A world without FA Cup replays? Seriously?
The Football Association and Premier League clubs are mulling over whether the oldest domestic football competition should be made into a midweek event – with no replays.
It would obviously reduce fixture congestion, possibly aid clubs in European competition and even help the respective national teams.
But FA Cup replays have provided so many great moments in years gone by. So imagine if we never had replays.
Ryan Giggs v Arsenal – 1999 semi-final replay
Ball is given away by Vieira, Giggs pounces, surges down the left, past one, past two, past three challenges… GIGGS!
It is one of the greatest goals in FA Cup living memory. Manchester United wing wonder Ryan Giggs led his side to a 2-1 win in extra-time, after the first match had finished 0-0.
But what if the opening contest had been settled on penalties?
Yes, there would be no Gunners heartache of Dennis Bergkamp missing a penalty in the dying seconds of normal time, but there would also be no Giggs goal and his twirling of the United shirt and baring of the hairy chest.
In fact, had he not scored that ‘worldie’ would he be remembered as a… well… a Nani?
Ronnie Radford v Newcastle – 1972 third-round replay
“Radford again, OHHH! WHAT A GOAL! WHAT A GOAL!”
BBC commentator John Motson shrieked those famous words at Edgar Street 44 years ago. Little did he know it would become a clip which is arguably the most played of any other in FA Cup history.
The victims of this giant-slaying were Newcastle; the 2-1 victors were non-league Hereford, and hero of the 35-yarder? Ronnie Radford, a joiner.
In terms of ‘magic’ of the cup this was like magicians Dynamo and David Copperfield joining forces to make Old Trafford disappear.
Had the match been decided after the 2-2 at St James’ Park, it would have deprived the football world of one of the greatest ‘David beats Goliath’ stories and denied Radford one heck of an anecdote.
Cambridge United at Manchester United – 2015 fourth-round replay
It was not about the result. Cambridge lost 3-0.
It was the fact the League Two side, who cost about £0, held United at Abbey Stadium and had the option of a replay at one of football’s great stadiums.
There was the added bonus of extra TV income and money from gate receipts – an estimated £1m – a win, win, win situation.
They even gave United – whose starting XI cost £231m – an early scare. Had striker Tom Elliott scored he would have been this millennium’s Ronnie Radford.
Everton 4-4 Liverpool – 1991 fifth-round replay
Those were days when English football could not get enough of replays – Leeds and Arsenal played each other four times for a place in the fifth round that same season.
This was a tie that had two replays. The first match finished 0-0 at Anfield before Everton hosted the red half at Goodison Park.
Those who attended probably still talk about the match today – the 4-4 rather than the 0-0.
Liverpool took the lead four times only to be pegged back on each occasion – crucially in the 89th minute when Tony Cottee poked in to make it 3-3, and then in the 114th minute when the diminutive striker repeated the trick.
The Toffees won the third match 1-0. In between the two replays, Kenny Dalglish resigned as Reds manager.
It was a short but dramatic period in the history of the two Merseyside teams.
Angelo Ogbonna v Liverpool – 2016 fourth-round replay
Tension, excitement, 39 efforts on goal, an unlikely match-winner – you had it all.
We were seconds from the dreaded penalties. But with 121 minutes on the clock, former Juventus defender Angelo Ogbonna leapt up with rocket fuel in his boots to head in – cue delirium and bubbles.
It was a thrilling encounter, to quote computer game Football Manager, where both teams “threw caution to the wind”.
So given the choice between that outcome or a 0-0 in the first match followed by penalties?
We all know the answer.
‘Won 8-2 after extra time. Bonkers.’
We asked Sportsday readers for their best FA Cup replay moments and here are some of the responses:
Matt Parry: Dan Gosling’s last minute winner for Everton in the replay against Liverpool in 2009. Missed it cause the broadcaster went to adverts.
Andrew Conquest: Leyton Orient v Droylsden in 2010. 2-0 down. Four sendings off. Two players scored a hat trick. Won 8-2 after extra time. Bonkers.
Lee: Norwich City 0-1 Charlton Athletic in 2009. Abject. Protests outside Carrow Road afterwards. Manager Glenn Roeder sacked the next morning.
Stu Tench: Gordon Armstrong’s injury-time winner for Sunderland v Chelsea in the quarter-final replay at Roker in 92. Roy of the Rovers stuff.
AC Brook: Best replay memories? Both for West Ham, against Everton last season 9-8 on penalties and Liverpool this season.
Hesham: It has to be Spurs v Manchester City in 1981 and Ricky Villa scoring the best ever goal in the final.