ESPN, in conjunction with Budweiser, the official sponsor of the FA Cup, today launches a search to establish fans’ all-time favourite moments from the world’s oldest and most illustrious domestic football competition.
ESPN will reveal fans’ favourite FA Cup moments in a variety of categories as part of the sports media company’s extensive all-day, on-site build up to the FA Cup Final on 11th May 2013.
Voting categories will be initiated round by round at ESPN.co.uk/facuppoll – starting ahead of the Third Round with a vote for the Greatest FA Cup Giant-Killings.
Fans are being given a shortlist of five moments to vote on per category, chosen by the ESPN.co.uk/facuppoll editorial team from ESPN Classic’s extensive archive of FA Cup moments. Fans will be encouraged to share their recollections and views of their favourite moments via #ToTheDream on twitter, with selected comments featured on ESPN’s televised FA Cup coverage through the season. Additionally, two fans who share their views via #ToTheDream will be randomly selected to win two tickets to the FA Cup Final in May.
Charles Classen, Senior Director Commercial, Digital and Marketing, ESPN: “The FA Cup is one of the world’s most loved and treasured tournaments. Every fan has their own special connection to football’s oldest cup competition. As we continue a very successful collaboration with Budweiser, we aim to engage fans with discussion and discover their favourite moments from The Cup’s past are, as we bring another new chapter of The Cup to them on TV, online and on mobile.”
After voting for the greatest giant-killings, the vote ahead of the Fourth Round will ask fans to pick the Greatest FA Cup Goal. Ahead of the Fifth Round fans will choose the Greatest FA Cup Comeback, and as the final eight teams contest the Sixth Round, the poll will shortlist the games that have been instrumental in changing the long term fortunes of clubs and players – in FA Cup Games That Changed History. As the Cup reaches the Semi-Final and Final, ESPN will revisit some of the best matches to have taken place at those stages, and ask fans to select the Greatest FA Cup Semi-Final and the Greatest FA Cup Final.
Voting has now opened for the Matches That Changed History, with Bolton Wanderers’ 1923 Wembley Final being selected as one of the options fans can vote for as their match that changed history. The following matches have been selected for this poll:
1923 – The first ever Wembley final
The first FA Cup final following the construction of the original Wembley Empire Stadium saw King George V make his way to the ground for the grand occasion, only to be joined by around 300,000 fans, a majority ignoring the large ‘Pay here’ signs on the gates as they swarmed through the gates and, eventually, onto the field. Around 1,000 fans required the attentions of ambulance workers and the game was held up for 45 minutes, but a semblance of order was restored when reinforcements were called in and policemen on horseback were able to clear the field. The image of one policeman on a white horse led the occasion to be known as the ‘White Horse’ Final. Bolton won the game 2-0.
1961 – FA Cup win seals first Double of the century
Inspired by talismanic manager Bill Nicholson, Spurs became the first club since Aston Villa in 1897 to secure the Double in the 1960-61 season, the first of the 20th century while accumulating a record-equalling 66 points. A reputation for flair was established – with attacking players such as Les Allen, John White and Bobby Smith in full flight – while in Danny Blanchflower and Dave Mackay, Spurs boasted two of the most formidable midfielders in English football. Their Wembley final win was eventually secured at a canter after Leicester lost defender Len Chalmers to a broken leg. Smith and winger Terry Dyson scored the goals to secure immortality.
1991 – Kenny Dalglish’s last game as manager of Liverpool
A wondrous Merseyside derby match, in itself a Fourth Round replay, was given extra resonance by it proving to be Kenny Dalglish’s last in charge of his first spell before stepping down a couple of days later when he admitted he could no longer deal with the stresses of the job. Peter Beardsley, Graeme Sharp, Tony Cottee, Ian Rush and John Barnes were all on the scoresheet and not even extra-time could separate the clubs, as Liverpool’s defence in particular collapsed. Dalglish stood on the sidelines helplessly before going home to tell his wife Marina that enough was enough. The second replay ended with Everton triumphing 1-0.
1991 – Gazza’s greatest day
Paul Gascoigne made headlines for all the right reasons during the FA Cup semi-final against Arsenal at Wembley. Gascoigne had undergone an abdominal operation little over a month before the game, and there had been much debate over whether he would be selected, but Spurs boss Terry Venables plied the midfielder with painkillers and hoped for the best. He succumbed to cramp after 61 minutes, but that hour had given him all the time he needed to produce a career-defining performance. He opened the scoring by striking a sublime 30-yard free-kick into the top corner. Gascoigne then played his part in Gary Lineker’s goal for 2-0 before departing to leave his team-mates to complete the job. He would never have it so good.
2009 – The fastest ever Cup Final goal
Louis Saha opened the scoring after just 25 seconds for Everton, the fastest ever goal in an FA Cup Final, though Didier Drogba equalised in the 21st minute before Frank Lampard scored the winner with 19 minutes left to play to give Chelsea their fifth FA Cup success.