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The Giant Killers

Every F A cup slaying since 1888



1909 - 1911

Burnley 2-0 Manchester United

First round: 15th January 1910

Attendance: 12,000

Scorers: Benny Green {3}, Charlie Smethams {75}

Ranked at the time: 19

Burnley: 1:Jerry Dawson 2:Fred Barron 3:Jimmy McLean 4:Jonathan Cretney 5:Alex Leake {image left} 6:Hugh Moffat 7:Jonathan Morley 8:Benny Green 9:Dick Smith 10:Walter Abbott 11:Charlie Smethams {Manager Spen Whittaker}

Manchester United: 1:Harry Moger 2:George Stacey 3:Vince Hayes 4:Dick Duckworth 5:Charlie Roberts 6:Joseph Curry 7:Billy Meredith 8:Harold Halse 9:Sandy Turnbull 10:John Picken 11:George Wall {Manager Ernest Mangnall}

Manchester United: 1:Harry Moger 2:George Stacey 3:Vince Hayes 4:Dick Duckworth 5:Charlie Roberts 6:Joseph Curry 7:Billy Meredith 8:Harold Halse 9:Sandy Turnbull 10:John Picken 11:George Wall {Manager Ernest Mangnall}

Cup holders, Manchester United turned up at Turf Moor with nine of the side that had lifted the trophy the previous April and promptly left having been dumped out in the pouring rain on a bog of a pitch that was virtually unplayable by their mid table second division opponents The Clarets however fielded a side with six former top flight players including two veterans of their own first division days a decade earlier, Jerry Dawson and Fred Barron and two former England Internationals Alex Leake and Walter Abbott, both of whom also boasted cup winners medals with Aston Villa and Everton respectively. Benny Green had experience from Birmingham where he had once won a piano for scoring the first ever goal at St Andrews' while Jimmy McLean had been discarded by Bradford after guiding them to the top flight. The rain across the country kept attendances at most grounds low and it was a disappointment that the cup holders could only draw 12,000, especially with the potentially spicy encounter of Leake vs Billy Meredith to entertain them. Five years earlier Leake had been in the Aston Villa side that stood between Manchester City and the League Championship on the final day of the season in what turned into a very ugly encounter. City lost both the game, 3-2, and the title to Newcastle and worse still, Leake declared after the game that he had been offered a £10 bribe by Meredith to help throw the match. It sparked a dramatic series of events at City when the club refused to help their accused player who then blew the whistle on a whole series of under the counter inducements to players that led to 18 month bans for most of the team. Meredith and Co promptly signed for Manchester United, giving birth to their first great side while City's star imploded overnight. Leake and Meredith actually had rather a quiet game as events unfolded around them with Burnley so quickly out of the traps that out of sorts United never recovered, exiting the cup with an overwhelming whimper. Benny Green beat the onrushing Harry Moger to a third minute cross to head home with Walter Abbott following up to make sure before Charlie Smethams sealed the win in the fading light. Burnley themselves were undone in a second round upset at Swindon in similar fashion but there was to be a sadder end to their 1910 story when, in April, manager Spen Whittaker boarded a train for London. It's not clear exactly what happened but somehow Whittaker fell from the speeding carriage to his death along the journey. A benefit game was organised for his family in which the visitors were none other than Manchester United.

Preston North End 1-2 Coventry City

First round: 15th January 1910

Attendance: 6,000

Scorers: {Preston} David McLean {45-Pen}: {Coventry} Harry Buckle {47}, Patsy Hendren {62} (image right)

Ranked at the time: 25

Preston North End: 1:Peter McBride 2:Charlie McFadyen 3:Tommy Rodway 4:Edward Holdsworth 5:Joe McCall 6:Billy Lyon 7:Jack Platt 8:Jimmy Bannister 9:David McLean 10:Arthur Mounteney 11:Arthur Winterhalder

