Blogs & Opinion

Cups and downs

Records that have been set, broken and are set to be broken

Martin Tyler - Martin Tyler Posted 15th May 2008 view comments

Martin Tyler's stats and facts column is coming to a close for the 2007-8 season.

But Sky Sports' voice of football and his back-up team of experts are here to answer your questions and queries on all things statistical and historical from the beautiful game.

Martin will be taking his place in the commentary box at Wembley on Saturday but first, has answered your questions regarding the FA Cup final.

David James: could be set for an FA Cup hat-trick, of sorts

David James: could be set for an FA Cup hat-trick, of sorts

Martin will be on Champions League final duty, so we want your questions on the all-English final between Manchester United and Chelsea!

Or, if you have spotted something from a game or have been stumped by a pub quiz question, simply Email here and Martin will do his best to answer.

Cardiff City v Portsmouth
2pm, Saturday
Sky Sports 1 & HD1
Click here for live listings

Or use the feedback form at the bottom of the page....

Starting stat - My Cup career

I will be commentating on Saturday's FA Cup final between Portsmouth and Cardiff which will mean I have been working on every final since 1973 - save the 1989 all-Merseyside affair when I was at the Scottish Cup final. Funnily enough on that day at Hampden Park I bumped into a certain Andy Gray in the tunnel, who had just been left out of the Rangers side by Graeme Souness. I am sure Andy still thinks Graeme made the wrong choice, because Rangers lost 1-0! Saturday will be the 19th time I have commentated on the game itself and such a long-running association with the cup final was something I never dreamed of when I signed non-league forms for Corinthian Casuals. In fact, as a player my FA Cup campaign usually ended in the preliminaries or qualifying rounds by October! Cup final broadcasting has changed so much over the years, but for those of you for a certain age, I have done my fair share of riding with the team coach and will always remember an impish Ian Rush trying to remove certain items of my clothing while broadcasting live from the Liverpool team coach! Thankfully, I will be making my own way to Wembley on Saturday!

Hi Martin, I love your column and read it every week without fail. I read somewhere that Portsmouth have only scored six goals on their way to the FA Cup final. Is this the lowest number of goals in an FA Cup run ever? Craig Hoffart, Toronto.

MARTIN SAYS: Those six goals are actually the lowest total scored en route to the final since Bury got all the way to Wembley back in 1903. They played four games then, as opposed to the five Pompey have gone through, and amazingly the Shakers doubled their tally in the final, when they beat derby 6-0! The top scorers in this season's competition are beaten semi-finalists West Brom, with 16 in all, the same amount that Cardiff and Pompey have managed between them. But we should also pay tribute to either side's defending because Portsmouth have only let in one goal in the FA Cup this season, a deflected goal from Plymouth's Chris Clark in the fourth round. I have commentated on their third and fifth round games, the quarter-final and the semi-final and have yet to see them let in a goal. Mind you, Cardiff have been miserly themselves, letting in just two goals on their march to Wembley. One of those was an own goal from Kevin McNaught in the third round against Chasetown, the other coming in the fourth round courtesy of Hereford's Theo Robinson. Let's hope we are in for some goals come Saturday!

Hi Martin, if Portsmouth lose the FA Cup final to Cardiff on Saturday, will David James be the only player to have lost in the final with three different clubs? Joe Hill, Essex.
That's a very good question Joe, but the simple answer is no! According my memory and the boffins on who always help with the research for this column, one man has got that unwanted hat-trick already and like James, he has played for Watford and Liverpool. The man I am talking about is of course, John Barnes. Barnes lost finals with the Watford (1984), Liverpool (1996) and Newcastle (1998), but also has a winner's medal courtesy of the 1989 final success over Everton. There have been three other players to have played for different clubs in the final, but of those, all of them have won it at least once - James has yet to do that of course, having lost his previous two finals with Liverpool (1996) and Aston Villa (2000). Almost 100 years ago, Harold Halse won the cup with Manchester United (1909) and Villa (1913) but lost his third final with a different club, Chelsea (1915). A little later on in the 20th century Ernie Taylor won two finals in three years with Newcastle (1951) and Blackpool (1953) but, having performed heroics for Manchester United in the wake of the Munich disaster, was a loser in the 1958 final. Dennis Wise has also played in three finals for different clubs, winning it famously with Wimbledon (1988) and then Chelsea twice (1997 and 2000), but has also lost two FA Cup finals with Chelsea (1994) and Millwall (2004).

