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The Giant Killers

Every F A cup slaying since 1888



1905 - 1907

In the first change to the format in seventeen years the number of first round qualifiers was doubled to make an extra round, increasing the competition proper from five rounds to six.

Bradford City 5-0 Wolverhampton


Second round: 3rd February 1906

Attendance: 17,000

Scorers: Willie Clarke, Andrew McGeachan, George Robinson, Wally Smith, Jimmy Conlin {half time 3-0}

Ranked at the time: 27

The shock wasn't necessarily the result but more the nature of the victory. Poor Wolves were rapidly heading for relegation when they received this warning that life in the second division next season might not be any easier. Both sides however consisted of players who would go on and win the cup for their respective teams within the next five years with City legend George Robinson netting one of the goals. Also among the scorers were Andrew McGeachan, a Scottish title winner with Hibernian two years earlier and Jimmy Conlin, an often controversial figure who this year became both City's first England international and the first Bantam to be sent off. Jimmy's life outside football was no less noteworthy as his playing career came to an abrupt end through alcoholism while in Scotland before he paid the ultimate price on the beach heads of Belgium during the third battle of Ypres in June 1917. Conlin, serving as a private in the Highland Light Infantry, has no known grave and is remembered on the Nieuport Memorial. Wolves' next visit to Valley Parade came seven months later in a second division fixture, which they won 3-2 before finishing one place below City in sixth.

Sheffield United 1-2 Blackpool

Second round: 3rd February 1906

Attendance: 9,000

Scorers: {Sheffield} Bert Lipsham 30 :{Blackpool} Harry Hancock 46,50

Ranked at the time: 35

United would pay dearly for a classic case of just not mentally coming back out of the dressing room for the second half. The giants had coasted through the first period and there was little indication of an upset until they were caught completely cold at the start of the second period. Harry Hancock did the damage with a brace in five minutes and the second division outfit rarely looked troubled after that. For the entire Blackpool eleven this was the high point of their careers as they were easily outclassed at Newcastle in the quarter finals. One of the players, Jack Parkinson would later lose his life in heroic, yet tragic circumstances when perishing in a vat of boiling water when trying to save a work mate who had fallen in.

Southampton 6-1 Middlesbrough

Third round: 24th February 1906

Attendance: 12,000

Scorers: {Southampton} Isaac Tomlinson, Fred Harrison, George Hedley {2}, Brown {2] :{Middlesbrough} Bob Walker

Ranked at the time: 12

How Middlesbrough fans, along with every other top flight fan whose team got through the second round must have had a chuckle when they read in the local 'pinkun' that Wolves had been hammered by a second division club. Unfortunately 'Boro arrived at the Dell to find cup upset weather, rain, wind and mud. This though wasn't a cup upset, it was a demolition as Southampton roared ino the lead when Tomlinson beat Williamson after just five minutes. The first half was one way traffic and Fred Harrison, George Hedley and Brown had all managed to put the game out of site by the interval. 'Boro improved in the second period, they could't actually have gotten any worse, but it was still Southampton who called the tune. with George Hedley getting a second goal before Brown hammered the final nail in 'Boro's coffin, although the visitors did get some consolation with the last kick of the game. One of Saints scorers was the same George Hedley who had won a League Championship in 1898 with Sheffield United, as well as winning the cup in 1902 at Southampton's expense. Hedley's Saints bowed out at Liverpool in the quarter finals this year but his F A cup story wasn't finished. Two years later Hedley picked up another winners medal with Wolves in 1908.

Manchester United 5-1 Aston Villa

Third round: 24th February 1906

Attendance: 40,880

Scorers: {Manchester} Charles Sagar {2}, John Picken {3} :{Aston} Bert Hall {half time 2-1}

Ranked at the time: 26

If ever proof were needed that Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger get a bad press for inventing the concept of resting players for F A cup ties then this is it. Cup holders Villa arrived at second division promotion chasers Manchester United's Bank Street ground in Clayton with only four of the side that had lifted the cup the previous year and without such star players as Harry Hampton, Howard Spencer and Joe Bache. Even so they still boasted a side that contained three England internationals, two of whom made up a quartet of survivors from Villa's 1900 title winning side. It wasn't recorded in the press if the missing stars were unfit to play or not but one very plausable reason for their absence may have been a very real fear of injury on United's notorious Bank Street pitch. One end was like concrete in dry weather, the other like a swimming pool in the wet, today it was wet and to add to the ambience was the light fog and nausiating stench that came from the gas works next door. Since the recent demise of Birmingham's Muntz Street ground, Bank Street had taken over the mantle of most hated ground in the league. That still didn't stop manager Ernest Mangnall building a usefull side that included their own England internationals, Charlie Roberts and a former cup winning goal scorer, Charles Sagar, whose goal had helped Bury humiliate Derby three years earlier. Jock Peddie, no stranger to both sides of giant killing, came with top flight experience at Newastle while John Picken had been a regular for Bolton. Even with all these facts in place, everyone still expected a comfortable victory for the visitors. United started the better and were a goal up through Sager in the first ten minutes, Bert Hall levelled but United restored their lead through Picken before the interval. The first minute of the second half was the killer moment when United scored a third straight from the kick off. At first Schofield took the credit but the goal was later awarded to Picken who went on to complete his hat-trick late on after Sagar had put the game well and truely beyond a hapless Villa side who had looked out of sorts with so many key positions being unfamiliar. Bank Street went wild and cup fever gripped Clayton as they awaited the arrival of Woolwich Arsenal for the quarter final. This clash too was a classic with United twice in the lead before going down 2-3. Promotion however was achieved and, under manager Mangnall, landed their first titles, 1908 and 1911 and won the cup in 1909. Moger, Roberts and Bell remained regulars in all three trophy winning sides while Alex Bell did even better when securing a third title with Blackburn in 1914. Alex Downie too was a mainstay of the title winning sides and played in every cup round in 1909 only to miss out on the cup final through injury. John Picken remained a usefull bit part player in the two titles, as were Dick Holden and Alex Downie in 1908. Only four players missed out totally on the glory years as Alf Schofield retired after the promotion season and Bob Bonthron left for Sunderland in 1907, the same year that Jock Peddie and Dicky Wombwell both signed for Heart of Midlothian. That first title was won on the concrete and mud of Bank Street but United soon after left for Old Trafford, today a plaque marks the site of the ground.

MANCHESTER UNITED TEAM: Harry Moger, Bob Bonthron, Dick Holden, Alex Downie, Charlie Roberts, Alex Bell, Jock Peddie, Alf Schofield, Charles Sagar, John Picken, Dicky Wombwell

ASTON VILLA TEAM: Billy George, Michael Noon, Walter Brown, Joe Pearson, Albert Evans, James Logan, George Harris, Jack Windmill, George Garrett, Billy Garraty, Bert Hall