Saturday, 7 May 2016

A Moment in Time - 1974-75 Fulham's Record Cup Run

What’s the record for the most FA Cup matches played by one club to reach a Final?  11, set by Fulham in 1974-75.  They fell just short of winning the trophy for the first time in their history.  Their performance during that campaign remains their best ever in the competition. 
They provided one of the most romantic stories for an FA Cup Final as England’s World Cup winning captain, Bobby Moore lead Fulham out at Wembley against West Ham, the club he’d lifted the tophy for in 1964.  He was joined by another former England international, Alan Mullery, who himself had been an FA Cup winner with Tottenham in 1967. 

Throughout the sixties Fulham had enjoyed First Division status, but back-to-back relegations saw them begin the 1969-70 season in the Third Division.  Two years later they were back in the second tier of English football.  In March 1974 Moore was allowed to leave West Ham, where he had set an appearance record (later to be overtaken by Billy Bonds) and played with utter distinction in an auspicious career spanning sixteen years.  Mullery had begun his career at Fulham in 1958, the same year Moore made his professional debut, and moved to Tottenham in 1964 where he won FA, League and UEFA Cup winners medals.  By 1972 he was back at Craven Cottage.

1974-75 became famous for the year Manchester United played in the Second Division.  They were top of the table at the turn of the year, with Fulham sitting smack bang in mid-table.  For the Third Round they’d been drawn against the side immediately above them, Hull City.  This is where our story begins

PETER MELLOR (age 27, 12 apps)  -  Began his career at Burnley in 1969.  Joined Fulham in 1972.  Played in every game of the 1974-75 season.  Stayed at the club until 1977 when the emergence of Gerry Peyton reduced his first team appearances. He moved to Hereford for a year and then settled at Portsmouth for the remaining years of his career in England.  He became a firm favourite with Fratton Park supporters who voted him Player of the Season in 1979

JOHN CUTBUSH (age 25, 9 apps)  -  Born in Malta he started his professional career at Tottenham in 1966, but moved to Fulham six years later having never gained a first team appearance.  Spent five years at Craven Cottage before moving to Sheffield United.  He made almost as many appearances at Bramall Lane as he did for Fulham and in 1981 he moved to United States for take part in indoor soccer.
JOHN FRASER (age 21, 4 apps)  -  Joined Fulham’s youth system in 1971.  He was never a regular first choice at full-back, but stepped in whenever injuries occurred.  During the 1974-75 season he came in when Cutbush was injured and then when Les Strong was going to miss the FA Cup Final, Fraser came in at left-back.
LES STRONG (age 22, 11 apps)  -  A local lad, he joined the youth team at Fulham and spent the majority of his professional career at Craven Cottage.  Was an ever-present in all matches during the 1974-75 season until he picked up an injury just two weeks before the FA Cup Final.  He remained at the club until 1983 making 372 league appearances.
JOHN LACY (age 24, 11 apps)  -  Born in Liverpool, Lacy was recommended to Fulham by former player, George Cohen.  Played in all but one of Fulham’s FA Cup matches, missing one of the replays against Hull City.  He developed a good partnership with Bobby Moore, and earned a transfer to Tottenham in 1978.  Eventually he moved onto Crystal Palace for a season in 1983.
BOBBY MOORE (age 34, 12 apps)  -  The most famous player at the club and at the time was possibly one of the most famous players throughout the world.  Captained England to the World Cup win in 1966 whilst also captaining West Ham to several honours in the mid-sixties.  He was allowed to leave Upton Park and chose to move across London to Fulham.  Missed just one league game during 1974-75 and played in every FA Cup match.  Played his final game for the club in May 1977 and moved to America to play in the NASL.  In February 1993, Moore died from bowel and liver cancer.  He was one of the most decorated players England has ever produced.
ERNIE HOWE (age 22, 1 app)  -  Joined Fulham’s youth ranks in 1973 often deputising when defenders were injured.  Made just three league appearances in 1974-75 and replaced John Lacy in one of the FA Cup replays against Hull City.  Moved to QPR in 1977 spending five years there before moving to Portsmouth.

