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Soup of This Day #126: And The Goblet Of Fire

January 20, 2012

The White Horse Final, Wembley, 1923
The crowd pushing onto the pitch at the 1923 FA Cup Final. It was the 1st event to be held at Wembley Stadium and although the capacity was set at 127,000, it’s thought that somewhere between 240,000 and 300,000 people crammed themselves in. Thanks to the crowd controlling efforts of the police, exemplified by PC George Scorey riding a white horse called Billie, only 22 people were injured in the crush, none of them seriously. The game, won by Bolton Wanderers, is now known as The White Horse FinalPhoto: Unknown, 1923. Image cropped by Longworth72.

In the last post, Soup #125, I took a swipe at journos who misrepresent facts thus creating a distorted perception of a situation. I think I suggested that, with the Internet and all that stuff, it would be simple to clarify stuff. Heck, I’ve done it with this post, I implied. Which would mean that I got my facts straight. Right?

Yeah, no.

I got at least 1 wrong. It’s not a major error but it’s there nonetheless and so I figured I’d come clean:

I had stated that the last time Liverpool FC won at Wembley Stadium had been 1992. That was an FA Cup final against Sunderland and the Reds took the game 2-0. I remember it very clearly, almost 20 years later I can tell you, without need of external references, that Michael Thomas opened the scoring for Liverpool in the 47th minute, hooking a volley with his right foot, over his shoulder and into the net. I can also tell you that Ian Rush scored the 2nd goal for the Merseysiders, slotting home a precise shot in the 67th minute, his 5th in FA Cup Finals.

Most of this is true – That was the last time Liverpool won an FA Cup at Wembley. They have won 2 since, 2001 and 2006, but they were played at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, not Wembley Stadium.

The thing is though – It wasn’t the last Cup Final they won at Wembley. It turns out that they won the League Cup Final in 1995, then called the Coca-Cola Cup. I can’t tell you who scored off the top of my head. Can’t tell you even who they played. This is because I can’t remember the match. Not so much as a kick of it.

I would blame this on 1995 being a year that I was preoccupied. But I can’t – See, I can remember football from that season. It was the last year that Everton won the FA Cup, at Wembley or anywhere else for that matter. I remember watching this game – Brother of Longworth72 is an Everton fan and he surely ranks this as 1 of the greatest games in the history of football. It wasn’t really but since they defeated the favourites Manchester United, I’ll endorse the view anyway. It was also the year that Liverpool beat Blackburn in the final game of the season 2-1 at Anfield. It was a match billed as a title-decider but it didn’t pan out that way – Liverpool weren’t in the running, just Blackburn, and even though Rovers lost that day they still won the Premier League because Manchester United could only draw against West Ham at Upton Park.

I remember that final day well – I watched on tv as West Ham held out in the dying minutes against Man U. Red Devils midfielder Paul Ince, a former West Ham player, was jeered every time he got involved – At 1 point, near on 40,000 fans seemed to be chanting ‘Juuuu-das, Juuuu-das, Juuuu-das’ whenever he had control of the ball. Ince would go on to join Liverpool via Inter Milan but I’d still mentally chant ‘Juuu-das’ whenever I saw him play. Likewise I can remember the Liverpool vs Blackburn stoush – There was John Barnes scoring for Liverpool, 1 of the few times I was hoping he didn’t and wishing that in fact Liverpool would lose, because if they did then Manchester United could not win the title. Apart from my hatred of the Mancunians, Blackburn were managed by former Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish and like most Reds fans, if we couldn’t win the League then we sure as hell wanted it for King Kenny.

And yes, that’s the same Kenny Dalglish who is back managing Liverpool now. Paul Ince has managed a number of League clubs, most recently Notts County up until April of 2011, and is currently appearing as a pundit on tv. Whenever I see him I still give a quiet chant of ‘Juuu-das’ even if he does seem like a lovely bloke.

I can remember all of this but I can’t remember that League Cup Final between Liverpool and… somebody else, most likely a football team.

So here now is the Longworth72 guide to the League Cup Final of 1995. I’ve gone to You Tube and Wikipedia so this will be like being at the game:

The game was played at Wembley, 2nd April, 1995, in front of 75,595 fans. Liverpool FC had made the final via wins against Burnley, Stoke, the afore-mentioned-soon-to-be-League-champions Blackburn, Arsenal and in the semi-finals, Crystal Palace. The Reds had not won silverware since that 1992 FA Cup Final – They had appeared at Wembley in the subsequent 1992 FA Charity Shield, however had lost that appointment 4-3 to Leeds United. Their opponents for the 1995 League Cup, Bolton Wanderers, by contrast had not featured in a major Cup Final since 1958 and were playing a tier below Liverpool in the League structure. Wanderers therefore had to upset some Premiership notables on their path to the Final as they knocked off Ipswich Town, Sheffield United, West Ham, Norwich and then Swindon Town in the semis. Interestingly, since Bolton had beaten Manchester United 2-0 in the FA Cup Final of 1958, Liverpool had visited Wembley 29 times prior to 1995.

In defiance of the gap in status and history between the 2 sides, Bolton started brightly, carrying the surer threat. It was almost against the run of play that Liverpool scored – Steve McManaman, the winger who tore apart Sunderland in 1992, zagged through Bolton’s defence before eking the ball past the Wanderers keeper in the 37th minute. McManaman added his and Liverpool’s 2nd on 68 minutes via a fine finish and although Bolton’s Alan Thompson pulled 1 back a minute later, the Reds kept Wanderers out for the remaining 20 or so minutes to win the League Cup for the 5th time. Ian Rush, captaining the club that day, was able to lift the 1st and only trophy of his leadership tenure.

And so now I know how Liverpool won the League Cup in 1995. I’m not quite sure how I missed it – Following your club through a Cup Final is child’s play.

In my defence though I’d like to tender some video evidence. Sport Stacking is a competition in which cups are stacked and unstacked in pre-set configurations. Generally played by kids, the sport requires some pretty amazing hand-eye coordination skills, as this ‘2011 Top 10’ compilation will testify:

And no this footage hasn’t been speeded up. Child’s play it seems isn’t so easy.

It would be more impressive if there was Coke in those cups. That would be a true Coca-Cola Cup Final.

League Cup games from 1995 and a sport that involves stacking cups. Magic.

And The Goblet Of Fire

2 Comments
  1. These cup stackers always freak me out. Way too much time on their hands. Way too much skill with their hands.

    • Yeah. Hadn’t really thought about it that way but there is a touch of Artful Dodger about those kids…

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