No longer do we rise early on a May Saturday and hunker down in front of the TV to watch the FA Cup final as our excitement builds and builds until the cameras finally follow the team coaches as they make their way through the crowd on Wembley Way and the players stride out onto the impossible-looking green turf.
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For those who came of age in the 1970s and 1980s rooting for their favorite teams, the Cup final was the pinnacle of the English football season and the source of some of the sport’s most iconic moments. Ricky Villa’s goal against Manchester City, for example, was one of the best moments that only became clear in replay.
That was a rematch of the FA Cup final from 1981, but the match we remember most vividly was Wimbledon’s incredible 4–4 draw with Leeds United in the 1975 FA Cup fourth round at Elland Road. Part of the intrigue was that non-leaguers would get a second opportunity at a giant-killing, and the money that came with the replay when Wimbledon goalkeeper Dickie Guy saved a penalty from Peter Lorimer.