On Saturday, Manchester United and Crystal Palace will meet at Wembley Stadium in the FA Cup Final. For United, it will be their 19th appearance in the final, a competition they have won 11 times prior. With a victory over Palace, they will draw level with Arsenal, last year’s winners, for the most in English football history.
1909 – Manchester United 1-0 Bristol City
The FA Cup had been around since 1872, but this was United’s first appearance in the final. United and Bristol played this match at Crystal Palace, a venue that had been used quite regularly over the decade before 1909. United won their very first trip to the final with a single goal scored by Sandy Turnbull halfway through the first half.
1948 – Manchester United 4-2 Blackpool
It would be 30 years and two world wars before United made it back to the FA Cup Final. This time, they came up against Blackpool at the old Wembley Stadium. United got off to a shaky start when Blackpool took a 1-0 lead via a spot-kick. United leveled shortly after, but Blackpool answered back and had a 2-1 lead at half-time. The second half was all United, however. Goals from Jack Rowley, Stan Pearson, and John Anderson gave the Red Devils a 4-2 win.
1957 – Aston Villa 2-1 Manchester United
They weren’t able to win them all and United’s first final appearance in a decade resulted in a 2-1 loss to Aston Villa. Peter McParland scored twice for Villa, and the Birmingham club won their seventh FA cup, a record at the time. Sadly, nine of the United players would lose their lives nine months later in the Munich Air Disaster.
1958 Bolton Wanderers 2-0 Manchester United
Despite the tragic events that resulted in the loss of nine United players, the Manchester side managed to make it back to the FA Cup Final the following year. They came up against a Bolton side that was favored to win. Bolton scored twice and held United scoreless, though the second goal was a source of some controversy. United goalkeeper Harry Gregg was bowled over and the ball spilled into his own net. The goal was credited to Nat Lofthouse and was a talking point that led to future rule changes that would help protect the goalkeeper. Something that would cost United in 2007.
1963 – Manchester United 3-1 Leicester City
Manchester United got back to their winning ways in the FA Cup against Leicester City in 1963. United who had just narrowly avoided relegation in the league that season got off to a slow start against Leicester. But a first half goal by Denis Law gave them some confidence. United would score again shortly after the start of the second half. Leicester fought back to make it 2-1, but an 87th-minute goal from Devid Herd put the final nail in Leicester’s coffin and gave United their third FA Cup.
1976 – Southampton 1-0 Manchester United
Manchester United was on the wrong end of one of the bigger shocks in the FA Cup at the time, when they failed to beat lower division side Southampton in 1976. United was heavily favored, but an 83-minute goal from Bobby Stokes helped Southampton knock off United. However, United wouldn’t have to wait long to get back to winning ways.
1977 – Manchester United 2-1 Liverpool
Adding another chapter to their famous rivalry, Manchester United and Liverpool met for the first time in an FA Cup Final in 1977. The Red Devil’s came out on top with a 2-1 victory, where all five goals were scored within five minutes of each other early in the second half. The win was even sweeter for United as it kept Liverpool from winning a treble.
1979- Arsenal 3-2 Manchester United
In one of the more dramatic FA Cup Finals in history, Arsenal managed to score a late winner to just narrowly avoid a United comeback. Arsenal took a 2-0 lead into half time and looked set to win their fifth cup. However, Gordon McQueen and Sammy McIlroy scored two quick goals within 2 minutes of each other. The match looked set for extra time until a minute later Alan Sunderland (who disappointingly never played for Sunderland) scored just 1 minute later to clinch Arsenal the FA Cup in a match now known as the “Five-minute Final.”
1983 Manchester United 4-0 Brighton & Hove Albion
After drawing 2-2, Manchester United and Brighton & Hove Albion were set to play a replay, and like the first match, there would be four goals. However, it would be Manchester United who did the scoring as they dominated Brighton. Three first half goal for United, including two for captain Bryan Robson, effectively killed off the match. United added a fourth midway through the second half as they cruised to their fifth FA Cup title.
1985 – Manchester United 1-0 Everton
Despite the scoreline, United’s sixth FA Cup triumph was certainly eventful for a few reasons. United had to win in extra-time and they did it with only ten men as Kevin Moran became the first player to be sent off in the FA Cup Final. Despite playing a man down, United never let Everton take advantage. An 110-minute goal from Norman Whiteside gave United enough to lift the trophy. Despite the cup victory, United was banned from competing in the now defunct European Cup Winners Cup, as well as all English teams in Europe following the Heysel Disaster.
Click page 2 for Manchester United’s FA Cup Finals in the Fergie era