back home for tea exhausted. I’d pretended to be Channon for a bit, but went back to my preferred Peter Lorimer of Leeds role – even though I wasn’t left footed and couldn’t hit a pile driver!
The 1976 FA Cup final – a glorious year.
a trip down memory lane: a phrase used to indicate that someone will talk about a good memory
an upset: a surprise result
The Reds: The nickname of Liverpool FC
sticks in my memory: remains in my memory
drought: when it doesn’t rain for an extended period of time
get into: become very interested in; like
the pinnacle of: the high point; the best
hordes of: thousands of; huge crowds of
had my eye on: was paying attention to; was watching carefully; was interested in
the Saints: The nickname of Southampton FC
a pile driver: a very powerful shot; a screamer