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30 Years Today Since An Irishman Made History In Wembley

By Conor Neville
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It was the era of the toffishly named anchor Elton Welsby and the era of Saint & Greavsie joshing away in the evening. And the FA Cup Final coverage used to begin at around 11.30 in the morning.

And no Cup Final from that benighted period in the English game is more memorable than the one that occurred thirty years ago today.

Man United were an entertaining, flamboyant outfit but under the managership of Mr. Bojangles himself, they lacked the moral fibre to challenge for the League title, contenting themselves with the sugar rush of the odd Cup win and a glut of 3rd and 4th place finishes. The Spice Boys of the 1980s, you could say.


Everton, by contrast, were that year's League champions. They boasted one man who was to become a stalwart of Jackie's Army, Kevin Sheedy, while Peter Reid was an influential figure in the midfield engine room. Up front, they relied on the Scottish duo of Graeme Sharp and Andy Gray to get the goals. The former was the more prolific.

The match itself was powerfully shaped by the exploits of men from this island. Not only did Norman Whiteside curl in a beautiful winner in extra-time (which you will have seen) but Paul McGrath earned the Man of the Match award.

But, arguably as significant as anything else, was Kevin Moran becoming the first man to get sent off in an FA Cup Final. The stern and authoritarian referee Peter Willis gave Moran the line for a late challenge on Peter Reid. Back in the 1980s, the decision was regarded as harsh, though modern eyes would probably be more sympathetic to Willis. The referee wasn't for turning when interviewed back in 2002.

Moran just kicked him. Peter Reid might well have gone higher up in the air than he needed to but I saw what happened and I had a decision to make. I either put the whistle on the ground and walked off, or applied the laws of the game and sent him off.

The most striking thing about the aftermath now is Moran's rage immediately after being sent off and then the manner in which he slumps into an almost visible depression as he slouches off the field.

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Read more: 15 Classic Traits Of The Sports Fan Who Grew Up In The 1980s

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