Battle lines drawn for the game's ultimate mismatch
Manchester United have Old Trafford, Bobby Charlton and Angus Deayton. Millwall have the New Den, Barry Kitchener and Mo from EastEnders. Nick Harris assesses today's final opponents in Cardiff
Saturday 22 May 2004
Formed in 1902 after predecessors Newton Heath (formed in 1878) went bankrupt. Have spent only one season outside the top division since 1938. League champions 15 times (eight times in the Premiership). European champions twice.
Formed in 1885 as Millwall Rovers by Scottish employees of a jam and marmalade factory on the Isle of Dogs. Won East End Cup in 1887. Have only ever spent two seasons in the top division, 1988-90. European debut next season.
FA CUP PEDIGREE
Winners 10 times (a record). This year's final will be their 16th (a record, shared with Arsenal). The only holders ever to refuse to defend their trophy (in 1999-2000).
First final this year. Have reached semis four times, in 1900 and 1903 as non-league team, in 1937 as Third Division team (first team from that division to make the semis) and now.
FA CUP RECORDS
No FA Cup single this year, but there have been 33 previous records either by United or dedicated to them. These included official FA Cup tunes in 1976, 1979, 1983, 1985, 1990 and 1994. The 1995 offering was "We're Gonna Do It Again". They didn't, losing to Everton.
Have released their first ever FA Cup song this year. "Oh Millwall", sung to the tune of "Volare", is described as "unique in being the first official FA Cup song by any club to include both players and fans singing". Sample lyrics: "Oh Millwall, wo oh, la la la la, from the Den right down the M4, Oi, Oi, We'll see our Lions score."
Alice Saxe, aged 99, is United's oldest season ticket holder. She was a toddler when United, inspired by Billy Meredith (below), won their first league title in 1908 and aged five when they moved to a new home - Old Trafford - in 1910. She had been drawing her pension for three years when United first won the European Cup in 1968. Since the early 1990s she has travelled to games from her Leicester home with fellow members of the Rugby and Nuneaton supporters' branch. Health problems will prevent her attendance in Cardiff.
Frank Whipple, age 96, is Millwall's oldest season ticket holder. He attends games with son Harry, grandson Andrew and great-granddaughter Lois.
First match: 1918 v Arsenal.
Attended 1945 wartime FA Cup final v Chelsea.
Highlight: "Beating the great Huddersfield team 3-1 in the third round of the 1927 FA Cup. They had seven internationals. We were in the Third Division. There was a crowd of 45,000 at the old Den." Prediction for today: "Tough. But if Dennis Wise plays, he's the inspiration and we'll put up a show."
FA CUP SHOCKERS
Were on receiving end of one of the biggest post-war Cup shocks in 1984 when Ron Atkinson's men lost 2-0 at Bournemouth in the third round. Third Division Bournemouth were managed by Harry Redknapp.
Produced one of the most astonishing giant-killings when they beat Huddersfield 3-1 in the third round in 1927. Huddersfield's team had been assembled by the great Herbert Chapman and had just won three league titles in a row.
HEAD TO HEAD
Have played Millwall six times at Old Trafford, winning five and drawing one. Biggest win there was 7-1 in old Second Division in 1932. Last meeting there was saw a 5-1 win in September 1989. The clubs have never met at a neutral venue.
Have played United seven times at home, winning only once (a 2-0 victory in 1931), drawing twice and losing four times, including the last meeting, 2-1, in February 1990. Their only FA Cup meeting was at The Den in 1953 and Millwall lost 1-0
HAIRDRYER VERSUS HARDMAN
Sir Alex Ferguson once said that Dennis Wise could start a fight in an empty room. He declined to add anything about pots and kettles. The United manager has long ruled his dressing rooms with an acid tongue (and the odd kick of a football boot and shove of a table). But his record in the FA Cup has been good, winning it four times since 1990. The successes in 1994 and 1996 came as part of Doubles while 1999's win was part of a Treble.
Dennis Wise, a cheeky chappy or reckless headcase depending on your affiliation, has been sent off 13 times in a 20-year career and has had more than his share of off-field troubles. He escaped a three-month prison sentence for assault in 1995 after being acquitted on appeal. He was sacked by Leicester for breaking a team-mate's jaw. Has won FA Cup three times (with Wimbledon and twice with Chelsea) and lost once (against United with Chelsea in 1994).
