1974 FA Cup Final

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1974 FA Cup Final
Old Wembley Stadium (external view).jpg
The twin towers at Wembley Stadium
Event1973–74 FA Cup
Date4 May 1974
VenueWembley Stadium, London
RefereeGordon Kew (Bucks)
Weatherdry, overcast, cool with very little wind

The 1974 FA Cup Final was an association football match between Liverpool and Newcastle United on Saturday, 4 May 1974 at Wembley Stadium, London. It was the final match of the 1973–74 FA Cup, the 93rd season of England's primary cup competition, the Football Association Challenge Cup, better known as the FA Cup. Liverpool were appearing in their fifth final and Newcastle in their eleventh, which was a record at the time. Liverpool had won the FA Cup once, in 1965, and Newcastle six times, most recently in 1955.

Both teams entered the competition in the third round. Liverpool and Newcastle had scares in the third and fourth rounds, in all cases drawing home ties against much smaller clubs and then winning the replays. Both had good wins in the fifth round and Liverpool won away in the sixth (quarter-final) round. Newcastle's sixth round home tie against Nottingham Forest was declared void after a riot on the field by Newcastle fans when their team was losing 1–3. The game was delayed until order was restored and Newcastle won it 4–3. Forest made a written protest to the Football Association (the FA) and Newcastle were very close to being disqualified from the competition. The FA relented and ordered that the match must be replayed at a neutral venue. Two replays were needed before Newcastle won through. In the semi-finals, Newcastle defeated Burnley 2–0 at Hillsborough and Liverpool defeated Leicester City 3–1 in a replay at Villa Park, following a 0–0 draw at Old Trafford.

The final, televised live, was watched by a crowd of 100,000 and Liverpool won a one-sided match 3–0 with goals from Kevin Keegan (2) and Steve Heighway. After the third goal, BBC commentator David Coleman said that Newcastle's defence had been "stripped naked" by Liverpool. When the score was 0–0, Liverpool left back Alec Lindsay had a goal disallowed for offside, but replays later showed that the final pass to Lindsay came from a Newcastle defender and therefore the goal should have stood. Liverpool won the FA Cup for the second time.

The team managers Bill Shankly (Liverpool) and Joe Harvey (Newcastle) sat next to each other all through the match. It was Shankly's last game in charge of Liverpool as he retired in July and was succeeded by coach Bob Paisley – though Shankly led the team out for the Charity Shield match in August. Harvey retired at the end of the 1974–75 season. Two Newcastle players, Terry McDermott and Alan Kennedy, became Liverpool players in later years and both scored goals for Liverpool in European Cup finals. Kevin Keegan joined Newcastle as a player in 1982 and was their manager in the 1990s.

Route to the final[edit]


Round Opponents Score
3rd Doncaster Rovers (h) 2–2
Doncaster Rovers (a) 2–0
4th Carlisle United (h) 0–0
Carlisle United (a) 2–0
5th Ipswich Town (h) 2–0
6th Bristol City (a) 1–0
SF Leicester City (n) 0–0
Leicester City (n) 3–1

Liverpool entered the competition in the third round and were drawn at home against Doncaster Rovers, who were struggling in the bottom half of the Fourth Division, eventually finishing 22nd and therefore 90th of the 92 Football League clubs. At Anfield, Doncaster were close to achieving a major shock but Liverpool managed to secure a 2–2 draw and then won the replay 2–0 at Belle Vue. Liverpool struggled again in the fourth round, unable to score at Anfield against Second Division Carlisle United, who were promoted to the First Division at the end of the season. As in the previous tie, Liverpool won the replay 2–0, played at Brunton Park.[citation needed]

In the fifth round, Liverpool were drawn at home again and were in a "tie of the round" situation against one of their main rivals Ipswich Town, who had won at Old Trafford in the fourth round to knock out Manchester United. This time, despite facing strong opposition, Liverpool achieved victory at the first attempt and qualified for the quarter-final stage with a 2–0 win. In the sixth round, they were drawn away for the first time in the tournament against Second Division Bristol City and won 1–0 at Ashton Gate. In the previous round, Bristol City had beaten the First Division leaders Leeds United at Elland Road.[citation needed]

