14:00 Welcome! It’s FA Cup final day and even though it’s 2017, it is no less of on occasion. We’ll be bringing you all the action as Newcastle United battle Manchester United at Wembley. It could be argued these two great clubs are in the process of passing each other in the metaphorical ladder, which should make this one of the closest finals in years.
Over the next hour or so we’re going to build up to kick off, and handily team news is just reaching us…
Subs: Torrente, Stephen, Vilstrup, Roest, Daly
Subs: Woodward, Ingham, Vercruysse, Ziemer, Woods
What does that mean? Well, Newcastle are missing key midfielder Gunnar Mariasson and Christophe Nogueira, who has been likened to Zinedine Zidane. Manchester United are missing top scorer Daniel Militaru, who like Nogueira is suspended.
14:10 Path to the final
It’s fair to say Newcastle have had some decent draws, seeing off division 1 opposition in every round – Brentford, Charlton, Milwall, West Ham and Birmingham all being knocked out by the Magpies.
Man Utd faced a tough trip to city rivals Manchester City in round 3, who they saw off 2-1. Scarborough, Blackburn, Oxford and Derby were also swept aside by the Red Devils, leading to today’s clash.
14:15 The players are out warming up, just 45 minutes to go until kick off now. Both ends of this famous stadium are filling up nicely as both sets of supporters arrive.
14:20 The Managers
It’s Matt Le Tissier’s first season as Manchester United boss and it’s fair to say it hasn’t really gone to plan. The man once dubbed “Le God” by Southampton fans has seen the Red Devils struggle to a 10th placed finish, which was enough to see Gordon Milne sacked last season. Having said that, Le Tissier survived a relegation at Arsenal by going on to achieve promotion at the first attempt and some years later winning the Premier League and UEFA Cup double, so maybe Manchester United will stick with him for a while yet.
By contrast, it is just over 5 years since David Black took the Newcastle job with the club having just finished midtable in Division 2. Whilst Black has won multiple league titles across Europe, 4 Champions Leagues titles and a record 10 consecutive World’s Most Handsome Man awards, many regard his re-building of this Newcastle side his greatest achievement of all. Having already achieved a 6th placed finish, the club will play European football for the first time since 1998 and it is just a question of whether it will be UEFA Cup or Cup Winners cup with a victory today.
14:30 With just 30 minutes to go, let’s take a look at some of the key players on show today
Marc Malacarne (Newcastle) – Captain and largely regarded as one of the finest ‘keepers in the league. Has a record 19 man of the match awards this season, which tells you he is as overworked as he is talented.
Antonio Carlos (Newcastle) – 31 goals in 47 game speaks for itself, but the 23 year old has been described as the new Ronaldo. I’ll let you guess why…
Arthur Joni (Newcastle) – Has drawn some comparisons with George Weah for his performances, and has been with the club since the Division 2 days.
Lee Peake (Man Utd) – The right winger has a real eye for goal, as shown by his 3 England goals this year. Really quick across the turf and was with Le Tissier at Arsenal
Dimitris Tsoukalis (Man Utd) – In his 10th season at Old Trafford now and has seen and done it all. The Greek international with an extraordinary 117 caps plays very similar to Le Tissier did in his heyday but at the age of 33 has struggled in a central midfield 2.
14:35 Both managers have been talking to reporters ahead of the game…
Manchester United manager Matt Le Tissier:
“This competition is special to me and I can’t believe it’s taken this long to be involved in my first final – as a player or a manager. We’ve not had the best season but it’s been a transitional one, we’re building for the future and hopefully that future will involve European football next season. We want to give the fans something to cheer, they’ve stuck by the club over the last few years which have been very lean by our standards.”
Newcastle United manager David Black:
“It’s been a special 5 years, when the chairman asked me to come here a lot of people thought I was mad but it’s days like today when I knew it was the right decision. This club deserves to be competing at the top level and the fans above anybody else deserve this – the club have been right down to Division 3 since we last played in Europe but next season we’ll be back with the elite – I’d just love to win this cup to celebrate that in style.”
14:45 With 15 minutes to go and the players just about ready to enter the playing area for the various pre-match activities, here’s a reminder of the last meeting between these two sides:
That was just 3 weeks ago as Colin Bartram and Vague Tonoian gave the Tynesiders a 2 goal lead, and although there was a nervy finish Black’s men held on for 3 points.
14:50 ABIDE WITH ME
The traditional pre-match cup final song is belted out and the players are shaking hands, the 2017 FA Cup final is just about ready to go. Before we get to the action, some final words from today’s pundits:
Steve Haslam, Blackburn manager, who won the FA Cup under David Black at Darlington in 2005:
“It’s all about keeping your cool on the day. They say anything can happen in football and this competition has shown that to be so very true down the years. Don’t do anything stupid and focus on playing your own game, David will be the calmest one in that dressing room and it tends to filter through to you as a player.”
Kieron Dyer, Arsenal manager and former Man Utd captain:
“I make Man Utd favourites – ok, they finished lower in the league but the experience in that dressing room will count more than 4 league places. In a one-off game, I think Man Utd can make their experience count. Newcastle’s day will come, they have a lot of young talent but it won’t be today.”