ALAN MULLERY (age 33, 12 apps)  -  Began his career at Fulham in 1958, taking over from Johnny Haynes as captain before moving to Tottenham in 1964.  Was capped by England in March 1964 but missed out on the 1966 World Cup.  Earned infamy as the first England international to be sent-off in a full match.  Played an important part of England’s World Cup team in 1970.  Won FA, League and UEFA Cups with Tottenham and was club captain, before moving back to Fulham in 1972.  Captained Fulham throughout their cup run.  Gave up playing in 1976 to embark on a fairly successful career at manager.
ALAN SLOUGH (age 28, 12 apps, 2 goals)  -  Began his career at his local club, Luton Town, in 1965.  Moved to Fulham in 1973 and became an important part of their midfield.  Played in all but the last two league games in the 1974-75 season but played in every FA Cup game.  Left Fulham for Peterborough in 1977 before finishing his career at Millwall.
JIMMY CONWAY (age28, 10 apps, 1 goal)  -  Born in Dublin he began his career with Bohemians in 1964 before moving to England and Fulham in 1966.  Played as a winger or inside-left and made over 300 appearances for the club before he moved to Man City in 1976 and then eventually onto Portland Timbers in America.
JOHN CONWAY (age 23, 2 apps)  -  Brother of Jimmy, he also started his career with Bohemians and moved to Fulham in 1971.  Only played seven league games of the 1974-75 season and only twice in the FA Cup run.  During his four years at Craven Cottage he only made a total of 38 appearances and moved to Switzerland in 1976.
BARRY LLOYD (age 26, 3 apps)  -  Started as an apprentice at Chelsea before he moved to Fulham in 1969.  Made over 250 appearances for the club.  Began the 1974-75 season as a regular in the number ten shirt for the first twenty games and then only made a handful of appearances after that.  Was substitute in the FA Cup Final but never came on.

JOHN DOWIE (age 29, 8 apps, 1 goal)  -  Born in Hamilton, Scotland and was a schoolboy at Rangers but never made the grade at the club.  Moved to Fulham in 1973.  Never really established himself in the team although started most of the last 15 league games during the 1974-75 season.  Missed the Third Round matches against Hull City but played in the following FA Cup matches.  Made way for Jimmy Conway in the Final.
VIV BUSBY (age 26, 12 apps, 6 goals)  -  Began his career at Wycombe in 1966 before moving to Luton Town four years later.  In August 1973 he signed for Fulham and became a firm favourite at Craven Cottage.  During the 1974-75 season he scored 18 goals, including 6 in the cup run.  He left a year later to join Norwich before moving again a year after that to Stoke City.
LES BARRETT (age 27, 12 apps, 1 goal)  -  Only two other players have made more appearances for Fulham than Barrett.  He joined in 1965 and stayed until 1977.  He was top scorer during their Third Division promotion push in 1970-71.  Missed just one match during the 1974-75 season and moved to Millwall in 1977 before moving to America to play for California Surf a year later.
JOHN MITCHELL (age 23, 6 apps, 2 goals)  -  Born in St.Albans he started his career with his local club before moving to Fulham in 1972.  Played 170 games, scoring 57 goals during a six year career.  Made as many sub appearances as starts in the league in 1974-75 but two goals against Norwich in the league earned him a place in the Semi-Final games against Birmingham, where he scored both goals and then scored another double against Portsmouth back in the league.  He left Fulham in 1978 to join Millwall.

3rd January 1975, Craven Cottage, 8897
FULHAM   (1)   1   (Jimmy Conway)
HULL CITY   (0)   1   (Wagstaff)
FULHAM: Mellor; Cutbush, Lacy, Moore, Strong; Slough, Mullery, Jim Conway; John Conway (Mitchell), Busby, Barrett
HULL CITY: Wealands; Banks, Croft, Burnett, Daniels; Lord, Grimes, Galvin, Greenwood; Wood, Wagstaff (Deere)

The two had met in the league almost two months earlier at Boothferry Park where Hull ran out 2-1 winners.  Going into the game Fulham had just played three 0-0 draws over the Christmas period, and had only scored one goal in their previous five matches.  Despite this lack of success in front of goal, they were unbeaten in their last seven matches.  Hull, in comparison had suffered back-to-back defeats against Nottingham Forest and York City.  They hadn’t won in their last five matches which had seen them slip from fifth to tenth.
Dubliner, Jimmy Conway, had scored three times in the first five games of the season but had not found the net since.  He chose the ideal moment to end his drought by giving Fulham as first half lead.  Hull’s top scorer, Ken Wagstaff, then levelled in the second half before he aggravated a knee injury and had to go off.  Unfortunately, for the Wagstaff and Hull City they would not see him again all season.  The game ended 1-1 and so a replay for set four days later

7th January 1975, Boothferry Park, 11,850
HULL CITY   (0)   2   (Fletcher, Croft)
FULHAM   (0)   2   (Busby 2)
HULL CITY: Wealands; Banks, Croft, Burnett, Daniel; Grimes, Lord, Galvin, Greenwood; Fletcher, Hemmerman
FULHAM: Mellor; Cutbush, Howe, Moore, Strong; Slough, Mullery, Jim Conway; John Conway, Busby, Barrett
One eleven ties which went to a replay as the two teams travelled up North to try and settle things.  The first half was goalless, but just after the hour mark Viv Busby put the visitors ahead.  Fulham’s left-back, Les Strong, then made an error with a backpass and Peter Fletcher equalised for Hull.  The tie was level after ninety minutes so extra time was required.  Stuart Croft put Hull in front for the first time in the tie, but Busby was again on hand to score for Fulham and take the game to a third meeting.

