FA Cup Legends

Ryan Giggs of Manchester FA Cup 1999Since 1872, some of the worlds’ greatest footballers have graced the FA Cup stage and astonished the world with their playing prowess. Below are just a few FA Cup legends, and the feats for which they are remembered.

C.W. Alcock

Perhaps not the first name that springs to mind when considering football greats, but C.W. Alcock deserves special mention. As well as being the man who conceived of and organised the first FA Cup tournament, he was the first winning captain at an FA Cup Final, leading Wanderers to FA Cup Final victory in 1872. Alcock later “umpired” the first ever Football International against Scotland, before going on referee FA Cup Finals in 1875 and 1879.

William Townley

William Townley was the first player to score a hat-trick in an FA Cup Final, while playing for Blackburn Rovers against Sheffield Wednesday in 1890. Townley scored again against Notts County in the 1891 Final to give Blackburn Rovers the title for the second year in a row. Only one other player in the history of the competition has gone on to better Townley’s record of four goals in FA Cup Finals – the great Ian Rush.

Sir Stanley Matthews

Still the only footballer to be knighted during his remarkable playing career, “The Magician” is best remembered for the 1953 FA Cup Final that won him a winner’s medal at third attempt. Despite the fact that goal scoring honours went to Stan Mortenson, plaudits went to Matthews for his incredible dribbling performance against Bolton Wanderers. Matthews set up two of the goals scored, helping Blackpool perform a dramatic comeback from 3-1 down. This FA Cup legend never ceased to amaze in a long career that saw him play professional football until the age of 50.

Ian Rush

The greatest striker in the modern era of the FA Cup. In his career, Rush scored 44 goals in the FA Cup, with 5 of these coming in the Finals. With 346 goals scored in his professional career, Rush has been recognised as the ‘All-time FA Cup Hero’ by the Football Association.

Ryan Giggs

The Welshman who plies his trade at Manchester United is a true FA Cup legend, having won 23 trophies in his career. His greatest moment in FA Cup football came in the 1999 FA Cup semi-final when he scored in extra time to hand Arsenal a 2-1 defeat. Manchester United went on to win the final. Giggs’ goal was celebrated as the greatest goal in the history of the FA Cup, making him one of the great contemporary FA Cup legends.

Let’s hope the FA Cup Final brings us yet another FA Cup legend.