Ten unlikely FA Cup heroes ahead of first round weekend


It might be just five months since Chelsea saw off Liverpool at Wembley, but the FA Cup is back.

Throughout its 141-year history, the FA Cup has become known for its big shocks and upsets.

Lowly minnows and non-league upstarts have put paid to the hopes of some of England’s biggest clubs over the years, and a lot of unlikely heroes have been made along the way.

Another crop of players will be desperate to become cult icons and steal the headlines this weekend when the first round of the FA Cup takes place, with the draw creating plenty of interesting fixtures, including AFC Fylde who are 4/1 to beat League Two Accrington Stanley.

Before then, though, we remember a few blasts from the past.

Here are some of the most memorable FA Cup heroes from yesteryear:

Matthew Langston (Histon)

The tiny Cambridgeshire side has only recently joined the ranks of the Conference Premier, but they were given a plum tie in November 2008 against fallen giants Leeds United at home.

On a quagmire pitch, defender Langston scored the winner in a 1-0 victory that will live long in the memory of the club’s fans.

Jim Montgomery (Sunderland)

A heroic performance in goal from Montgomery helped then Second Division Sunderland overcome Don Revie’s formidable Leeds United side in the 1973 FA Cup Final, in what was the Mackems’ last major trophy win.

Dickie Guy (Wimbledon)

In the 1975 FA Cup campaign, the Dons keeper was instrumental in helping the non-league side overcome top-flight Burnley in the third round.

But he became part of FA Cup folklore during their fourth-round tie with Leeds United. Guy helped to take the tie to a replay after saving a penalty from Peter ‘Lash’ Lorimer. Although they would lose the replay 1-0, he still earned well-deserved hero status.

Tim Buzaglo (Woking)

Formerly a cricketer for Gibraltar, striker Tim Buzaglo moved to non-league Woking in 1992 and fired them into the FA Cup third round.

He then bagged a hat-trick against West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns, which helped them to a shock 4-2 victory and etched the name Buzaglo into Woking history.

Chris Kelly (Leatherhead)

In the same season that Wimbledon got all the headlines, the so-called ‘Leatherhead Lip’ bagged the goal that edged the non-leaguers past Brighton and Hove Albion en route to a money-spinning tie against Leicester City.

A memorable day for Leatherhead fans, and Kelly was quickly snapped up by Millwall.

Kevin Davies (Chesterfield)

Long before big Kev picked up an England cap as a Bolton player, he was part of an unfashionable third tier Chesterfield side who reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup back in 1997.

He scored a few goals en route to their narrow defeat against big-spending Middlesbrough, although Davies gave himself a platform and went on to bigger and better things soon afterwards.

Milton Graham and Ian Thompson (Bournemouth)

In 1983, a young Harry Redknapp guided The Cherries to a shock victory against Manchester United, courtesy of two goals from this pair of unlikely stars.

The result didn’t do United boss Ron Atkinson many favours, but it helped to set Redknapp up for a bright future in management.

Ronnie Radford (Hereford United)

Often seen atop lists of FA Cup heroes, Radford (right in the pic) was at the heart of a famous 2-1 victory for Hereford against top-flight Newcastle United back in 1972.

His stunning long-range strike helped them win their third-round replay and send the Magpies packing.

Clive Freeman (Altrincham)

Altrincham enjoyed a memorable victory against their more heralded Cheshire rivals Chester City in the 1992-93 FA Cup, thanks largely to a spectacular strike from Freeman, which came in his only season at the club and earned him a place in its folklore.

Nigel Jemson (Shrewsbury Town)

Formerly a top-flight player, striker Jemson was entering the autumn of his career at Gay Meadow, but a brace of goals for the fourth-tier side against Everton sealed a memorable 2-1 victory in the third round, back in 2003.

Who are your favourite FA Cup heroes?