13th January 1975, Filbert Street, Leicester, 4,929
FULHAM   (1)   1   (Slough)
HULL CITY   (0)   0
FULHAM: Mellor; Cutbush, Lacy, Moore, Strong; Slough, Mullery, Jim Conway; Mitchell, Busby, Barrett
HULL CITY: Wealands; Banks, Deere, Burnett, Daniel; McGill (Fletcher), Lord, Galvin; Wood, Grimes, Greenwood
This match was played just two days after league matches for both clubs.  Fulham had lost 0-1 at home to a Barry Butlin goal for Nottingham Forest, who had just installed Brian Clough as manager, whereas Chris Galvin’s goal gave Hull a 1-0 win at home to Oxford United.  Neutral grounds were chosen for second replays and the two travelled to Leicester’s Filbert Street to try and find a winner.  The game was decided by a solitary goal in the first half when Viv Busby broke clear just inside his own half and then slid the ball to Alan Slough who fired it home.  Fulham had eventually won and were through to the next round.

Cup holders, Liverpool, went through comfortably as Steve Heighway and Kevin Keegan were on target to give them a 2-0 win at home to Stoke City.  League leaders, Ipswich Town, came from behind to win 2-1 at Wolves, with goals from Colin Viljoen and David Johnson.  There were shocks as non-league Leatherhead won at Brighton (then of the Third Division).  But the biggest was Wimbledon (also a non-league side then) beating First Division Burnley 1-0 at Turf Moor.  Altrincham, also a non-league side, pulled off a shock themselves by taking Everton to a replay as a Kenny Clements penalty had saved the First Division side’s blushes in the first match at Goodison, only for Joe Royle and Mick Lyons to see them through in a replay which was held at Old Trafford to accommodate a larger crowd.  Stafford forced Rotherham to a replay and beat them 2-0 away from home.  Manchester United, recently relegated to the Second Division, were held at home to a goalless draw by Walsall who then put them out 3-2 in the replay after extra time.  Future Walsall manager, Alan Buckley, scored twice.

In between the victory over Hull and the next round of the cup, Fulham’s league form continued on its withering slump.  They were beaten 0-1 at Blackpool, extending their run of league games without a goal to five, with just one goal in their previous seven matches.   Torrential rain meant the game, originally scheduled for Saturday 25th January, couldn’t be played until the following Tuesday
28th January 1975, Craven Cottage, 20,000
FULHAM   (0)   0
FULHAM: Mellor; Cutbush, Lacy, Moore, Strong (Dowie); Slough, Mullery, Lloyd; Mitchell, Busby, Barrett
NOTTINGHAM FOREST: Middleton; O’Kane, Chapman, Cottam, Greenwood; O’Neill, Lyall, Bowyer, Robertson; Butlin, Martin
Forest had only played twice since Clough took over, including their win at Fulham and were the more dominant of the sides.  They included players such as John Robertson, Martin O’Neill, Ian Bowyer, Barry Butlin and John Middleton, all of whom would have roles to play, with varying success, in the club’s rise to the top of European football by the end of the decade.  Peter Mellor kept the home side in the game with some important saves and the match ended goalless.

3rd February 1975, City Ground, 25,361
NOTTINGHAM FOREST   (0)   1   (Martin)
FULHAM   (1)   1   (Dowie)
NOTTINGHAM FOREST:Middleton; Jackson, Chapman, Cottam, Greenwood (Dennehy); O’Neill, Richardson, Lyall, Robertson; Martin, Butlin
FULHAM: Mellor; Cutbush, Lacy, Moore, Strong; Slough, Mullery, Jim Conway; Dowie, Busby, Barrett
This would be Fulham’s eighth match of the year and six of them had been against either Hull City or Nottingham Forest, as Fulham’s league match before this cup replay was another meeting with Hull.  They finally scored as John Dowie ended their drought in a 1-1 draw. 
The cup replay saw Fulham take the lead in the first half as Busby found Dowie who beat Middleton.  Forest had lost at Oldham in their league match before this replay, but managed to fight back when Neil Martin equalised in the second half, to take the game into extra time.  No further goals could separate the two teams and for the second successive round, Fulham’s cup tie would go into a third game.