Liverpool now faced their sometime "bogey team" Leicester City in the semi-final at Old Trafford. After a goalless draw, the replay took place at Villa Park and Liverpool won 3–1.[citation needed]

Newcastle United[edit]

Round Opponents Score
3rd Hendon (h) 1–1
Hendon (a) 4–0
4th Scunthorpe United (h) 1–1
Scunthorpe United (a) 3–0
5th West Bromwich Albion (a) 3–0
6th Nottingham Forest (a) 4–3
Nottingham Forest (n) 0–0
Nottingham Forest (n) 1–0
SF Burnley (n) 2–0

Newcastle United entered the competition in the third round and were drawn at home against non-league Hendon, who were the reigning champions of the regional Isthmian League. Hendon came close to a major upset and held Newcastle 1–1 at St James' Park. Newcastle recovered to win the replay at Vicarage Road, Watford by the flattering scoreline of 4–0. A similar situation arose in the fourth round when Newcastle were drawn at home against struggling Fourth Division side Scunthorpe United, who also achieved a 1–1 draw at St James' Park. In the replay at the Old Showground, Newcastle won 3–0. In the fifth round, Newcastle were away to Second Division West Bromwich Albion and won 3–0 at the first attempt.[citation needed]

This set up a sixth round home tie against Nottingham Forest who, like West Brom, were a mid-table Second Division team. Early in the second half, referee Gordon Kew awarded Forest a penalty and sent off Pat Howard, who had fouled Duncan McKenzie to concede the penalty. Forest scored to take a surprise 3–1 lead. Minutes later, Newcastle hooligans in the Leazes End of the ground (now the Sir John Hall stand) rioted and invaded the pitch. Two Forest players were injured in the fracas and the referee took all the players off the field. Instead of abandoning the match, Kew waited until all players were recovered and received the permission of both managers to restart it. Newcastle managed to stage a comeback and won 4–3 despite being a player short. 23 people were taken to hospital as a result of the pitch invasion, of whom two had fractured skulls. 103 people received treatment at the ground and 39 were arrested.[citation needed]

Two days later, Nottingham Forest sent a formal written protest to the Football Association (the FA). In response, the secretary of the FA, Ted Croker, announced that a special four-man sub-committee of the Challenge Cup Committee, who oversee the FA Cup competition, were to investigate the incident with an eye to disqualifying Newcastle United. Croker stated: "Newcastle could be disqualified. We do not have the power to order a replay as the game was completed". The sub-committee ruled, however, that the match must be replayed at a neutral venue and the original tie was therefore a void match. If the replay was drawn then extra time would be played and, if necessary, a second match would be played at a neutral venue. This decision was unprecedented at the time and the reaction was mixed, with Newcastle defender Frank Clark suggesting that Newcastle's comeback from two goals down and with a player sent off should have allowed them to go through outright. The Nottingham Forest captain stated, "we would have won it fair and square but for the trouble". The first replay at Goodison Park was a nervous 0–0 draw and stayed so after extra time. Newcastle finally won the tie through a single Malcolm Macdonald goal in the second replay at Goodison Park.[citation needed]

In the semi-final at Hillsborough, Newcastle faced Burnley who were above them in the First Division table. Newcastle nevertheless won the match 2–0 with two second half goals by Macdonald.[citation needed]


The final was held at Wembley Stadium.

The FA Cup, known officially as The Football Association Challenge Cup, is an annual knockout association football competition in men's domestic English football. First played during the 1871–72 season, it is the oldest association football competition in the world. It is organised by and named after The Football Association (The FA). The 1974 match at Wembley was the 93rd FA Cup Final.[citation needed]

The match was Liverpool's fifth appearance in the final. They had won the competition once, defeating Leeds United 2–1 after extra time in the 1965 final. Liverpool had been runners-up in 1914, when they lost 1–0 to Burnley; in 1950, beaten 2–0 by Arsenal; and in 1971, beaten 2–1 after extra time by Arsenal.[citation needed]