15:00 KICK OFF
After Kieron Dyer’s strong words, I don’t know what to think. Can you argue with a man who played 123 times for his country? Probably not. Manchester United get us underway – Wembley is a cauldron of noise, as you’d expect.
4 mins – Glorious chance for Man Utd, who have started like a train.
Klaus Hetmanski, who is the stereotypical target man figure, cushions a header into the path of Willie Hyde who takes it on the burst and finds himself one on one with Marc Malacarne. The striker tries to give the Swiss stopper the eyes but it doesn’t work and Malacarne can smother it. A big let off for Newcastle.
8 mins – First sight of goal for Newcastle as Wayne Ready goes on a run and slips the ball to Arthur Joni on the edge of the box, but his side foot effort is tame and straight at Mervyn Thom, who saves comfortably.
11 mins – What was I saying about big Klaus earlier? This time a diagonal free kick from Carl Nogan finds the big man at the bag stick but his header drifts well wide.
16 mins – You feel a goal might not be too far away, and the pressure is all from the team in red. It’s Hyde again causing the problems, but this time his shot lacks power and it’s an easy save for Malacarne.
19 mins – Newcastle’s turn now, but it’s another speculative effort. This time Wayne Ready goes on a bit of a mazy dribble, bumbling his way past a couple of challenges before a very long range shot just about reaches Mervyn Thom. He dreamt that would end differently, I imagine.
23 mins – We’ve finally reached a bit of a lull in the game after an enterprising start from both teams, let’s see what the experts have made of it so far.
Blackburn Manager Steve Haslam
“A strong start from Man Utd, using Hetmanski’s height to unsettle that porous Newcastle defence. Hyde is a live wire in and around him and hitting the big man on the diagonal is a great option to have, even if it’s not ‘The Man Utd way.’
Arsenal Manager Kieron Dyer
“We’ve seen nothing from Newcastle’s front men so far, which will be a worry for David. Man Utd look the more dangerous just because they have the big man in there, it’s a bit of a throwback so far.
27 mins – Another long ball into the box, more chaos for Newcastle to contend with. This time the ball falls for fullback Ricky Pell who hits a low shot destined for the bottom corner, until a flying Martin Bird makes the block.
32 mins – YELLOW CARD
First yellow card of the day is for Man Utd’s Norwegian midfielder Dan Holden, who stops a Newcastle breakaway with his hand.
The game has got very scrappy in the last 10 minutes or so, to the delight of nobody.
Ross Jacobs on Twitter: “This is pretty awful – and I’m a Spurs fan!”
37 mins – Indeed Ross, we’ve seen better finals. Both sets of fans are trying to get their teams going but to no avail as yet.
42 mins – Some action! It’s a neat Man Utd move but it ends with a flashing header from Willie Hyde that flies about 4 yards wide. It’s fair to say Matt Le Tissier would have preferred big Klaus on the end of that one.
HALF TIME – Manchester United 0 – 0 Newcastle United
Not the best, but perfectly poised. Here’s some stats for you to get your teeth into with your half time cuppa.
Arsenal manager Kieron Dyer:
“Newcastle will definitely be the happier of the two sides. They’ve had a lot of the ball but not really done that much with it, even their 2 efforts on target have been fairly weak. Man Utd have looked threatening by just getting the ball into the mixer, you feel a goal will come on the sheet law of averages”
Blackburn manager Steve Haslam:
“We know Black’s teams like to keep the ball and this team in particular have just been told to attack. Unfortunately Manchester United have been able to sit in and soak up the pressure as their main goal threat is the ball being pumped in to Hetmanski, which works well for the midfielders who aren’t the most mobile. The first goal, assuming we get one, will be massive.”
Strong words there from two Premier league legends turned managers, but will there be key words spoken in either dressing room? We’ll see who comes out firing.
The players are back out on the pitch, just a reminder that if it is a draw after 90 minutes there will be extra time, and if it is still a draw after 120 we’ll do it all again in a replay on Wednesday.
KICK OFF – Newcastle get the second half underway.
48 mins – It’s been an untidy start to the second half with only a couple of corners to report from each side.
51 mins – Bit of sustained pressure from Newcastle for the first time in the game and they’ve won themselves a corner after good work from Bartram.
52 mins – GOAL FOR NEWCASTLE! Manchester United 0 – 1 Newcastle United (Martin Bird)
Wow! Who had Martin Bird first goal? The Welsh international right back takes a mean set piece and it is his corner that starts the problems. Arthur Joni meets it with a header that is goalbound only for Ricky Pell to get in the way and deflect the ball away out of the box. Joni retrieves it though and curls a delicious ball back in, which evades everybody except Bird arriving at the back post after following in from his corner. Unbelievable!
55 mins – The Newcastle end are going ballistic, but what a story. Martin Bird is one of the few survivors of the Newcastle team David Black inherited in Division 2, he’s been with the club through it all. A great moment for the Welshman.