5th February 1975, Craven Cottage, 11,920
FULHAM   (1)   1   (Slough)
NOTTINGHAM FOREST   (0)   1   (Robertson)
FULHAM: Mellor; Cutbush, Lacy, Moore, Strong; Slough, Mullery, Jim Conway; Dowie, Busby, Barrett
NOTTINGHAM FOREST: Middleton; O’Kane, Chapman, Cottam, Richardson; O’Neill, Lyall, Bowyer, Robertson; Martin, Butlin
As was the case back in those days, replays would often be scheduled within a few days of the previous match, and this one was no different.  Just two days after the draw in Nottingham, the two teams donned their gear again for another go back at the Cottage.  Fulham were again the first team to score when Alan Slough pounced on a poor clearance from Bob Chapman and the home side lead at the break.  But a brilliant free-kick from John Robertson levelled things in the second half and once again a period of an extra half an hour couldn’t split them, and a fourth meeting was necessary.

10th February 1975, City Ground, 23,240
NOTTINGHAM FOREST   (0)   1   (Chapman)
FULHAM   (1)   2   (Busby 2)
NOTTINGHAM FOREST: Middleton; O’Kane, Chapman, Jones, Richardson; O’Neill, Lyall, Bowyer, Robertson; Dennehy, Martin
FULHAM: Mellor; Cutbush, Lacy, Moore, Strong; Slough, Mullery, Jim Conway; Dowie, Busby, Barrett
As if two cup games in a week wasn’t enough, Fulham had a league fixture to fulfil at the weekend when they travelled to Villa Park to take on an Aston Villa side pushing for promotion.  Viv Busby put Fulham in front but Chris Nicholl equalised and Fulham fans had yet another draw to endure.  Forest weren’t so fortunate, ending up on the wrong side of a five-goal thriller at Bolton.
Two days later the two sides met for a fourth time to try and sort out a result, with the next round of scheduled for the coming weekend.  For the third game running, Fulham took the lead in the first half as Viv Busby converted Jimmy Conway’s cross.  Busby then grabbed his second in the second half when Mullery played a brilliant through-ball and the striker rounded Middleton to slide the ball into the empty net.  Chapman got one back for the home side but at last we had a winner, and for Fulham they could now looked forward to a trip to Goodison Park.

The Fourth Round saw the end of Liverpool’s defence of the cup as they were beaten 0-1 at Ipswich Town.  Ipswich, who were second in the First Division at the time, won thanks to a Mick Mills strike.  League leaders Everton, who’d been taken to a replay by Altrincham in the previous round, won at Plymouth with Mick Lyons grabbing a double.  Lyons was now being employed as Bob Latchford’s strike partner owing to an injury to Joe Royle.  West Ham were held at home by Swindon and were behind in the replay before goals from Brooking and Holland took them through.
The shock of the round came at Fellows Park where Third Division Walsall put out First Division Newcastle United. They’d knocked out Manchester United in the previous round so they were gaining a reputation.  Lowest ranked club Leatherhead chose to host their home tie against Leicester City at Filbert Street and were rewarded by a crowd of over 32,000.  Amazingly they were 2-0 up at half-time but Sammels, Earle and Weller got the ‘home’ side out of the mire for Leicester to progress 3-2.  The other non-league side, Stafford, also chose an away ground for their home tie against Peterborough and 31,000 watched them get narrowly beaten 2-3 at Stoke.

Fulham’s reward for finally seeing off Nottingham Forest was a trip to league leaders Everton.  It normally takes a club six matches to reach a Final and Fulham had already played seven games.

15th February 1975, Goodison Park, 45,223
EVERTON   (0)   1   (Kenyon)
FULHAM   (1)   2   (Busby 2)
EVERTON: Davies; Bernard, Clements, Kenyon, Seargeant; Jones, Hurst, Dobson; Lyons, Latchford (Telfer), Pearson
FULHAM: Mellor; Cutbush, Lacy, Moore, Strong; Slough, Mullery, Jim Conway; Dowie (Lloyd), Busby, Barrett

