1987 FA Cup Final

The 1987 FA Cup Final between Coventry City and Tottenham Hotspur on 16 May 1987 at Wembley Stadium, London, England was the 106th Final of the FA Cup, English football's primary cup competition. It was the third final for Tottenham Hotspur in seven years, the team having won the trophy in 1981 and 1982, while Coventry were making their first appearance. Both clubs were in the Football League First Division that season, giving them entry into the competition in the third round. They each won five games en route to the final, with Coventry beating Leeds United 3–2 and Tottenham beating Watford 4–1 in their respective semi-finals. Both clubs recorded songs to commemorate reaching the final. After a December league match between the two sides had finished 4–3 to Coventry, both Tottenham manager David Pleat and Coventry joint-manager John Sillett anticipated an exciting final.

1987 FA Cup Final
Wembley Stadium, site of the final
Event1986–87 FA Cup
After extra time
Date16 May 1987
VenueWembley Stadium, London
RefereeNeil Midgley (Manchester)
Attendance96,000
WeatherHot [1][2]
1986
1988

Neil Midgley refereed the match in front of a crowd of 96,000. Within two minutes of the kick-off, Tottenham took the lead. Chris Waddle played in a cross from the right wing and Clive Allen beat defender Trevor Peake to the ball to head it past Steve Ogrizovic in the Coventry goal. The scores were level seven minutes later: a deep cross from Greg Downs was headed on by Keith Houchen to Dave Bennett who rounded Ray Clemence and struck the ball past Steve Hodge into the corner of the Tottenham goal. Coventry's Cyrille Regis had a goal disallowed and then, five minutes before half-time, Tottenham restored their one-goal lead. A free kick from Hoddle was touched on by Gary Mabbutt and bounced into the far corner of the Coventry goal. Midway through the second half, Coventry were level once again, with Houchen converting a Bennett cross with a diving header, which would later be selected as the BBC Goal of the Season. With the game even at full time, extra time was needed to decide the match. The only goal of extra time was scored in its first period when a cross from Lloyd McGrath looped off Mabbutt's left knee and over Clemence for an own goal, making the final score 3–2 to Coventry.

The match is regarded by many pundits as one of the greatest finals in the history of the competition, with BBC TV commentator John Motson calling it "the finest Cup Final I've had the pleasure of commentating on". Allen's goal was his 49th goal of the season for Tottenham which, as of 2021, remains a club record. Having won the FA Cup, Coventry would normally have qualified to participate in the 1987–88 European Cup Winners' Cup, but the ban on English clubs in European football following the Heysel Stadium disaster meant they were unable to take part, along with Tottenham who would have qualified for the 1987–88 UEFA Cup having finished third in the league.


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