RECORD-MAKING OLD BOYS
Bobby Charlton (left): Most capped player at United (106 England caps); most League appearances for United (606).
Dennis Violet: Most League goals for United in a season (32 in 1959-60).
Eric Cantona: First foreign player to captain an FA Cup-winning side in the 20th century. Cantona did it in 1996 against Liverpool.
Eamon Dunphy (right): Most capped player at Millwall (23 Republic of Ireland caps).
Barry Kitchener: Most League appearances (523).
Richard Parker: Most League goals for Millwall in a season (37 in 1926-27).
FB Kidd: Manager in 1898-99 when his reserve team won a record 30 of 30 league matches, scoring 212 goals.
Manchester United's plc chairman, Sir Roy Gardner, is a pillar of the Establishment. A former director at GEC and British Gas plc, he is also the chief executive of Centrica plc, the President of Carers UK and the government-appointed chair of the National Modern Apprenticeship Task Force. Sir Roy has been a director at United since 2000 and became the chairman in 2002. He prefers to stay out of the limelight
Knickers and notepads are the business background of Millwall's flamboyant chairman, Theo Paphitis, whose business interests include the La Senza lingerie firm and Rymans stationers. Hard work and a no-nonsense approach at Millwall have helped transform the club's fortunes and image. Has been an influential force in helping the Football League to modernise and become more businesslike. Revels in the sort of publicity today will bring.
COMMON GROUND (BUT WE GOT HIM FIRST)
George Graham (left): Played at United in the early 1970s under Tommy Docherty and then managed Millwall in the 1980s.
Jimmy Nichol: Played at United in the 1970s and managed Millwall in 1996-97.
Ray Wilkins: Played for United from 1979 to 1984 and is now an integral part of Dennis Wise's management team at Millwall.
Alex Stepney (right): Started his career at The Den in the early 1960s but made his name with United in the late 1960s and 1970s.
Gordon Hill: Played for Millwall until 1975, when he moved to Manchester United for £70,000.
Teddy Sheringham: Spent seven years at Millwall (1984-1991) and played for United from 1997 to 2001.
Fewest goals conceded in a Second Division season, 23 in 1924-25; only team to win a Treble of League, FA Cup and European Cup; record number of wins in a Premiership season, 28 from 38 in 1999-2000.
Set a record for the most goals ever scored in a league season with 127 in 42 games in the Third Division South in 1927-28. Held the record for the longest unbeaten run at home, 59 games in the late 1960s.
SHOP FOR SUCCESS
Three FA Cup items are currently vying for dominance in unit sales: the Cup foam hand, the Cup rosette and the Cup wig.
FA Cup shirt has sold "thousands". Fastest-selling item this week is the Cup CD, "Oh Millwall", with 1,500 sales at £3.99 in first three days.
A recent survey claimed United had 50 million fans worldwide, including 12m in the UK. There are 110 official supporters' branches in England, Scotland and Wales, 86 in Ireland and 23 in the rest of the world. Average home attendance is 67,641.
Have one official supporters' club in England and one official fledgling branch in Australia. Other overseas fans' groups include the Antwerp Lions in Belgium and the US Lions in America. Average home attendance is 9,711.
United have a Stock Market value of around £600m. The biggest fee they have paid for a player was £30m for Rio Ferdinand. The biggest fee received was £25m for David Beckham.
Millwall have a Stock Market value of around £5m. The biggest fee they have paid for a player was £800,000 for Paul Goddard. The biggest fee received was £2.3m for Mark Kennedy.
United will contest their 16th FA Cup final today, after a Cup run involving 16 goals. United's key figure is likely to be Roy Keane, their No 16. Omen? Defeat could hasten the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson and the arrival of the 16th different manager in United's history.
Millwall contested the fourth FA Cup semi-final of their history on the fourth day of the fourth month of 2004. Their winner was scored by their No 4, Cahill. The opponents' No 4, Jason McAteer, was sent off. Omen? Millwall to win 4-0 in the final.
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