Underdogs who stole the show

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The Independent Online
Victory for Newcastle would be in the tradition of Cup final surprises. Phil Shaw selects his 10 greatest shocks

Launching a 15-year period sprinkled with final upsets, the side who came a distant sixth in the Second Division overcame the odds-on favourites, who had been in the top four in the First nine seasons running. Ian Porterfield volleyed Sunderland's goal and a gravity-defying double save by Jim Montgomery prevented Leeds equalising, ensuring Bob Stokoe's triumph over his bitter managerial adversary, Don Revie.

"Underground, overground, Wombling free, you'll be lucky if we only score three," roared the Liverpool fans, convinced the Double was a formality. Wimbledon, a Southern League outfit 11 years earlier, had finished 33 points behind the champions and were stereotyped as long-ball brutalists. Lawrie Sanchez's header, Dave Beasant's penalty save from John Aldridge and Don Howe's tactical nous confounded everyone.

As in '73 it was third in the First versus sixth in the Second, yet Southampton's team of gnarled veterans made United's outspoken manager Tommy Docherty eat his dismissive pre-match words. The late winner was replete with irony, a pass by ex-United schemer Jim McCalliog sending Portsmouth-born Bobby Stokes clear to fire past Alex Stepney, who seemed to dive in instalments. Still the Saints' only major honour.

"Floats like a butterfly," sneered Brian Clough, "and stings like one too." He was discussing Trevor Brooking, who proceeded to seal a third Second Division success in eight finals with a rare headed goal. Although West Ham had international players like Brooking and Stuart Pearson, they had finished a humble eighth (one place above Cambridge) compared with fourth in the top section for the Cup- holders, Arsenal.

Southern League Spurs, who came from behind to defeat First Division United in a replay, remain the only non-League side to win the Cup since the Football League's formation. Sandy Brown beat the 20st keeper William "Fatty" Foulke in both matches. The first, at the old Crystal Palace, drew the sport's first six-figure gate. Few Spurs supporters made it to Bolton for the second but 40,000 welcomed them home.

Newcastle were to the Edwardian era what Liverpool were in the 1970s and 80s or Manchester United are today. They had won the championship in two of the previous seasons and would so again 12 months later, but kept losing Cup finals. The most improbable of three defeats in four years was by Wolves, ninth in the Second Division, for whom the Oxford- educated Reverend Kenneth Hunt scored from 25 yards.

Dubbed the "Monkey glands final" after Portsmouth's players were given them to boost their energy levels at Wembley. Wolves, runners-up for the second successive year, had the First Division's best defensive record and the 17th-placed underdogs its worst scoring tally. Not for the last time, the form book counted for nothing once Pompey's Bert Barlow started the rout of the club who had discarded him two months earlier.

The last fling of the "gentlemen" amateurs before the professionals commandeered the competition. Played at The Oval, the match brought a first defeat of the season for Blackburn, who had amassed 28 goals in reaching the final. The Rt Hon Arthur Fitzgerald Kinnaird scored and, after collecting his fifth winner's medal in nine attempts, performed the symbolic feat of standing on his head in front of the pavilion.

The 50th Wembley final pitted the big-city slickers of Arsenal, fifth in the top flight and regular visitors to the twin towers, against the Ipswich "bumpkins" from East Anglia, 18th-placed and making their first appearance. Suffolk-born Roger Osborne dumfounded the experts, was immediately substituted after being "overcome with emotion" and within two years left on a free transfer to Colchester.

After three consecutive championships, Huddersfield were again challenging for the title (they would finish second) while Blackburn were fighting relegation (they escaped by three points). A goal in 40 seconds, when James Roscamp barged the keeper over the line, gave Rovers an initiative they never relinquished. One Town fan, William Quinn, walked to Wembley, but returned ruefully by train.

FORTY UNDERDOG DAYS

Forty of the 90 FA Cup winners beat opponents who finished higher in the League. Newcastle have managed that feat more than any other club - in 1924, 1932, 1951, 1952, 1955.

(League position in brackets; Premiership or First Division unless stated)

1891-92:

West Brom (12th) 3 Aston Villa (4th) 0

1892-93

Wolves (11th) 1 Everton (3rd) 0

1893-94

Notts Co (3rd, Div 2) 4 Bolton (13th) 1

1898-99

Sheffield Utd (16th) 4 Derby (9th) 1

1900-01

Tottenham (non-lge) 3 Sheff Utd (14th) 1

1905-06

Everton (11th) 1 Newcastle (4th) 0

1906-07

Sheff Wed (13th) 2 Everton (3rd) 1

1907-08

Wolves (9th, Div 2) 3 Newcastle (4th) 1

1908-09

Man Utd (13th) 1 Bristol City (8th) 0

1911-12

Barnsley (6th, Div 2) 1 West Brom (9th) 0

1912-13

Aston Villa (2nd) 1 Sunderland (1st) 0

1923-24

Newcastle (9th) 2 Aston Villa (6th) 0

1924-25

Sheffield Utd (14th) 1 Cardiff (11th) 0

1926-27

Cardiff (14th) 1 Arsenal (11th) 0

1927-28

Blackburn (12th) 3 Huddersfield (2nd) 1

1929-30

Arsenal (14th) 2 Huddersfield (10th) 0

1930-31

West Brom (2nd, Div 2) 2 Birmingham (19th) 1

1931-32

Newcastle (11th) 2 Arsenal (2nd) 1

1938-39

Portsmouth (17th) 4 Wolves (2nd) 1

1950-51

Newcastle (4th) 2 Blackpool (3rd) 0

1951-52

Newcastle (8th) 1 Arsenal (3rd) 0

1954-55

Newcastle (8th) 3 Man City (7th) 1

1956-57

Aston Villa (10th) 2 Man Utd (1st) 1

1957-58

Bolton (15th) 2 Man Utd (9th) 0

1961-62

Tottenham (3rd) 3 Burnley (2nd) 1

1962-63

Man Utd (19th) 3 Leicester (4th) 1

1964-65

Liverpool (7th) 2 Leeds (2nd) 1

1967-68

West Brom (8th) 1 Everton (5th) 0

1969-70

Chelsea (3rd) 2 Leeds (2nd) 1

1972-73

Sunderland (6th, Div 2) 1 Leeds (3rd)0

1975-76

Southampton (6th, Div 2) 1 Man Utd (3rd) 0

1976-77

Man Utd (6th) 2 Liverpool (1st) 1

1977-78

Ipswich (18th) 1 Arsenal (5th) 0

1979-80

West Ham (7th, Div 2) 1 Arsenal (4th) 0

1984-85

Man Utd (4th) 1 Everton (1st) 0

1986-87

Coventry (10th) 3 Tottenham (3rd) 2

1987-88

Wimbledon (7th) 1 Liverpool (1st) 0

1990-91

Tottenham (10th) 2 Nottm Forest (8th) 1

1992-93

Arsenal (10th) 2 Sheff Wed (7th) 1

1994-95

Everton (15th) 1 Man Utd (2nd) 0

Statistics: David Mohan

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