Everton lead the First Division on goal average in a season littered with draws. Everton were top but had drawn more games than they’d won.  Fulham should feel proud the attendance was the second highest at Goodison all season, bettered only for the visit of Liverpool back in November.  Fulham again went in front after a strange mistake between goalkeeper Dai Davies and Roger Kenyon.  During the build-up play Busby and Jimmy Conway set Barrett away down the left and his ball across the six yard box looked to have eluded Conway at the near post, but as Davies went down to smother the ball Kenyon, who’d been tracking Busby back, collided with his keeper and appeared to knock the ball out of his hands. As the keeper and the defender lay on the ground Busby cooly tapped the ball over the line to give the Second Division club a first half lead.  Fulham were unlucky not to go further ahead when after a corner, the ball into the box appeared to come off John Hurst and Conway put the ball into the net.  Conway was clearly offside but only if the ball had come from his own player.  Everton were given a reprieve by Clive Thomas, the referee, who would earn more infamous notoriety from Evertonians for his cup decisions a couple of years later.
In the second half Everton pressed for an equaliser and finally got their reward when a left-wing corner curled in right-footed into the six-yard box by Jones, was headed in by Roger Kenyon.  As the game got stretched towards the end it opened up and Everton’s right-back, Bernard found space down the right near the bye-line. His high cross saw Lyons challenge the Fulham keeper, Mellor. He headed it against Lacy on the line and then put in the rebound, but Thomas blew for a foul on Mellor. Replays would suggest Everton were unlucky but maybe that evened things up from the earlier refereeing howler.  Within minutes, though, Fulham scored a goal which wasn’t chalked off.  Conway again found himself clear on the left-hand edge of the area and his ball across found Busby on the penalty area.  The big Fulham striker had time to turn and shoot left-footed past Davies and Fulham had pulled off a famous win.  Manager Alec Stock would later claim it to be “our finest hour”.  After needing seven attempts to get past the first two rounds, they must’ve been relieved to do this at the first time of asking.

The lowest ranked side still left in the competition, Mansfield Town, were top of the Fourth Division when they played host to Carlisle United who were enjoying their only ever season as a First Division club.  Carlisle managed to put away their relegation concerns as Bobby Owen scored the only goal of the game to give the Cumbrians their first ever FA Cup Quarter-Final appearance.
Third Division side, Walsall’s cup run finally came to an end as they went down 1-2 to Birmingham at St. Andrews.  Goals from Bob Hatton and Kenny Burns gave the home side the win, despite a goal from Brian Taylor for the visitors.  Peterborough, also of the Third Division, took First Division Middlesbro to a replay but were beaten in the end.  West Ham beat QPR at Upton Park with goals from Pat Holland and Pop Robson giving them a 2-1 win.  Ipswich, just one point off the lead in the league, strengthened their claim as favourites to lift the trophy as they saw off Aston Villa at Portman Road.  Bryan Hamilton came off the bench to score twice in a 3-2 win.
The two all-First Division clashes saw Arsenal needing three attempts to beat Leicester when John Radford scored in extra time in the third game.  A David Nish own goal gave Leeds United a 1-0 win at Derby County.

Fulham were drawn against Carlisle United for the Quarter-Finals.  Carlisle were enjoying their most successful period in their history having won promotion to the First Division last season for the one and only time.  In the same season they were now into the FA Cup Quarter-Finals for their first time ever too.  By the time of the game Carlisle were in awful league form having lost their last five and eight of their last nine.  Fulham’s league form had finally changed for the better with them registering their first wins since mid-December as they beat Sunderland and Sheffield Wednesday in successive weeks.
8th March 1975, Brunton Park, 21,570
FULHAM   (0)   1   (Barrett)
CARLISLE: Ross; Carr, Parker, Green, Gorman; Train, O’Neill, Martin, Balderstone; Owen, Laidlaw
FULHAM: Mellor; Fraser, Lacy, Moore, Strong; Slough, Mullery, Jim Conway (Lloyd); Dowie, Busby, Barrett

Peter Mellor had another inspired day in goal for Fulham and was largely responsible for a memorable performance from the team.  Sixty-eight minutes in with the game still goalless, substitute Barry Lloyd made a fine run down the right-wing taking on future England Assistant Manager, John Gorman, and his cross into the area looked likely to be gathered by Carlisle keeper, Alan Ross.  But as Peter Carr ran in trying to shepherd Viv Busby away from the ball, Ross decided to go for the ball with his feet and proceeded to knock it into the path of Les Barrett who put the ball into the empty net.  Fulham had only beaten Carlisle once in their eight previous meetings but this one put them into the Semi-Finals for the sixth time in their history.

The four Quarter-Final ties only brought four goals but along with Fulham, West Ham booked their place in the Semis when two Alan Taylor goals gave them a win over Arsenal at Highbury.  Bob Hatton scored the only goal of the game to help Birmingham beat Middlesbrough.  Ipswich and Leeds United played out a 0-0 draw at Portman Road.  The two were on the same number of points in the top seven in the First Division and there was no separating them in the cup either.  Three days later they drew again, 1-1.  The second replay wasn’t possible until the end of March and was another draw, 0-0 at Filbert Street before the tie was finally settled back at Leicester two days later.  Trevor Whymark, Bryan Hamilton and Clive Woods scored the goals to beat Leeds 3-2.

