Giggs To Gerrard To Radford: Ranking The Top Five Most Iconic Moments In FA Cup History

Published on 2 June 2023 at 20:00

The FA Cup Final is finally upon us: a tournament immortalised by fond memories and iconic moments, Manchester City and Manchester United will be looking to write their names into history once more with victory in 2023’s final at Wembley Stadium. 


To celebrate Saturday’s match, HL Division Sport will be recapping the top 5 most iconic moments in FA Cup history. As always, be sure to let us know what you think are some of the most iconic scenes to unfold in the FA Cup in the comments below or over on our official social media channels.

5) Giggs’ Moment Of Greatness 

On and off the pitch, Ryan Giggs remains a controversial figure. But to fans of Man Utd, the Welsh midfielder is akin to a God every time he stepped out on the pitch.


Arguably his finest moment in a Man Utd shirt, and in their iconic treble winning season, Giggs produced a moment of true magic that cemented himself forever in Mancunian folklore.


Taking the ball from his own half, and weaving between a fearsome Arsenal defence, before a powerful strike beat David Seaman at the near post and booked the Red Devils’ place in the final against Newcastle United. 


A decisive goal against their bitter rivals that ultimately helped his side to achieve THE treble, Giggs’ goal has all the hallmarks of being one of the most iconic goals in FA Cup competition history.

4) Pardew Danced Before Palace Burned


To say Alan Pardew is a polarising figure would be an understatement, aside from reaching the knockout stages of the Europa League with Newcastle United, his pinnacle as a manager came in guiding Crystal Palace to the FA Cup Final against Man Utd in 2016.


The underdogs took an unlikely lead in the 78th minute through Jason Puncheon, and it was looking like the Eagles would be hoisting the trophy high at Wembley. That’s when Pardew made the mistake of dad-dancing on the touchline, to the humour/horror of the 90,000+ fans in attendance and millions watching at home. 


‘Never celebrate too early’ is a statement as old as time, and it certainly applied on the 21st May, 2016. An equaliser from Juan Mata and an extra time winner from Jesse Lingard turned the tide completely away from Pardew and Palace, and immortalised Pardew’s dance into footballing folklore.

3) Another Stellar Strike From Steven Gerrard


Liverpool are a club all too familiar with heroic goals and must-win situations, and whilst Istanbul 2005 and the 2019 UEFA Champions League Semi-Final are the go-to examples, the 2006 FA Cup Final also holds a place near and dear to their hearts.


Trailing West Ham 3-2 heading into the dying moments of the game, Liverpool were looking fatigued and seemingly ready to concede defeat. Well, all but one player seemed so…


In a moment of brilliance from out of seemingly nowhere, Steven Gerrard rifled the ball past Shaka Hislop in the West Ham net to a truly rapturous response from much of the 71,140 in attendance at Millennium Stadium.


Going on to win the game in a penalty shootout, this game reaffirmed Liverpool’s status as a major footballing power in the mid 2000s. And whilst it may seem like just a footnote in the midfielder’s illustrious career, Gerrard’s goal has stood the test of time and is still so fondly remembered by Liverpool fans and neutrals alike for its sheer ferocity and brilliance. 

2) Watson’s Winner And A Tale of Two Clubs


Heading into the 2013 FA Cup final, all signs were pointing to a Man City victory. The Cityzens had lifted the trophy two years prior, and were slowly amassing silverware on their way to being one of the premier sides in all of Europe.


Wigan Athletic meanwhile were staring directly at the drop in the Premier League, and this was likely their last chance to salvage something from what was otherwise a torrid season for the Latics. 


Wigan held firm against their much more formidable opponents, and were resilient for much of the game. Helped by the controversial dismissal of City defender Pablo Zabaleta, Wigan found themselves with a promising corner in the final minute of regular time. Shaun Maloney’s ball found substitute Ben Watson, who headed the ball past Joe Hart and had surely handed the trophy to Wigan in a monumental turn of events!


The domino effects of this game can still be felt today: it caused the sacking of Roberto Mancini, whilst propelling the career of Roberto Martinez (much to the disdain of any Belgian readers). Wigan never truly recovered from their relegation from the top flight and this remains a club highlight, yet City now found themselves forced to strengthen even further.

1) Ronnie Radford Writes His Name Into The History Books


Often heralded as one of the greatest underdog stories in football history, Hereford United’s 2-1 victory over Newcastle United (a side who really finds itself on the wrong side of a lot of FA Cup stories) is nothing short of amazing.


Heading into the 85th minute, the hosts found themselves 0-1 down to their superior opposition, before Ronnie Radford (a part-time carpenter competing against Toon greats like Malcolm MacDonald and Bob Moncur) fired home from 30 yards out and directly into the top corner of the opposing net. What an equaliser!


The epitome of a giant-killing, and a match made all the more memorable for the late John Motson’s commentary, Radford’s equaliser past McFaul may have broke Geordie hearts, but it truly defines the magic of this wonderful competition, and arguably the greatest moment in FA Cup competition history.

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