1988 FA Cup Final

1988 FA Cup Final
Event 1987–88 FA Cup
Date 14 May 1988 (1988-05-14)
Venue Wembley Stadium, London
Referee Brian Hill (Northamptonshire)
Attendance 98,203
Weather Sunny

The 1988 FA Cup Final took place on 14 May 1988 at Wembley Stadium. It was contested between Wimbledon, unfashionable and unfancied, and Liverpool, the dominant English club side of the 1980s and newly crowned league champions.[1][2]

The result was one of the biggest shocks in the history of the competition as the London side won 1–0 to win the cup for the only time in their history; they had just completed their second season in the Football League First Division and had only been in the Football League for 11 years.[3][4] The final also featured the first penalty save in an FA Cup final (by Dave Beasant from John Aldridge) and the first goalkeeper (Beasant) to captain an FA Cup-winning side.[5] It was the last FA Cup final to be broadcast by both ITV and the BBC, which had happened since 1958. Wimbledon's victory ended Liverpool's bid to become the first team to win the Double twice.[6][7] This feat was eventually achieved by rivals Manchester United in 1995–96, when they earned their second domestic double and then Arsenal in 1997-98.

Road to Wembley

Main article: 1987–88 FA Cup



Home teams listed first.

Round 3: Stoke City 0–0 Liverpool

Replay: Liverpool 1–0 Stoke City

Round 4: Aston Villa 0–2 Liverpool

Round 5: Everton 0–1 Liverpool

Round 6: Manchester City 0–4 Liverpool

Semi-final: Liverpool 2–1 Nottingham Forest (at Hillsborough Stadium, Sheffield)


Home teams listed first.

Round 3: Wimbledon 4–1 West Bromwich Albion

Round 4: Mansfield Town 1–2 Wimbledon

Round 5: Newcastle United 1–3 Wimbledon

Round 6: Wimbledon 2–1 Watford

Semi-final: Wimbledon 2–1 Luton Town (at White Hart Lane, London)

The build up

Liverpool were the winners of Division One and were the giants of England in the 1980s. Wimbledon finished seventh in the table but were more expected to finish much lower than that position. Liverpool were highly expected and favoured to win the trophy as they had just secured their 17th league title, whereas Wimbledon had been playing in the Southern Football League just eleven years earlier and were given very little hope of lifting the trophy.

Match summary

Wimbledon took the lead shortly before half-time, when Lawrie Sanchez's looping header, from a Dennis Wise free kick on the left, went across goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar and into the net.[9] Liverpool created a host of chances, including a chipped goal over the goalkeeper by Peter Beardsley which was disallowed as the referee had already awarded a free kick to Liverpool, but were unable to find a way past Wimbledon goalkeeper Dave Beasant. The Merseysiders were awarded a penalty on the hour mark following a foul by Clive Goodyear on John Aldridge, though replays showed that Goodyear won the ball cleanly, but Aldridge's penalty was saved by Beasant's diving save to his left, thus becoming the first keeper to save a penalty in a Wembley FA Cup final.[10] The Londoners survived more pressure from Liverpool to secure their first major trophy and a notable upset in FA Cup Final history. Dave Beasant also became the first goalkeeper to receive the FA Cup as captain.[11][12][13] After the final whistle John Motson who was commentating for the BBC delivered his famous line: "The Crazy Gang have beaten the Culture Club."[14]


Wimbledon were unable to compete in the 1988–89 European Cup Winners' Cup, due to the ongoing ban on English teams from European competitions, following the actions of a group of Liverpool supporters in the 1985 European Cup Final Heysel disaster. At the time of the final, it was hoped that the ban would be rescinded, but after a number of incidents involving English fans during the 1988 European Championships, the FA withdrew their application for readmission.

Match details

14 May 1988
15:00 BST
Liverpool 0–1 Wimbledon
Report Sanchez  37'
Wembley Stadium, London
Attendance: 98,203
Referee: Brian Hill
GK 1 Zimbabwe Bruce Grobbelaar
RB 4 Scotland Steve Nicol
CB 2 Scotland Gary Gillespie
CB 6 Scotland Alan Hansen (c)
LB 3 England Gary Ablett
RM 9 Republic of Ireland Ray Houghton
CM 5 England Nigel Spackman  74'
CM 11England Steve McMahon
LM 10England John Barnes
CF 7 England Peter Beardsley
CF 8 Republic of Ireland John Aldridge  64'
MF 12England Craig Johnston  64'
MF 14Denmark Jan Mølby  74'
Scotland Kenny Dalglish
GK 1 England Dave Beasant (c)
RB 2 England Clive Goodyear
CB 5 Wales Eric Young
CB 6 England Andy Thorn
LB 3 Republic of Ireland Terry Phelan
CM 10Northern Ireland Lawrie Sanchez
CM 4 Wales Vinnie Jones
RW 8 England Alan Cork  56'
LW 11England Dennis Wise
CF 7 England Terry Gibson  63'
CF 9 England John Fashanu
DF 12England John Scales  63'
MF 14England Laurie Cunningham  56'
England Bobby Gould

Match rules

  • 90 minutes
  • 30 minutes of extra-time if necessary
  • Replay if scores still level
  • Two named substitutes
  • Maximum of two substitutions


  1. "Beasant and the 'Crazy Gang' stun Liverpool". ESPN.co.uk. Archived from the original on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 24 June 2011.
  2. "English Division One 1987–1988 Final Table". statto.com. Retrieved 24 June 2011.
  3. Beasant, Dave (15 May 2010). "14 May 1988: The first FA Cup final penalty save". Guardian. London. Retrieved 24 June 2011.
  4. "English FA Cup Finalists 1980 – 1989". historical kits.co.uk. Retrieved 24 June 2011.
  5. "Liverpool 0–1 Wimbledon". LFCHistory.net. Archived from the original on 25 May 2011. Retrieved 24 June 2011.
  6. Hosking, Patrick; Wighton, David (14 March 2004). "Caught in Time: Wimbledon's Crazy Gang chase FA Cup glory in 1988". The Times. London. Retrieved 24 June 2011.
  7. "Wimbledon v Liverpool: How the Crazy Gang made FA Cup history". BBC Sport. 4 January 2015. Retrieved 6 January 2015.
  8. "FA Cup 1987–1988 : Results". statto.com. Retrieved 24 June 2011.
  9. "Bobby Gould recalls Wimbledon's FA Cup win". Reuters. 13 May 2008. Retrieved 24 June 2011.
  10. "Dave and his wombles may have done us a favor". Glasgow Herald. 16 May 1988. p. 12. Retrieved 10 October 2012.
  11. "Classic Cup Finals: 1988". TheFA.com (The Football Association). Retrieved 24 June 2011.
  12. "Wimbledon's Crazy Gang prepared for 1988 FA Cup final against Liverpool with a night down the pub". Daily Telegraph. 4 January 2015. Retrieved 6 January 2015.
  13. "Wimbledon and Liverpool stars look back on the biggest upset in modern FA Cup final history... 'We celebrated until silly o'clock'". Daily Mail. 3 January 2015. Retrieved 6 January 2015.
  14. "When the Crazy Gang beat the Culture Club: Wimbledon v Liverpool FA Cup flashback". Liverpool Echo. 4 January 2015. Retrieved 6 January 2015.

External links

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