The 1979 FA Cup final will go down in history as one of the greatest ever finishes an FA Cup game will ever seen, let alone a final.
Heading into the match, Dave Sexton’s Manchester United finished the First Division in ninth position while Terry Neill’s Arsenal finished in seventh, so neither team had blinding domestic seasons as far as the league goes.
For both teams, the FA Cup final was the biggest moment of the season but after 85 minutes United looked down and out as Arsenal held a 2-0 lead and looked more than comfortable. What followed was an explosive five minute period, three goals and heartbroken United fans.
Speaking about his memories for the day, Ian (@Olliespaniel) remembers it well: “It was 1979 and I remember queuing up at Old Trafford for a ticket using a token sheet. We went down to Wembley on coach travel from Old Trafford and when we reached the stadium, we stood on large wooden steps inside which gave us a cracking view. I had a home made banner which my mum saw on telly. As for the game itself, I remember going bonkers when Sammy McIlroy equalised, still bouncing not knowing they had scored again.”
Here’s some more memories on the game, this time from Roy Cavanagh:”I will never forget about the 1979 final vs Arsenal. The game was a poor one with Arsenal playing the offside trap to perfection and United falling it for it.
“I was sat just in front of the Royal Box having got tickets from Charles Hughes, a very high ranking FA official (although he was a real pain). Me and my mate could not have been closer to the perfect seat but 2-0 down with less than five minutes to go and United just never looking like scoring, we said OK one more attack or off. Offside again and we said that’s it. We didn’t want to be right in line as Arsenal went to pick up the FA Cup.
“Out we went, got about hundred yards away and we heard an almighty roar. I asked a hot dog stall owner what the noise was? ‘2-1 the answer,’ he said. It can only be a consolation goal I thought, let’s keep going let us get away and home.
“Another hundred yards, another almighty roar. Another hot dog stall. ‘What was that?’ “2-2!”. Wow. We turned around and ran back. Now it was past the 90 minutes, up the Wembley steps went went to another almighty roar. As we are heading back in, people are coming out – it was 3-2 to Arsenal! We missed three goals in four minutes and did not get away quickly from Wembley at all.”
Next up in our FA Cup final series in 1982/3 where we squared off against Brighton & Hove Albion.