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1931 FA Cup Final
Event1930–31 FA Cup
Date25 April 1931
VenueWembley Stadium, London
RefereeArthur H. Kingscott (Derbyshire)
Attendance92,406
1930
1932

The 1931 FA Cup Final was a football match between West Bromwich Albion and Birmingham, played on 25 April 1931 at the original Wembley Stadium in London. The showpiece event was the final match of the 1930–31 staging of English football's primary cup competition, the Football Association Challenge Cup (better known as the FA Cup). The match was the 56th FA Cup Final, the ninth to be played at Wembley.

West Bromwich Albion were appearing in their seventh final, having won the cup on two previous occasions, whereas Birmingham were playing in the final for the first time. Albion won the match 2–1, with both of their goals scored by W. G. Richardson. Joe Bradford had equalised Richardson's opening goal, before Richardson put the Baggies ahead again sixty seconds later.

Match

Summary

Both teams employed the formation typical of the era: two full-backs, three half-backs, comprising one centre-half and two wing-halves, and five forwards, comprising two outside forwards, two inside forwards and a centre-forward.

In the sixth minute, Bob Gregg headed Jimmy Cringan's free kick past the stranded West Bromwich Albion goalkeeper, but the linesman flagged Gregg offside and the goal was disallowed; newspaper reports suggest the decision was incorrect. Albion took the lead after 24 minutes when Joe Carter received the ball from Tommy Glidden and took it almost to the by-line before crossing it. As W. G. Richardson attempted a shot he fell, but Birmingham's Ned Barkas inadvertently touched the ball back to him and away from his goalkeeper, and Richardson was able to recover sufficiently to steer it home. Joe Bradford and Johnny Crosbie both missed good chances for Birmingham before half-time.

In the second half, after Albion had failed to take several chances, Birmingham equalised. Bradford controlled a long ball, pivoted and shot past Pearson from 25 yards. But the lead did not last. Straight from the restart, Carter, W. G. Richardson and Teddy Sandford took the ball directly down the field. George Liddell sliced his attempted clearance, which left the ball at Richardson's feet, and the forward had an easy task to beat Hibbs from close range.

Details

25 April 1931
15:00 BST
West Bromwich Albion 2–1 Birmingham Wembley Stadium, London
Attendance: 92,406
Referee: Arthur H. Kingscott (Derbyshire)
W. G. Richardson Soccerball 25'58' (Report) Bradford Soccerball 57'
West Bromwich Albion: Birmingham:
Goalkeeper Harold Pearson
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West Bromwich Albion

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Birmingham
 
GoalkeeperHarry Hibbs
Full-back George Shaw Full-back George Liddell
Full-back Bert Trentham Full-back Ned Barkas (c)
Half-back Tommy Magee Half-back Jimmy Cringan
Half-back Bill Richardson Half-back George Morrall
Half-back Jimmy Edwards Half-back Alec Leslie
Forward Tommy Glidden (c) Forward George Briggs
Forward Joe Carter Match rules: Forward Johnny Crosbie
Forward W. G. Richardson 90 minutes normal time. Forward Joe Bradford
Forward Teddy Sandford 30 minutes extra-time if scores are level. Forward Bob Gregg
Forward Stan Wood Replay if scores still level. Forward Ernie Curtis
No substitutes.
Secretary-managerFred Everiss ManagerLeslie Knighton

Post-match

The match was reported in that evening's Sports Argus, which was produced in a special run on blue paper in place of the normal pink. Copies of the newspaper were flown down to the London hotels of both teams after the match.

Birmingham's players, together with their wives, club officials, civic representatives and survivors of the 1886 semi-final, attended a dinner at the Russell Hotel after the match. Speaking afterwards, Archie Taylor admitted that the better side had won, that Albion set out to play the game properly, and that "our boys never settled down; they found the ball red-hot and could not hold it". The following day players and wives took a coach trip to the seaside at Brighton, and on Monday afternoon returned to Birmingham by train, to be met by the Lord Mayor and by cheering crowds lining the roads from the station up to the Council House. Albion's players visited Madame Tussauds, where waxworks of the two captains were on display, and some took their wives shopping, before taking the train home.

Trains arrived from London every quarter-hour until 5 a.m., to be met by buses which ran all night to various parts of the city, to make the journey home as easy as possible for the estimated 28,000 travelling supporters. The Birmingham Mail was impressed by their behaviour: "in a great local clash, in which one set of supporters had necessarily to face disappointment, there appeared to be no frayed tempers and little evidence of over-indulgence." The Mail's editorial highlighted the Birmingham players' reaction to the disallowed goal as illustrative of the sportsmanship of both sets of players: "there was no swarming round the official in the clamorous and excited manner so often seen in League games, but just a quiet and philosophic acceptance of the ruling and the position."

In the week following their victory in the final, West Bromwich Albion still had two remaining league fixtures to complete. They beat Stoke City 1–0 away in mid-week before a 3–2 win at home to Charlton Athletic on the following Saturday confirmed the club's promotion to the First Division. The "double" of winning the FA Cup and promotion in the same season has not been achieved before or since.

This would be the last time the FA Cup was won by a team from outside the top flight of English football until 42 years later when Sunderland beat Leeds in the 1973 FA Cup Final.

Teddy Stanford, who played on the winning side, is believed to have been the last surviving player from the game when he died in May 1995 at the age of 84, six months after the death of 86-year-old goalkeeper Harold Pearson, who himself was believed to have been the oldest surviving former England international at the time of his death, having won his solitary England cap in 1932.

See also

External links

Template:FA Cup Finals Template:1930–31 in English football

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