Three First Division clubs and a Second Division club in the semis.  Ipswich, the tournament favourites since they knocked out the holders Liverpool in the Fourth Round, were up against the next best ranked side, West Ham at Villa Park.  Birmingham, down in sixteenth in the First Division would take on Fulham at Hillsborough.

5th April 1975, Hillsborough, 55,000
FULHAM   (0)   1   (Mitchell)
BIRMINGHAM   (0)   1   (Gallagher)
FULHAM: Mellor; Fraser, Lacy, Moore, Strong; Slough, Mullery, Jim Conway (Dowie); Mitchell, Busby, Barrett
BIRMINGHAM: Latchford; Page, Gallagher, Roberts, Pendrey; Campbell, Kendall, Taylor; Francis, Burns, Hatton
The Birmingham side Fulham were up against included Howard Kendall, future Everton manager, Gordon Taylor, future Chairman of the PFA, Kenny Burns, future European Cup winner with Nottingham Forest and Trevor Francis, who was going to become the first million pound footballer in England.  These accolades may all have been impressive but of course Fulham had a World Cup winning captain in their starting line-up. 
Going into the game Fulham’s form was so much better than it had been when they began this amazing cup run.  They had lost just once in their previous eleven league games and were scoring regularly.  They were up to eighth in the table, although promotion was probably out of reach.  Birmingham had just lost to Liverpool and Ipswich which ended a run of five games unbeaten. They were sixteenth in the table but only four points above the relegation zone.
A huge crowd created a wonderful atmosphere which made for a breathless match with Fulham certainly not being overawed in any way.  The first half was goalless with Busby looking the most dangerous for the underdogs.  Five minutes into the second half and Fulham pressed the Birmingham goal.  Howard Kendall’s misplaced pass saw Les Barrett run at Joe Gallagher and forced a corner, which he took.  The corner was half cleared but Bobby Moore got the move going again down the right as he clipped the ball inside to Alan Mullery, who in turn flicked the ball with the outside of his right foot to Alan Slough on the edge of the ‘d’. With his back to goal, he knocked it first time to his left to John Mitchell. Mitchell flicked the ball up with his left foot and then volleyed it into the top corner from twenty yards out.  It was a stunning strike.  Mitchell had only made four starts all season before he got the nod against Norwich in the week before this game, and he crowned it with two goals.  It earned him a place in the Semi-Finals and will go down in history with one of the best goals in an FA Cup Semi-Final.
Fulham, having had the better of the chances, were rampant, especially Les Barrett down the left.  Within minutes of the goal Barrett charged down the left again and combined with Busby to square the ball for Slough to hit a ferocious strike which Roberts managed to deflect over his own bar.  It could easily have been 2-0 and game over.  Birmingham gradually fought back into it and Campbell should’ve finished after he pounced on a loose ball in the six yard box but dragged his shot wide.  As Birmingham pushed men forward, Page floated the ball into the box where Fulham failed to clear and Joe Gallagher turned and shot past Mellor to equalise.  Then in the dying minutes Busby found some space for a shot in the area but it deflected wide for another corner.  Lacy also had a chance when he got up above the defence but his header was straight into Latchford’s hands when if he’d put it either side the keeper wouldn’t have reached it.  The game ended 1-1 and Fulham were heading for their sixth replay of the competition.

9th April 1975, Maine Road, 35,025
FULHAM   (0)   1   (Mitchell)
BIRMINGHAM   (0)   0
FULHAM: Mellor; Fraser, Lacy, Moore, Strong; Slough, Mullery, Barrett;  Dowie, Mitchell, Busby
BIRMINGHAM: Latchford; Page, Gallagher, Pendrey, Bryant; Hendrie, Kendall, Taylor; Francis, Burns, Hatton

The following Wednesday the two sides moved to Maine Road, Manchester.  Both sides made one change.  John Dowie started for Fulham replacing Jim Conway and for Birmingham Steve Bryant came into defence in place of John Roberts.  This was a tense affair, without any of the drama of the first meeting.  The game was goalless after ninety minutes and so extra time loomed.  As time moved towards the end of the extra thirty minutes, suddenly there was a breakthrough.  Alan Slough crossed the ball from the right into the area where Dowie got up first to head the ball down.  John Mitchell was running in but his shot seemed to hit the keeper in the face, came back to Mitchell where it bounced off him and into the net.  It was a thrilling finish to the game and seemed to sum up their cup run.  They’d dominated the first match and were a little unlucky not to be successful then, but in the end they got their rewards – their first ever FA Cup Final appearance.