Hi Martin, for the life of me I can't remember the last time there were two English managers in the FA Cup final! Can you reveal the answer please? Mukhtar Syed, Manchester.
Hi Mukhtar, you have to cast your mind back some 17 years to 1991 to find an FA Cup final in which both teams were managed by Englishmen. On that occasion Terry Venables' Tottenham beat Brian Clough's Nottingham Forest 2-1 (aet) at Wembley, dashing Clough's hopes of getting his hands on the only domestic trophy to elude him. Funnily enough on that day all the goals were scored by Englishmen as well with Stuart Pearce scoring for Forest and Des Walker (own goal) and Paul Stewart netting for Spurs. You only have to go back 13 years though, to find the last English manager to win the FA Cup, something Harry Redknapp or David Jones will emulate on Saturday. Royle was in charge of the Everton side that beat Manchester United in 1995 with a goal from another Englishman, Paul Rideout. But the 12 FA Cups since then have all been won by foreign managers: French five times (Arsene Wenger four, Gerard Houllier once); Scottish three times (Sir Alex Ferguson), Portuguese once (Jose Mourinho); Spanish once (Rafa Benitez), Italian once (Gianluca Vialli) and a Dutchman (Ruud Gullit).

Hi Martin, I recall Millwall getting to the FA Cup final a couple of years ago after finishing 10th in the Championship, but Cardiff's 12 placed finish in the Championship means they have reached the final after finishing 32nd in the League ladder this season. Are we the lowest ranked team to reach an FA Cup final? Tom Evans, Cardiff.
Well Tom, since 1949 only one club has reached the FA Cup final from a lower League position than Cardiff - Malcolm Crosby's Sunderland finished 40th in the League ladder in 1992 and reached the FA Cup final, which they lost 2-0 to Graeme Souness' Liverpool. But if Dave Jones' men win on Saturday, they would be the lowest ranked club in the Football League system to win the FA Cup since non-league Tottenham finished below the 36 League clubs in 1901. Since the Football League's foundation in 1888, eight teams from below the top division have won the FA Cup: Notts County (1894), Tottenham (1901), Wolves (1908), Barnsley (1912), West Brom (1931), Sunderland (1973), Southampton (1976) and West Ham (1980). West Ham in 1980 were the last club from below the top division to win the FA Cup, beating Arsenal 1-0 at Wembley with a goal from Trevor Brooking. Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp's brother-in-law Frank Lampard played for West Ham that day.

Hi Martin, I know the 2005 and 2006 FA Cup finals were settled by penalty shoot-outs, but has there ever been an FA Cup final shoot-out at Wembley? My friend Paul says there hasn't but I'm convinced there must have been one over the years. Daniel Lloyd, Richmond.
Hi Daniel, I'm afraid your friend Paul is in fact right, as an FA Cup final has never been settled by penalties at Wembley. The last three finals have gone to extra-time - Chelsea beat Man Utd 1-0 (aet) in the 2007 final, Liverpool beat West Ham 3-1 on penalties after a 3-3 draw in the 2006 final and Arsenal beat Manchester United 5-4 on penalties after a 0-0 draw in the 2005 final - but they were all at the Millennium Stadium. Before 2005, the previous 11 FA Cup finals had been decided in 90 minutes. Of course, semi-finals have also been played at Wembley and one of those went to penalties, and strangely enough both of Saturday's keeepers were involved! It was the 2000 competition when Aston Villa played Bolton but could not be separated, or score, over 120 minutes of foootball so went to penalties. Villa won 4-1 with David James in goal and Peter Enckelman, who will be in goal for Cardiff on Saturday, his back-up on the bench.

Hello Martin, I was just wondering whether or not either Portsmouth or Cardiff had ever qualified for a European competition before, or would it be a first for both? Steve Lau.
To put it bluntly Steve, Portsmouth have never qualified for Europe. The club's only previous experience of playing on the continent was in the Anglo-Italian Cup in 1992-93 and 1993-94 when they failed to progress beyond the group stages. Cardiff, on the other hand, are no strangers to European campaigns and have entered the now-defunct European Cup Winners' Cup on many occasions as winners of the Welsh Cup. Cardiff no longer enter that competition of course, but have won it and made Europe on 13 occasions between 1964-65 and 1993-64. That includes a seven-year sequence when they were in it every year and indeed their best ever performance on the continent. That came in the 1967-68 season when a Cardiff side that included John Toshack made it all the way to the semi-finals of the Cup Winners' Cup. They did it with no small help from Norman Dean, who scored the winner in the quarter-final play-off against Moscow Torpedo in Tashkent and two more in the semi-final with Hamburg. Sadly that was not enough to prevent the Bluebirds losing 4-3 on aggregate and missing out on a final appearance against the mighty AC Milan.

Martin will be on Champions League final duty, so we want your questions on the all-English final between Manchester United and Chelsea!

Or, if you have spotted something from a game or have been stumped by a pub quiz question, simply Email here and Martin will do his best to answer.

Or use the feedback form at the bottom of the page....

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