Newcastle were appearing in a then record eleventh final. They had won the competition six times and been runners-up four times. Their first appearance was in the 1905 final at Crystal Palace which they lost 2–0 to Aston Villa. They reached the 1906 final too but were again beaten, this time 1–0 by Everton. Newcastle's third final was in 1908, again at Crystal Palace. They had finished fourth in the First Division that season, after winning the league in 1906–07 and, in the semi-final, they had beaten Fulham 6–0. Their 1908 final opponents were Wolverhampton Wanderers ("Wolves") who had just finished ninth in the Second Division. Newcastle were therefore strong favourites to win their first FA Cup but, in a major shock, Wolves won the final 3–1. Newcastle's first win was in the 1910 final when they defeated Barnsley 2–0 in a replay at Goodison Park after the first match at Crystal Palace had ended 1–1. Newcastle reached the final again in 1911 and another replay was necessary, following a goalless draw at Crystal Palace against Bradford City, but they lost the replay at Old Trafford, Bradford winning 1–0. Newcastle appeared in two inter-war finals, winning both. They defeated Aston Villa 2–0 in the second Wembley final (1924), nicknamed the "Rainy Day Final"; and in 1932 they defeated Arsenal 2–1 in the "Over The Line Final". Newcastle enjoyed tremendous success in the early 1950s when the great Jackie Milburn was their centre forward. They won the FA Cup three times from 1951 to 1955: defeating Blackpool 2–0 in 1951, Arsenal 1–0 in 1952 and Manchester City 3–1 in 1955.[citation needed]


First half[edit]

Ian Callaghan passed out wide to Alec Lindsay. Lindsay's high ball caused problems in the Newcastle defence before the ball was knocked out of play by their defender, Alan Kennedy.[1] The resulting corner from Brian Hall targeting John Toshack led only to a free kick awarded against Toshack.[2][1]

A high ball to just outside area was flicked on by Malcolm MacDonald. John Tudor and Tommy Cassidy chasing the flick on were unable to capitalise before Ray Clemence dived to gather possession.[2][1]

A Steve Heighway throw in on the left to Toshack led to Peter Cormack first-time passing possession back to Heighway. Heighway went outside Frank Clark to centre but Toshack and Tommy Smith were both unable to profit from their endeavours.[2]

Steve Heighway passed to Keegan on the left. His high centre targeted John Toshack but Willie McFaul was eventually able to take possession under pressure.[2][1]

A Tommy Smith diagonal pass put Keegan in possession inside the Newcastle penalty box. Keegan teed up Toshack for a first time left foot shot that went wide of McFaul's right hand post.[2][1]

Callagan's high cross field pass fed Heighway on the left wing. Heighway beat his marker to deliver a low centre that was clear by Pat Howard in the Newcastle defence.[2][1]

Commentating on match highlights for a TV programme about the competition decades later, John Helm summed up Liverpool's first half dominance as "one way traffic". However the Newcastle defence held out until half time.

Second half[edit]

Smith fed Emlyn Hughes from a free-kick with a square pass into the centre circle. He played a high ball to Keegan just outside the box. Keegan flicked the ball to Toshack who set up Peter Cormack outside the box. Cormack teed up Keegan who shot from the edge of the area wide of McFaul's right hand post.[2]

Alec Lindsay won a block tackle in his own half and surged into attack. Just outside the penalty box, he played the ball towards Keegan. Keegan 'dummied' the ball causing Alan Kennedy marking him to inadvertently knock the ball back into Lindsay's path. Lindsay powerfully left foot shot the ball high into the net with his first touch on re-taking possession of the ball. However the referee disallowed the goal based on an incorrect linesman's offside ruling.[2][1]

Alec Lindsay picked up a loose ball in his own half. Lindsay fed Callaghan on the left who shuttled the ball to Heighway. Heighway passed back to Callaghan who squared a short pass to Smith on the right. Smith played a cross field pass to Hall on the left who crossed with his right foot to Toshack. Newcastle defended but being pressed surrendered possession quickly again to Lindsay. Lindsay's cross was defended by Clark who conceded a throw in. Heighway threw in to Tommy Smith with a throw in on the right. Smith crossed towards Hall on the edge of the penalty area. After Keegan shouted, "Leave it", Hall dived underneath the ball to let it travel to Keegan in time and space on the edge of the box. Keegan took one touch to tee the ball up before opening the scoring with his right foot from just inside the area. 57 minutes had passed.[3][2][1]

