Our writers favourite Man Utd FA Cup semi final memories


Semi-final: UNITED 2 LIVERPOOL 1 (1985)
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Following United, for me, was very different back in the mid-eighties as a 12-year-old. There was no wall-to-wall TV coverage in those days and my father and I shunned the radio commentary to watch the highlights, without knowing the score, on BBC1’s Sportsnight or ITV’s Midweek Sports Special late that evening. It was a school night but there was special dispensation as I’d been gutted the previous weekend when Liverpool had equalised at the end of both normal and extra-time to cruelly deny us a place at Wembley. At Maine Road, four days later, we trailed to an own goal by the peerless Paul McGrath and feared the worst at the break. The Merseysiders were the dominant force and my recollection is of them constantly passing the ball back to Bruce Grobbelaar to waste time. And this is from the highlights!

It must be a false memory as we equalised within a couple of minutes of the second half, when Captain Marvel Bryan Robson unleashed a thunderbolt that remains one of my favourite goals to this day. On the hour mark, Mark Hughes fired us in front and I always felt the commentary was too low key for a precious moment. ‘The flag stays down… and United are ahead for the third time in the tie’. Who knows how long they showed of the remaining half an hour but it felt like a lifetime as looked to avoid more late heartbreak. Liverpool, like a villain in a movie who refused to lie down, were finally done on this occasion and it didn’t get much better than reaching an FA Cup final while knocking the Anfield outfit out. Another Merseyside club would provide the opposition at Wembley, and Everton were having an even better season than their neighbours!


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