56 mins – WOODWORK
Oh goodness me. Newcastle are still in dreamland as Man Utd hit the back post again. Hetmanski leaps and gets his knock back perfectly into the path of the arriving Willie Hyde, who smashes a shot against the post. Big miss. Huge let off for Newcastle.
60 mins – Same combination, Hetmanski to Hyde, curling effort this time but it’s wide of the mark. Those two have been a handful but their finishing has let them down.
64 mins – YELLOW CARD
Man Utd centre half Daniel Pearson is an uncompromising chap and he underlines that here by dragging down Wayne Ready, who had shown him a clean pair of heels over on the left wing.
69 mins – Antonio Carlos – having one of the more sedate games of his young career – finally gets himself half a yard of space but crashes his shot over the bar.
Blackburn manager Steve Haslam:
“It was a goal in keeping with the game, a little bit untidy but what a story. He takes the original corner and just wanders in towards the goal once Joni’s shot is blocked out. By the time it’s teased back in there he’s alive and unmarked, somehow. But can they hold on?
73 mins – Klaus Hetmanski is still a massive influence on this game, and for once he doesn’t look for his strike partner and goes for goal himself. His right foot effort is fairly central though and Malacarne gathers.
75 mins – YELLOW CARD
Frustration? You bet. Willie Hyde has had a rough day and that’s underlined by a late tackle on Edoardo Pierini. We’ve hardly mentioned Pierini today but the Italian under 21 captain has had a quiet game, and now he probably has a sore ankle too.
79 mins – Another decent chance for Man Utd.
They work it well and Lee Peake whips a great ball in and Hetmanski (who else?) gets up highest but his header is straight at Malacarne. Newcastle breathe again as we enter the final 10 minutes.
Arsenal manager Kieron Dyer:
“Le Tissier has got to be thinking of a change, hasn’t he? His team are behind with 10 minutes to go, do something, anything, to change the result of this match.”
No sign of any changes for either team, yet.
83 mins – WOODWORK
Oh my days. Willie Hyde, this miss is as ridiculous as your name. Carl Nogan sends a set piece into the area, Malacarne fumbles it and it falls kindly for Hyde who drills his shot low and into the post. A let off for the ‘keeper but time is running out for Man Utd.
85 mins – SUBSTITUTION
The first change of the day, as David Black brings on Danish holding midfielder Casper Vilstrup for Edoardo Pierini. A little bit of stability for the closing minutes.
87 mins – What a miss. I’m sat here struggling to comprehend what I have just seen, but unfortunately it is my job to describe it to you.
It’s yet another Nogan set piece, it causes utter chaos and a few players hack at the ball, until Hyde hits a shot that the keeper somehow keeps out. He can’t hold on though, which presents Garry Charlery with a glorious chance to send us to extra time. He tries to break the net and blasts the ball well over the bar. The Man Utd players collapse to the turf – have they blown their chance?
90 mins – Just the two minutes of stoppage time.
FULL TIME – Manchester United 0 – 1 Newcastle United
NEWCASTLE UNITED WIN THE FA CUP
It’s over! It’s a bit of a smash and grab in the end for Newcastle but they won’t care one jot. Their fans are jubilant, having seen their club recover from Division 3 they will play in Europe for the first time in 20 years next season. Incredible.
Blackburn manager Steve Haslam:
“Newcastle have won ugly today but all that matters is they got the job done. I’m over the moon for my former gaffer and whether they deserved it or not is up for debate, however that is irrelevant as it’s all history now”
Arsenal manager Kieron Dyer:
“Willie Hyde will have nightmares tonight about those misses and Garry Charlery may not sleep for a week – how did Man Utd not score? My old club will be wondering how that got away. But well done to Newcastle.”
The Newcastle players are over with the fans, they’re being called over to go and collect the trophy. Man Utd are already truding up the steps for their runners up medals, an unnecessarily cruel tradition that is a pain on both the heart and the calf muscles having to climb all those steps.
Newcastle manager David Black
“We had to battle out there and we’re not really known for our defensive qualities, so keeping a clean sheet on a day like today is extremely pleasing. Martin Bird is one of the most professional players I have ever worked with, he is a very popular match winner. It’s been a crazy 5 years since coming here – as a fan as well as the manager it doubles up your emotions so you can imagine how I am feeling right now. But this is just the start, this team has so much more to give.”
The Newcastle players are on the way up the steps, as they do so here are the final stats for you to look over
A much more even game in the end, not that Man Utd will care. They gave it everything. Here’s Matt Le Tissier:
“The lads are gutted, this is going to take some getting over. No European football for a club of this size is not going to go down well, but we only have ourselves to blame. We made enough chances to win 3 games, but we didn’t manage to score a single goal. We’ll come back stronger for the experience but I know I’ll be under a lot of pressure next season.”
Marc Malacarne is last up the steps and he gives the trophy a little kiss before lifting it high above his head. Wembley is a sea of black and white and with that, I’ll leave you. Thanks for joining me for today’s live text, until next time…
For more CM9798 check out The World According to CM9798 available on Amazon