Peter Cormack teed up Emlyn Hughes from a free kick. Hughes powerful shot from outside the area went narrowly over the bar. A passing move including possession by Tommy Smith three times and Brian Hall twice led to Heighyway hitting a left foot volley wide from just outside the area.[2][1]

In the 75th minute a long kick from Clemence in goal was head flicked on by Toshack into the path of Heighway. Heighway took two touches to control the ball before shooting in low to McFaul's right hand side for 2-0.[2][1]

Ian Callaghan passed from his own half to Keegan in a wide right position. Keegan's centre was flicked by Toshack's left foot over the bar.[2][1]

Cormack challenged for a high ball just inside his own half. Callaghan won the loose ball to feed Hall. Hall passed out to Toshack on he right. Toshack passed back to Smith who switched play to Lindsay on the left. Lindsay fed Keegan who played a high cross-field pass over to Smith. Smith first time touched the ball with the outside of his right foot to Hall. Hall took two touches to knock the ball back to Smith who had moved further forward. Smith then played a one-two pass with Heighyway before delivering a low centre. With Toshack, Cormack and Keegan lined up along the egde of the six yard area, Keegan scored with his right foot from four yards for 3-0.[2][1]

John Helm commentating said, "Newcastle United have simply been destroyed. Liverpool 3, Newcastle 0 In the most one sided cup final for years." He added, "Newcastle were simply second best."[2]


Liverpool3–0Newcastle United
Keegan Goal 57, 88'
Heighway Goal 74'
Attendance: 100,000
Referee: Gordon Kew
GK 1 England Ray Clemence
RB 2 England Tommy Smith
LB 3 England Alec Lindsay
CB 4 England Phil Thompson
CM 5 Scotland Peter Cormack
CB 6 England Emlyn Hughes (c)
CF 7 England Kevin Keegan
CM 8 Scotland[4][5] Brian Hall
LM 9 Republic of Ireland Steve Heighway
CF 10 Wales John Toshack
RM 11 England Ian Callaghan
DF 12 England Chris Lawler
Scotland Bill Shankly
GK 1 Northern Ireland Willie McFaul
RB 2 England Frank Clark
LB 3 England Alan Kennedy
CM 4 England Terry McDermott
CB 5 England Pat Howard
CB 6 Scotland Bobby Moncur (c)
RW 7 Scotland Jimmy Smith Substituted off 75'
CM 8 Northern Ireland Tommy Cassidy
ST 9 England Malcolm Macdonald
ST 10 England John Tudor
LW 11 England Terry Hibbitt
MF 12 Scotland Tommy Gibb Substituted in 75'
England Joe Harvey

Match rules

  • 90 minutes.
  • 30 minutes of extra-time if necessary.
  • Replay if scores still level.
  • One named substitute.


Malcolm MacDonald said when interviewed by Gerald Sinstadt, "Let's face it, Liverpool were the tops today. They were out of this world and we just couldn't get started. Right from the start they put the pressure on us. They kept going forward at us all the time, they kept finding the spaces, and they just walked all over us in the end, unfortunately you know. And as I say I'm just sorry for our suporters who I thought were maginificent in their feet."[3]

Kevin Keegan said of his first goal, "Brian sort of was going to flick it and I shouted, "leave it". Had he flicked it I couldn't have done anything about it. As it happened as it come through I had plenty of time to do what, really, pick my spot."[3]


  • Kelly, Stephen F. (1997). Bill Shankly: It's Much More Important Than That. London: Virgin Books. ISBN 0-7535-0003-5.
  • Rothmans Football Yearbook 1974–75. London: Queen Anne Press Ltd. 1974.
  • Shankly, Bill; Roberts, John (1976). Shankly. London: Arthur Barker Ltd. ISBN 0-213-16603-8.
  • Smith, Tommy (2008). Anfield Iron. London: Transworld Publishers. ISBN 978-0-593-05958-6.

External links[edit]