England World Cup-winning captain and Man Utd slayer feature in FA Cup underdog XI
Bobbies Moore and Stokes feature at either end of this FA Cup underdog XI as we contemplate the prospect of an EFL side reaching Wembley…
This season, half of the teams in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup are from outside the top-flight and with Sheffield United facing Blackburn Rovers, there will be at least one Football League side in the semis. Could this be the first year since 2008 that we see a non-Premier League club in the final?
Here’s an XI made up from players who helped make those underdog dreams come true…
Goalkeeper: Jim Montgomery
There have been some memorable moments in-between the sticks during FA Cup finals; Bert Trautmann’s broken neck, Dave Beasant saving John Aldridge’s penalty, defender Jackie Blanchflower playing in goal for the majority of the match in 1957. However, Jim Montgomery’s crusade for a clean sheet in the 1973 final is perhaps the most famous, with his double save keeping out holders Leeds United and helping Division Two outfit Sunderland win the trophy for a second time. If you fancy a goalkeeper challenge, try naming the Black Cats ‘keeper who lined up at Wembley against Liverpool in 1992.
Centre-back: Terry Fenwick
Tottenham went into the final of 1982 as defending champions, having seen off Manchester City the previous year in a match remembered for Ricky Villa’s marvellous solo goal. Spurs needed a replay in that contest and it proved to be the same the following May, with second tier QPR holding the holders after Terry Fenwick equalised for the Hoops against his future employers in extra time
Centre-back: Tony Singleton
Two years before he led England to World Cup glory, a 23-year-old Bobby Moore captained West Ham to a maiden FA Cup win. The Hammers faced a Preston North End side that had narrowly missed out on promotion to the First Division and reached the final with a 2-1 win over Swansea in the semis, with long serving defender Singleton getting the winner. Determined to become the first second-tier team to win the trophy since West Brom in 1931, PNE twice took the lead at Wembley, only to be pegged back both times before being beaten by a last-minute header from Ronnie Boyce.
Centre-back: Bobby Moore
In 1975, eleven years later after Moore lifted the trophy, West Ham were champions once again and it was another Second Division team defeated in the final, only this time Moore was a runner-up. Now at the end of his career, the match proved to be the iconic defender’s last appearance at Wembley as his Fulham side lost out to the club that he had served with such memorable distinction for well over a decade.
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Right-wing: Billy Harrison
Between 1905 and 1911 Newcastle United reached five FA Cup finals and though it may be hard to believe given their painfully-prolonged trophy drought in the modern era, the Magpies were also league champions three times in this period too. Given they’d reached such lofty heights, it proved to be a huge shock when mid-table Second Division side Wolves managed to best them in the final of the 1908 FA Cup, with Molineux legend Harrison scoring a fine solo effort to seal victory.
Central midfield: Harry Tufnell
Two years later Newcastle had a shot at redemption after reaching another final and yet again facing opposition in a tier below. However, Barnsley proved to be no pushovers, with Harry Tufnell putting the Tykes ahead before a late goal from England international Jock Rutherford earned the Magpies a replay, which they duly won. Two years later and still in Division Two, Barnsley reached the final once more and Tufnell was on the scoresheet again, although this time it proved to be a winner, with top-flight West Brom unable to find the net.
Central midfield: Trevor Brooking
As mentioned earlier, 1964 and 1975 saw West Ham United face second-tier sides in the final, but in 1980 the boot was on the other foot…..although there was no boot or foot involved in the match winner. Trevor Brooking’s stooping header past Arsenal ‘keeper Pat Jennings won the trophy for John Lyall’s Hammers, who finished seventh in Division Two that season.
Central midfield: Tim Cahill
The draw for the semis of the 2004 FA Cup saw Premier League big hitters Manchester United and Arsenal meet, meaning a First Division side would make the final as Sunderland and Millwall faced off in the other tie. The Lions prevailed to reach the final for the first time in their history after Australian star Tim Cahill scored the only goal of the game in the first half. However, winning the whole thing proved to be a step too far, with the Red Devils cruising to a 3-0 win at the Millennium Stadium.
Left-wing: Jimmy Ruffell
The famous ‘White Horse Final’ of 1923 was the first to be played at Wembley, with a bulging crowd resulting in mounted police officers coming in to clear the pitch of spectators. Top-flight Bolton Wanderers ended up getting the better of second tier West Ham once the match was able to commence but the Hammers had impressed on route to their first ever FA Cup final. A 5-2 demolition of Derby County in the semis at Stamford Bridge saw England international Ruffell find the net but unfortunately the winger had less luck at Wembley, where a plethora of over-exuberant fans ended up injuring his shoulder before kick-off.
Striker: Bobby Stokes
Having finished just four points behind league champions Liverpool in 1976, Manchester United went into the FA Cup Final as firm favourites ahead of second-tier Southampton. However, Tommy Docherty’s men failed to convert a number of chances, enabling Saints striker Bobby Stokes to score a late winner and give the south coast club their first, and to date only, taste of success in the competition.
Striker: Sandy Brown
In 1901 Tottenham Hotspur finished fifth in the First Division…..the Southern Football League First Division, where they competed with teams such as Chatham Town, Gravesend United and New Brompton. Despite their lowly status at the time, Spurs managed to reach the FA Cup Final and after holding top-flight Sheffield United to a draw, they went on to win the replay 3-1, becoming the first and only non-league side to lift the trophy. Scotsman Sandy Brown was the hero, scoring in every round of the competition and three times in the final.
James Wiles – whose Instagram has a whole load more XIs
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