West Ham were up against the cup favourites, Ipswich, who were fifth in the First Division but just one point behind the leaders, Liverpool.  The two met at Villa Park and played out a goalless draw.  The replay, on the same night as the other one, was at Stamford Bridge.  Our old friend, Clive Thomas refereed this one and not surprisingly there were goals scored which he disallowed.  Unfortunately, for Ipswich both of them were theirs.  Alan Taylor put West Ham in front in the first half, heading in at the far post from a left wing cross by Brooking.  Ipswich then drew level when Billy Jennings sliced his kick at the near post from a corner and the ball flew past Mervyn Day.  With just ten minutes to go Alan Taylor was on hand again to put West Ham in front.  A free-kick from the left wing by Lampard was headed to Taylor by an Ipswich defender and he fired past Sivell.  West Ham wouldn’t be denied this time and they were through to their first FA Cup Final since Bobby Moore led them out in 1964.

5th April 1975, Villa Park, 58,000
IPSWICH TOWN   (0)   0
WEST HAM: Day; McDowell, Bonds, T. Taylor, Lampard; Jennings, Lock, Brooking, Gould (Holland); Paddon, A.Taylor
IPSWICH: Sivell; Burley, Hunter (Osborne), Beattie, Mills; Viljoen, Hamilton, Talbot; Lambert, Whymark, Woods

9TH April 1975, Stamford Bridge, 45,344
WEST HAM UNITED   (1)   2   (A. Taylor 2)
IPSWICH TOWN   (1)   1   (Jennings o.g.)
WEST HAM: Day; McDowell, Bonds, T. Taylor, Lampard; Jennings (Holland), Lock, Brooking, Gould; Paddon, A. Taylor
IPSWICH: Sivell; Burley, Beattie, Wark, Mills; Viljoen, Hamilton, Talbot; Lambert, Whymark, Woods


There were so many stories in the run-up to the Final it seemed as if things had been set up.  The last time West Ham were at Wembley was back in 1964, when they were lead out by Bobby Moore.  Eleven years later Moore would again be leading a team out but this time he would be on the opposite side as captain of Fulham.  Moore left West Ham in March 1974, in September of that year John Lyall replaced Ron Greenwood as manager of the club.  Two months later he signed a 21 year old from Fourth Division Rochdale, Alan Taylor.  Taylor made his first full debut in a defeat at Stoke at the end of December and by the time of the Sixth Round cup match at Arsenal that was his only starting place thus far.  He scored twice at Highbury and then twice to beat Ipswich in the Semi-Finals and his was another of the fascinating stories of this FA Cup Final.
On the morning of the Final there was a High Court verdict denying Bobby Moore and one or two other Fulham players from showing advertising logos on their boots.  Can you imagine that today?
Fulham were managed by Alec Stock, who’d spent over 30 years in management in the game yet was making his first appearance at Wembley.  In contrast, West Ham were managed by John Lyall, who was also making his first appearance at the home of football, but he’d only been in management for nine months.  Lyall had played for West Ham but a serious knee injury ended his career a year before their FA Cup win in 1964.
The two clubs had met in the League Cup back in October when Fulham won 2-1 at Craven Cottage thanks to goals from Alan Mullery and Alan Slough after Trevor Brooking gave West Ham a first half lead.
On the playing side, Fulham had Moore and Mullery who’d both captained their country.  Moore was making his 47th , and as it turned out his final, appearance at Wembley.  West Ham had Mervyn Day in goal who at nineteen was the youngest keeper in FA Cup Final history. 
You had to feel sorry for Fulham’s usual left-back, Les Strong.  He had played every game of the season until he picked up an injury at home to Portsmouth towards the end of April.  He’d played 40 league games and all eleven of the FA Cup matches, yet agonisingly missed out on the big one.  John Fraser took his place
Fulham had the better of the early stages in the game and the first shot on target came when Alan Slough hit one from outside the area but it was straight at the young Hammers keeper.  Fulham were certainly the first out of the traps and West Ham looked very shaky to begin with.  Fulham were awarded a free-kick about 30 yards out in the inside-left position which Moore stepped up to take.  If you can remember England’s first goal in the 1966 World Cup Final then you’ll be able to picture this.  Moore floated the ball left-footed into the area and John Mitchell lost his marker, rose to glance the header but it didn’t trouble Day’s far post.  West Ham eventually settled into the game but Fulham certainly weren’t prepared to be overawed.
Moore and Mullery came more into the game for the Second Division side and forced a corner after a quarter of an hour.  Conway took it and drove the ball to the far edge of the six-yard box where Lacy got up unchallenged but again his header went wide of the post.  Within minutes Fulham won the ball back on their left wing after a McDowell throw and Viv Busby tested Day with a fizzing shot after he beat a couple of defenders but his shot was straight at the young Hammers keeper.
For the first twenty-five minutes Fulham seemed to enjoy the lion’s share of possession.  Mullery orchestrating things in midfield with Conway proving a willing runner.  Kevin Lock, who would later move to Craven Cottage, put in some important tackles.  The underdogs were knocking the ball around with ease.  But then West Ham had a chance when Brooking floated a ball, left-footed to the far post where Jennings got up above Fraser but his header was caught by Mellor just under his crossbar.  Brooking was coming more and more into the game for the First Division side but then we were given another glimpse of Moore at Wembley ten years before.
He intercepted a pass just inside his own area and calmly came forward with the ball, when others may have lumped it aimlessly.  Then with the vision which had encapsulated Hurst’s third goal v West Germany in ’66, he played a long ranging pass ahead of Busby allowing the bearded striker to run at Lock.  But unlike nine years earlier, the defender was equal to the striker and the chance had gone.
Then with ten minutes to go to the break, West Ham had a free-kick on the left which Paddon took left-footed and Alan Taylor got his head first to the ball but it looped just over the crossbar.  It was probably The Hammers best chance of a half they were struggling to get hold of.  As the half came to an end West Ham came more into things but just couldn’t break down a determined and dogged Fulham defence.  Fulham had looked the more likely to score and had equipped themselves very well.  The half-time score was 0-0 and Fulham had every reason to be the happier of the two.
Both sides took time to settle in the second half but John McDowell livened things up with a break into the Fulham half and hit a shot along the turf from about 30 yards out, but Mellor got down to save it.  Although there was a slight concern as the ball appeared to slip clear of the keeper’s grasp, momentarily but he grabbed it quick before Taylor could nip in.  Then a few minutes later Mitchell turned Lock in the area and fired a shot which Day parried round the post.  It was the first defensive mistake from Lock who’d looked assured all afternoon.
Then on the hour we finally had a breakthrough.  Holland stole the ball on the left wing for West Ham, turned inside and found Jennings whose shot was only parried by Mellor, low down to his left and as the ball ran clear there was Alan Taylor to hit a low shot from a tight angle and it went through Mellor’s legs for the opening goal

