1988 FA Cup Final

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1988 FA Cup Final
Event 1987–88 FA Cup
Date14 May 1988 (1988-05-14)
Venue Wembley Stadium, London
Referee Brian Hill (Northamptonshire)

The 1988 FA Cup Final was the 107th final of the FA Cup. It took place on Saturday, 14 May 1988 at Wembley Stadium and was contested between Wimbledon and Liverpool, the dominant English club side of the 1980s and newly crowned league champions. [1] [2]


In one of the biggest shocks in the entire history of the competition, Lawrie Sanchez' solitary goal of the game won Wimbledon their only FA Cup final win in their history; they had just completed their second season in the Football League First Division and had only been in the Football League for a total of 11 years. [3] [4] The final also featured the first ever penalty save in an FA Cup final, by Dave Beasant from John Aldridge. Beasant is often mistakenly believed to have been the first goalkeeper to captain a winning side in an FA Cup Final but this honour falls to Major William Merriman of the Royal Engineers who captained his side to victory in 1875. [5] It was the last FA Cup final to be broadcast live simultaneously by both the BBC and ITV, which had happened at every final since 1958. Wimbledon's victory ended Liverpool's bid to become the first team to win the Double twice, [6] [7] a feat that was eventually achieved by rivals Manchester United in 1996 and Arsenal in 1998. The game was the last that former England international Laurie Cunningham would play in England, before his death in Spain in 1989. [8]

Road to Wembley





Stoke City (A)

Stoke City (H)



4th Aston Villa (A)0–2
5th Everton (A)0–1
QF Manchester City (A)0–4
SF Nottingham Forest (N)2–1
Key: (H) = Home venue; (A) = Away venue; (N) = Neutral venue.


3rd West Bromwich Albion (H)4–1
4th Mansfield Town (A)1–2
5th Newcastle United (A)1–3
QF Watford (H)2–1
SF Luton Town (N)2–1
Key: (H) = Home venue; (A) = Away venue; (N) = Neutral venue.

The build up

Liverpool had just been crowned once again as champions of Division One and were the all-conquering giants of English football throughout the 1980s. Wimbledon had just finished a creditable seventh in the Division One table that season, only their second year in the top tier, but had surprised everyone as they were expected to finish much lower than that. Liverpool, with a team full of international star players, were strongly expected and favoured to win the FA Cup by all the experts, as they had secured their 17th league title by playing in an exciting and flamboyant style, whereas Wimbledon, who had been playing in the semi-professional Southern Football League just eleven years earlier, were derided by many pundits as being technically limited and dismissed as relying only on their strength, and were expected to have almost no chance of beating their illustrious opponents.

Match summary

Wimbledon took the lead shortly before half-time, when Lawrie Sanchez's looping header, from a Dennis Wise free kick on the left, went across goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar and into the net. [10] Liverpool created a host of chances, including a chipped goal over the goalkeeper by Peter Beardsley which was disallowed as the referee had already awarded a free kick to Liverpool, but were unable to find a way past Wimbledon goalkeeper Dave Beasant. The Merseysiders were awarded a penalty on the hour mark following a foul by Clive Goodyear on John Aldridge. [11] However, Aldridge's penalty was saved by Beasant's diving save to his left, thus Beasant became the first keeper to save a penalty in a Wembley FA Cup final. [12] The Londoners survived more pressure from Liverpool to secure their first major trophy and a notable upset in FA Cup Final history. Captain Dave Beasant became the second goalkeeper to lift the FA Cup as a result (Royal Engineers goalkeeper and captain Major William Merriman lifted the Cup in 1875). [13] After the final whistle John Motson who was commentating for the BBC delivered his famous line: "The Crazy Gang have beaten the Culture Club." [14]


Although they had won the Cup, Wimbledon were prevented from competing in the 1988–89 European Cup Winners' Cup the following season due to the ongoing ban on all English teams from European competitions, following the actions of a group of Liverpool supporters in the 1985 European Cup Final Heysel disaster. At the time of the final, it was hoped that the ban would be rescinded, but after a number of violent incidents involving English fans during the 1988 European Championships, the FA withdrew their application for readmission.[ citation needed ]

Match details

Liverpool 0–1 Wimbledon
Report Sanchez Soccerball shade.svg 37'
Wembley Stadium, London
Attendance: 98,203
Referee: Brian Hill
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Kit right arm shoulder stripes white stripes.png
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Kit socks 3 stripes white.png
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Kit left arm.svg
Kit body yellowshoulders.png
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GK1 Flag of Zimbabwe.svg Bruce Grobbelaar
RB4 Flag of Scotland.svg Steve Nicol
CB2 Flag of Scotland.svg Gary Gillespie
CB6 Flag of Scotland.svg Alan Hansen (c)
LB3 Flag of England.svg Gary Ablett
RM9 Flag of Ireland.svg Ray Houghton
CM5 Flag of England.svg Nigel Spackman Sub off.svg 74'
CM11 Flag of England.svg Steve McMahon
LM10 Flag of England.svg John Barnes
CF7 Flag of England.svg Peter Beardsley
CF8 Flag of Ireland.svg John Aldridge Sub off.svg 64'
MF12 Flag of England.svg Craig Johnston Sub on.svg 64'
MF14 Flag of Denmark.svg Jan Mølby Sub on.svg 74'
Flag of Scotland.svg Kenny Dalglish
GK1 Flag of England.svg Dave Beasant (c)
RB2 Flag of England.svg Clive Goodyear
CB5 Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg Eric Young
CB6 Flag of England.svg Andy Thorn
LB3 Flag of Ireland.svg Terry Phelan
CM10 Ulster Banner.svg Lawrie Sanchez
CM4 Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg Vinnie Jones
RW8 Flag of England.svg Alan Cork Sub off.svg 56'
LW11 Flag of England.svg Dennis Wise
CF7 Flag of England.svg Terry Gibson Sub off.svg 63'
CF9 Flag of England.svg John Fashanu
DF12 Flag of England.svg John Scales Sub on.svg 63'
MF14 Flag of England.svg Laurie Cunningham Sub on.svg 56'
Flag of England.svg Bobby Gould

Match rules

  • 90 minutes
  • 30 minutes of extra-time if necessary
  • Replay if scores still level
  • Two named substitutes
  • Maximum of two substitutions

See also

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