Sammy McIlroy celebrates with the FA Cup.

Glory Days: 1977 FA Cup winners

On 21 May 1977, Manchester United lifted our fourth FA Cup after defeating treble-chasing Liverpool in a Wembley final that was settled by three goals in five second-half minutes.

ROUTE TO WEMBLEY

The Reds began our FA Cup campaign determined to avenge the previous season's embarrassing final defeat to second-tier Southampton, and we commenced the task with a scrappy 1-0 home victory over lowly Walsall in the third round.

Lou Macari was on target in an identical Old Trafford result against Queens Park Rangers at the following stage, but things were tougher in the fifth round, when we only managed a 2-2 draw at Southampton. Jimmy Greenhoff's brace ultimately produced a 2-1 win in the replay, and provided some revenge for the 1976 defeat, then Aston Villa were beaten 2-1 in a home quarter-final tie.

Our toughest challenge to date in the competition awaited us in the last-four stage, when the Reds faced rivals Leeds United at Hillsborough. The Yorkshiremen had triumphed in two recent semi-finals, but on this occasion goals from Greenhoff and Steve Coppell underpinned a deserved 2-1 triumph. The reward? A final clash against treble-chasing Liverpool.

A sea of United fans at Wembley Stadium.
Thousands of United fans made the journey to Wembley to see the Reds emerge victorious against Liverpool.

KEY MOMENT

While the Reds’ progress to Wembley was merited, there were some nervy late moments in the semi-final as goalkeeper Alex Stepney and some errant Leeds finishing combined to eliminate Jimmy Armfield's men.

STAR MEN

Macari and Greenhoff took the plaudits, naturally, given their contribution towards reaching the final, and they also combined again in dramatic circumstances at Wembley.

Tommy Docherty celebrates with the FA Cup.
After losing to Southampton in the 1976 FA Cup final, Tommy Docherty's side regrouped to beat Liverpool 12 months later.

THE FINAL

For all the graft and guile displayed throughout from both sides, three goals in five minutes early in the second half settled the contest. Stuart Pearson put United in front with a powerful drive, before Jimmy Case equalised spectacularly for Liverpool. It was then, that Greenhoff’s chest proved decisive.

The ball ran loose inside the box to Macari, who swung his right foot with furious velocity and the ball caromed off Jimmy’s torso before looping gently beyond two helpless Liverpool players, and then into the net. Liverpool could only curse the moment of fortune, which ensured that the hitherto unprecedented treble would lie untouched for another 22 years.

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