It was tough on Fulham who’d made a game of it, but Mellor should’ve held onto the shot.  Four minutes later the lead was doubled.  Again the move came down the left as Holland clipped the ball inside to Paddon who fired a low shot, left-footed and once again Mellor stopped it but couldn’t hold onto it and yet again there was Alan Taylor, who pounced in to knock the ball into the roof of the net.  It was an amazing story for the 21-year old.  Two goals in the Sixth Round, two goals in the Semi-Final and then two goals in the Final.  

Back in mid-November, Taylor had scored in what was his final appearance for Rochdale, in front of 1,600 spectators at Scunthorpe.  Six months later he’d scored twice in an FA Cup Final in front of 100,000 spectators at Wembley.
You had to have some sympathy for Mellor.  His saves saw Fulham past Birmingham in the Semi-Finals and he’d put in some good performances in the earlier rounds but his mistakes in this game just showed what a fine line there was between hero and villain, especially for a goalkeeper.
Fulham did their best to fight back but West Ham were happy to sit back and take any pressure.  Lacy came close with a header from a left-wing corner which Day just pushed away one-handed.  Now it was West Ham who were looking comfortable and in control, knowing their opponents had to make all the running.  With a quarter of an hour left, Mitchell finally got clear of Tommy Taylor but his left foot shot bounced off Mervyn Day and away to safety.
Within the final ten minutes West Ham had another chance when Lampard joined the attack and fired a right-footed shot from the left-hand edge of the area but Mellor did well to push it past the post.  Mellor’s afternoon may have been remembered for his two errors but he had made some decent saves.
With just five minutes to go, Les Barrett was finally able to run at the West Ham defence.  One of the features of their earlier rounds had been Barrett’s runs down the left wing but in this match he had hardly seen anything of the ball.  He picked up the ball in the centre circle and headed straight towards Day beating Holland for pace.  Bonds slid in but couldn’t make contact and as Barrett got to the ‘D’ John McDowell grabbed him by the shoulder and pulled him back.  It was a cynical challenge, a professional foul and surprisingly Pat Partridge just awarded a free-kick and didn’t give McDowell a card.  Nothing came of the free-kick other than West Ham throwing bodies in the way of everything.
But Fulham weren’t able to make any real impression and threaten Day’s goal and West Ham won the cup.  It was a wonderful occasion for Alan Taylor but Alan Mullery and Bobby Moore had done as much as they could to help their side but in the end they didn’t really create enough clear-cut chances to justify the periods where they were dominant in the game.

It had been a fantastic run and for Fulham it remains the one and only time they have reached a FA Cup Final.  That West Ham side was the last to win an FA Cup with a full team of English players.

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