United wrecked Liverpool's hopes of a League, FA Cup and European treble with their win at Wembley in 1977. They repeated this victory when they met Merseyside's other famous team - the blues of Everton. It may seem strange to anyone under 20 years of age but Everton were the dominant team in England during the mid Eighties.
In 1985 the trophy Room at Goodison Park was already home to the Canon League Trophy and the European Cup-winners Cup and Everton looked set to achieve something that no other club had done before - win the League and Cup Double and a European prize in the same season. United meanwhile were unfancied by many having lost to Everton 5-0 in the league earlier that season at Goodison.
After 78 minutes of less than spectacular football, the referee (a retired police inspector Peter Willis) sent off Kevin Moran after a tackle on Peter Reid making Moran the first player to be shown the red card in an FA Cup Final. By modern standards it was a clear sending off as Moran was the last man but in the mid 80's it would have been usual to award a yellow card. It could also be said Reid's momentum had made it appear worse than it was. The Irishman could not believe he was going to be sent off and was so angry he had to be restrained from confronting Willis by Frank Stapleton.
Losing Moran had the effect of spurring United on and they were still fighting hard to score in extra time, with Jesper Olsen and Gordon Strachan in particular menacing Everton's defence. Paul McGrath held things together at the back with Frank Stapleton who was converted to an emergency central defender. It was a demonstration of pure resilience and spirit by United, who were not going to let the injustice deny them the cup.
As so often happens, when a team goes down to 10 men they play much better and their opponents find them more difficult to break down. United became quicker to the ball and more determined in their tackling, the missing player meant each player had to concentrate more and put greater effort into his game. United were not content to sit back and still created chances to trouble the Merseysiders. Everton nearly scored themselves as Bryan Robson's back header from a corner was almost an own-goal were it not for Bailey's fine save.
Norman Whiteside scuffed a great chance from only 8 yards out in the 108th minute but a short time later he would achieve the vital breakthrough. After 110 minutes of play, a fine pass from Mark Hughes saw Whiteside break with the ball on his own down the left wing. Everton had got defenders back and it looked like he had nowhere left to go as he entered the box.
Nonetheless the Ulsterman produced a bit of magic and hit a magnificent curling shot from 20 yards which beat Everton keeper Southall to his right post. Whiteside recalls "Mark Hughes found me with a great pass and I made my way to the penalty area and could see Neville Southall hanging by this near post. I used the defender as a screen so Neville didn't have enough time to reach the ball".
From then on, 10 man United had to withstand a nerve-shattering seige as Everton desperately tried for a goal - Derek Mountfield had a great chance but his header went safely into Gary Bailey's arms. Thankfully the equaliser never came and the red half of Wembley erupted in jubilation on the final whistle.
Kevin Moran was not allowed to collect his medal in the Royal Box along with his team-mates but was presented with a medal a few days later. Ron Atkinson was quoted as saying it was "arguably the best Cup win any side will have at Wembley". It was undoubtedly the high point in his five years as manager at Old Trafford and secured Norman Whiteside's place in the United hall of Legends for all time.
MANCHESTER UNITED: Bailey, Gidman, Albiston (Duxbury), McGrath, Whiteside,Moran, Robson, Olsen, Strachen, Hughes, Stapleton
EVERTON: Southall,Stevens,Ratcliffe, Van Den Hauwe, Mountfield, Sheedy, Bracewell, Reid,Steven, Sharp,Gray.
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