The FA Cup finals of the distant past have been put on YouTube and my son Neil watched the 1955 final when Newcastle hammered Manchester City and Don Revie (The Don Revie Plan) 3-1.
That was when the great Jackie Milburn scored with a header (of all things) in the very first minute.
In those days the goalkeeper could bounce the ball as he came out and players could pass the ball directly back to the goalkeeper.
There were also no substitutes (introduced in 1967) so if you lost a player through injury – hard luck.
Jimmy Scoular hold the FA Cup – 1955
In that FA Cup final City right full-back Jimmy Meadows was stretchered off with a bad leg injury after 22 minutes, something we never seem to mention.
There were also no TV replays so you couldn’t see the same play over and over again after the event to show the player was in fact offside or whatever.
That technology – like PCs, cell phones, streaming video and even paging in mainframe computer systems simply didn’t exist
Neil also realized that when players were tackled and went to ground they did something extremely strange, which is hardly ever seen in today’s theatrical game.
They got up and carried on like nothing had happened.
Maybe at the City Ground last week the game would have been better served if players had done that, but in today’s football world we have players who could win Oscars if they were in the acting profession.
Rafa Benitez has talked about the FA taking retroactive action when they see theatrics like we saw from Forest captain Henri Lansbury.
He couldn’t seem to keep on his feet when he was in the penalty area and a Newcastle player was anywhere near him.
In the olden days what Henri was doing we would have referred to as plain cheating, but such is the politically correct world we now live in that we would never dream of saying that – so we wont.
This is what Rafa has said in the local press today:
“Sometimes the FA take action also on the players that are over-reacting.”
“It was very clear the No 10 Lansbury was waiting for Dummett.” “So maybe again the FA can analyse this and see the behaviour of the No 10.”
“All the teams have one or two players who lose their temper a little bit earlier than the other.” “Also I think he’s learning, he has more experience, which is the key.”
One of the things we want to see against Birmingham City today is that our players have matured and put on a professional display with all-out effort and some (very) good football.
If we can do that we should be able to win the game today.
And then you can watch the FA Cup final of 1955 – a time when we actually won trophies.
If all that happens it could be a very good day.