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30 years ago, an Irishman became the most cynical player in FA Cup final history by default

Kevin Moran was the first man to ever be sent off in the FA Cup final.

Moran couldn't believe the referee's decision.
Moran couldn't believe the referee's decision.

IT IS ALMOST impossible to believe that before 1985, nobody had ever been sent off in an FA Cup final. That’s 126 finals (including replays) where players were allegedly quite cautious when it came to the tackle.

Well…. we know that is just not true. Ron ‘Chopper’ Harris of Chelsea went up against Don Revie’s teak-tough Leeds team in 1970, for God’s sake!

This is the description of that game on Wikipedia (not really a reliable source but they describe it exactly how you imagined the game took place) :

Not long into the game, Chelsea’s Ron Harris caught winger Eddie Gray with a kick to the back of the knee, an action which neutralised the Scottish winger for the rest of the game. Norman Hunter and Ian Hutchinson traded punches while McCreadie and Johnny Giles lunged at opposition players. Charlton kneed and headbuttedPeter Osgood while Chelsea’s goalkeeper Peter Bonetti was injured after being bundled into the net by Leeds’ Jones, who, minutes later, rounded the limping Bonetti and scored the opener.

And yet nobody was shown a red. Well, 15 years later, all the bad karma generated from over 100 years of lenient officiating was directed at Ireland legend Kevin Moran.

Moran, who also won two All-Ireland titles with Dublin, was playing in his second FA Cup final in three years, having already won the trophy with Manchester United in 1983.

Everton were the opponents two years later and with 12 minutes to go, the teams were inseparable at 0-0. Then, midfielder Peter Reid knocked the ball past Moran and the Irish international did this…

kevin

kevin2

Today, that would be a definite red but at the time it was a huge deal. And as you can tell from the reaction, Moran and his team-mates were shocked that such a ‘normal’ tackle was punished so harshly.

reaction

With United down to 10, Everton took them to extra-time before 20-year-old Norman Whiteside curled home this audacious winner.

norman

30 years have passed now, so we can all agree that it was the correct decision, right?

Originally published at 15.45

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