Their last FA Cup final ... the glorious pasts of this year's four semi-finalists

Just for once, fans of all the teams left need long memories to remember their last time at English football's showpiece

This year's semi-finalists are a bonanza for souvenir sellers. There will be no wearing last year's memorabilia, as is often the case in recent years. None of the quartet has reached a final for 40 years, three have not made it since the Second World War and Barnsley not since before the First. So even if Dad, or Grandad, kept his FA Cup momentoes they will be far too valuable to dig out of the loft and wave around at Wembley this weekend.

Barnsley: 1912

More than 200 coaches will leave South Yorkshire for Wembley tomorrow. When Barnsley last reached the FA Cup final, 96 years ago, horse-drawn charabanc was a more likely mode of transport. There was no Sat Nav then but the nags should have known the way, it was Barnsley's second final at the old Crystal Palace in three years. In 1910 the Second Division club had taken Newcastle to a replay before losing. They again held top-flight opposition in West Bromwich before winning the replay, at nearby Bramall Lane, 1-0 with a goal two minutes from the end of extra-time from Harry Tufnell.

Barnsley's strength was defence, with six goalless draws in their record 12-match Cup run including three against Bradford City, knocking the holders out 1-0. The following year Barnsley sold half-back George Utley to Sheffield United for a British record £2,000 and their fortunes declined.

Champions: Blackburn.

British record transfer fee: £1,000 Alf Common (Sunderland to Middlesbrough, 1905).

Also that year: The Titanic sinks; Scott dies in the Antarctic.

Prime Minister: Herbert Asquith (Liberal).

Monarch: George V.

Killer fact: For the third successive season the final was drawn, a feat not achieved again for 58 years.

Cardiff City: 1927

The first and, to date, only time the FA Cup has left England, except on the increasingly common sponsors' promotional tours. Cardiff's win was famously attributed to the greasy surface of Arsenal goalkeeper Dan Lewis's new jersey, not least by the goalkeeper himself as he fumbled Hughie Ferguson's 73rd-minute shot, the ball slipping from his chest and into the net via his elbow. For decades, it is said, Arsenal always washed their keeper's jersey before use.

The Bluebirds credit the win to Trixie, a black cat they adopted as a lucky mascot. The cat followed a number of City players around a golf course, leading to the players adopting the moggie.

Champions: Newcastle.

Record transfer fee: £6,500 Bob Kelly (Burnley to Sunderland, 1925).

Also that year: Charles Lindburgh flies the Atlantic; first transatlantic phonecall made.

Prime Minister: Ramsey MacDonald (Labour).

Monarch: George V.

Killer fact: Abide With Me sung for the first time before a final.

Portsmouth: 1939

By now it was firmly established that any Cup run was as likely to be the result of luck as skill. Portsmouth thus arrived placing their faith in manager Jack Tinn's "lucky spats". Wolves flamboyant manager Major Frank Buckley trusted in his team's special diet featuring 'monkey gland' supplements. The shoes won with struggling Pompey creating one of the biggest final upsets by beating Wolves 4-1.

Wolves, who were also runners-up in the League, had Stan Cullis at the heart of their defence but they were given the runaround by Portsmouth.

Pompey's opening goal came from a familiar face, Bert Barlow having been on the Molineux books just two months previously. John Anderson added a second prior to half-time before a Cliff Parker brace sandwiched Dicky Dorsett's reply.

For once "consolation" was an appropriate description of his goal, as the teenager was at the time the youngest FA Cup final scorer. John Sissons (West Ham United 1964) and Norman Whiteside (Manchester United, 1983).

Ten years later Cullis became the youngest FA Cup-winning manager, guiding Wolves to victory over Leicester aged 33.

Champions: Everton.

Record transfer fee: £14,500 (Bryn Jones, Wolves to Arsenal, 1938).

Also that year: Second World War declared.

Prime Minister: Neville Chamberlain (Conservative).

Monarch: George VI.

Killer fact: Portsmouth held the trophy for six years as a result of the Second World war. It remained safe despite heavy bombing of the naval port.

West Bromwich Albion: 1968

Modern trends had begun to infiltrate the game. Both sides wore their away shirts in the final and West Brom's Dennis Clarke became the first substitute in an FA Cup final. He replaced the injured John Kaye for extra time. This was long overdue as many finals had been ruined by a player suffering injury. With 37-year-old John Osbourne keeping a clean sheet the tie was won by Jeff Astle's extra-time winner. This earned the Baggies their fifth triumph and enabled Astle to become only the eighth player to score in every round of the tournament. Only Peter Osgood (Chelsea, 1970) has since achieved the feat.

Everton's line-up included future Goodison Park managers Howard Kendall, Joe Royle and Colin Harvey.

Champions: Manchester City

Record transfer fee: £125,000 (Martin Chivers, Southampton to Tottenham, 1968)

Also that year: Martin Luther King assassinated; student riots in Paris.

Prime Minister: Harold Wilson (Labour)

Monarch: Elizabeth II

Killer fact: The first final to be televised in colour.

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