The long and glorious history of the FA Cup final has produced its fair share of curious firsts, says Olly Ricketts…
This Saturday’s Wembley showpiece between Arsenal and Aston Villa will be the 134th FA Cup final. Short of Tim Sherwood becoming the first manager to use the word ‘slag’ in a post-match press conference, just about everything that could happen has happened in this great showpiece…
The first ever FA Cup final goalscorer was Morton Betts, whose strike settled the 1872 final for Wanderers against Royal Engineers in front of 2,000 people at Kennington Oval. Betts, who played the final under the school-honouring pseudonym AH Chequer, was a defender – a rarity when the formation was usually 1-1-8 – but his only England cap came as a goalkeeper.
The first player to score in every round of the FA Cup was Aston Villa’s cup-lifting captain Archie Hunter in 1887. Since then, 11 others have managed it, with an honourable mention to non-league Tottenham’s Sandy Brown in 1901. Chelsea’s Peter Osgood was the last to achieve it in 1970 – and with big clubs resting key players in early rounds it may be a while before someone repeats the feat.
FA Cup final hat-tricks are scarcer still. William Townley was the first, hitting a treble in Blackburn Rovers’ 1890 victory over The Wednesday. James Logan did similar for Notts County in 1894 against Bolton, who were also the defeated team in 1953 when Blackpool’s Stan Mortensen became perhaps the most unjustly overlooked FA Cup finalist in history, bagging three and still seeing the match referred to forever more as the Matthews Final. No player has scored a final hat-trick since; you could get quite good odds on a Tom Cleverley hat-trick in a match subsequently dubbed the Delph Final.
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