This is the third in an exclusive series of FA Cup Memories from all across the football spectrum.
Every day from May 1st, 2020, a new set of FA Cup memories will be published via this FACupFactfile blog and today is the turn of a former England International and Footballer of the Year.
SERIES ONE No. 3
Connection to the world of Football: ex pro footballer, now work in media for BBC 5Live
Chris is no ordinary ex pro footballer, lighting up matches wherever he played, producing extraordinary goals and great pieces of skill, and collecting three Ligue 1 titles in France whilst playing for Marseilles (where his name is still revered).
Chris was voted as Football Writer’s Footballer of the Year in 1993 whilst playing for Sheffield Wednesday and appeared in both domestic Cup Finals that season. His free-kick in the FA Cup Semi-Final that year is right up there as one of the best goals in the competition’s last four round.
First memory of the FA Cup: Chris says, “Spurs versus Chelsea FA Cup Final, the first FA Cup Final or memory of the Cup I can remember. From then on I wanted to play in an FA Cup Final.”
That 1967 FA Cup Final was the first one to be contested by two London teams, and was won 2-1 by Tottenham Hotspur. Twenty years after initially wanting to play in an FA Cup Final, Chris achieved his desire when representing Spurs in the 1987 Final against Coventry City.
It wasn’t to be for Chris that day as Coventry City sprang an FA Cup upset, and nor would it be six years later when Sheffield Wednesday and Chris Waddle finally succumbed to a last minute of extra time goal scored by Arsenal in the 1993 FA Cup Final replay, the last ever Cup Final replay.
Chris may never have lifted the FA Cup Trophy itself, but he did more than just play in a Final – he scored the equalising goal in that 1993 Cup Final replay.
Favourite memory of the FA Cup: Chris says, “The Sunderland ‘73 win – yes I was a Sunderland fan so watching them beat Leeds United, who were a great team, was a fairy-tale. And that’s why the FA Cup is made of dreams. Where I lived there was only one other Sunderland fan, all the rest where Maggie’s. Luckily I could run fast!”
Who knew Chris Waddle was a Sunderland fan?
What I love about this being Chris’s favourite FA Cup memory is that it is one conjured from the mind of an FA Cup fan. Never mind that Chris has twice come close to lifting the Trophy and scored an FA Cup Final goal. Forget the fact he scored one of the best FA Cup Semi-Final goals. No, his favourite memory of the FA Cup is of the team he supported as a kid producing the most unlikely of FA Cup victories. An unlikely dream that came true.
Last FA Cup match attended: Manchester City v Watford FA Cup Final 2019, 6-0
Chris says, “How good were Man City!”
It was a remarkable FA Cup Final. Manchester City not only became the first club to win the domestic treble as a consequence of lifting the FA Cup, but they also equalled a 106 year record of the biggest margin of victory in an FA Cup Final.
Added to that City scored a total of 26 goals en route to lifting the Trophy, a record number of goals scored by the winning team since the current format of the competition was adopted in 1925-26 season (excludes 1945-46 when there were two-legged ties). They also scored an average of 4.33 goals per game, another post 1925-26 season record.
On top of that Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling bagged a brace apiece in the Final, the first time ever two different places have both scored two goals in the same FA Cup Final match for the same club.
Watford also created an FA Cup record that game, albeit an unwanted one. The Hornets are the only club to appear in more than one FA Cup Final and fail to score a goal. Watford also became the 10th different club of the 2010s to be runners-up in the FA Cup, the only time there has been 10 different clubs losing the Final in the same decade.
Thoughts on the future of the FA Cup: Chris says, “Needs more respect.”
I concur that the FA Cup deserves more respect across the board. It’s easy to be dewy-eyed about the FA Cup and reminisce about its past glories, but it is the oldest Cup competition in the world, it’s the only domestic Trophy that connects the formation of the sport to the present day, and it’s the only competition that involves clubs across the length and breadth of the country. It deserves respect.
The FA Cup is approaching its 150th anniversary. There is an ideal opportunity then to raise its profile once more and maybe garner the football-wide respect I believe it warrants.
I’d like to express my sincere thanks to Chris for taking the time to provide me with his personal FA Cup memories. If you get the chance, do listen out for Chris when he covers the game on BBC 5 Live and beyond.
No. 4 in this FA Cup memories series, the recollections of someone who will be recognised by anybody involved in Non-League football, can be read by clicking on this link: https://facupfactfile.wordpress.com/2020/05/04/fa-cup-memories-series-14-tony-incenzo/
No. 2 in this FA Cup Memories series, the recollections from a passionate non-league and North East football fan and sports writer, can be read by clicking on this link: https://facupfactfile.wordpress.com/2020/05/02/fa-cup-memories-series-12-mark-carruthers/
You can read this FA Cup Memories series from where it all started with BBC 5 Live Commentator John Murray by clicking on this link https://facupfactfile.wordpress.com/2020/05/01/fa-cup-memories-series-11-john-murray/
Follow @FACupFactfile on Twitter for news of when future memories are published.