Coventry City: George Warren, Patsy Hendren, Harry Buckle

The Bantams, as Southern League Coventry were then known had only ever played in the first round once before and had never beaten a league side in the cup, never mind winning away at a top flight side so few took much notice of this tie when it was published in the papers among the juicier first round games on offer. That was backed up by just 6,000 turning up in miserable weather to watch something more akin to swamp football as Deepdale was in a terrible state. After a bright opening City became entrenched on the edge of their own penalty area for most of the first half and there was an air of inevitability when David McLean stroked home a penalty right before the half time whistle. Coventry got the perfect start to the second period however when former Irish International and player-manager, Harry Buckle saw his cross sliced into his own net by Tommy Rodway. Thankfully for the Preston defender the powers that be gave the credit to the fortunate City winger. Then another howler midway through the half gifted City the lead when goalie, Peter McBride came out of his goal to make a routine clearance, only to fall and leave an empty net for Patsy Hendren to fire in a soft winner. The name of Coventry's winning scorer may well ring a bell with cricket fans more so than fans of football and with good reason for while Hendren ws a useful footballer, good enough even to be capped once by England in 1919, it was for cricket that he would gain much greater fame, with over fifty tests for England including featuring heavily in six tour teams. Coventry's first ever second round cup tie was an all Southern League affair at Portsmouth, which they won by the only goal to at last set up the dream tie of all non league clubs, a home game with a first division outfit, in this case Nottingham Forest. {see below}

Stockport County 4-1 Bolton Wanderers

First round: 15th January 1910

Attendance: 7,000

Scorers: {Stockport} James Greechan, Ben Whitehouse {2}, Ernie Newman: {Bolton} Jimmy Hogan {half time 1-1}

Ranked at the time: 51

Stockport County: 1:Jim Molyneux 2:James Greechan 3:Eddie Gettins 4:Fred 'Ike' Burden 5:Jimmy Kennedy 6:Lol Abrams 7:David Melville 8:John Nixon 9:Jimmy Kenyon 10:Ernie Newman 11:Ben Whitehouse

Bolton Wanderers: 1:John Edmondson 2:Bert Baverstock 3:Jack Slater 4:Sam Marsh 5:William Robinson 6:Tommy Barber 7:H Wilkinson 8:Gordon Jones 9:Marshall McEwan 10:Jimmy Hogan 11:Billy Hunter

In the years before the first world war Stockport had long been regarded as being among the weaker outfits in division two, with virtually no top flight experience among their playing staff to call on, save a handful of appearances shared between two or three players as well as often being on the wrong end of cup ties with non league clubs. As a result Stockport had only met top flight opponents in the cup once before, being easily beaten at Aston Villa two years earlier. Bolton had been promoted from the second division the previous season but had lost at Edgeley Park on the way in December 1908 so Stockport fans were confident that this could be the day they would record their first ever cup win over top fight opponents, especially as Bolton has lost four on the trot going into the game and were on their way straight back down to division two. As at the other grounds the rain fell heavily, the attendance was a disappointment and the ground was a quagmire as Stockport took a tenth minute lead through the same James Greechan whose goal had earned Glossop giant killing fame the previous year. Neither side were able to play to their potential in the conditions as the cup lived up to its reputation as 'the great leveller' and in a tight contest Jimmy Hogan, later to gain fame as coach of the mighty Hungarian national team of the early 50s, equalised before the break. The second half continued to be uneventful stuff and looked to be heading for a replay at Bolton until the visitors went into meltdown late in the game as, to the shock and delight of those hardy enough to have stayed to the finish, the home side scored three late goals to provide a surprise and rather flattering scoreline. Normal service for Stockport was resumed in the second round when beaten at home by non league Leyton and by the time relegated Bolton came back to Edgely Park in February 1911, where they won 1-0, many of the side had moved on, including the young keeper Jim Molyneux, who became a regular between the sticks for Chelsea, keeping goal in the 1915 cup final.

Sheffield Wednesday 0-1 Northampton Town

First round replay: 20th January 1910


Scorer: Bob Walker

Ranked at the time: 29

Sheffield Wednesday: 1:Teddy Davison 2:Jimmy Spoors 3:Walter Holbem 4:Tom Brittleton 5:English McConnell 6:Billy Bartlett 7:Sam Kirkham 8:Harry Chapman 9:Andy Wilson 10:Frank Rollinson 11:Ollie Tummon

Northampton Town: Bob Walker

When looked at as just another FA cup tie Northampton's first ever cup success over a top flight club at Hillsborough in 1910 doesn't stand out as more exceptional than any other away win for a top Southern League club but if not among the greatest upsets it is definately among the most important. Three years earlier Northampton had been propping up the Southern League when journeyman player Herbert Chapman returned for his second spell at the club, although this time also in the capacity of manager. Chapman though was a man light years ahead of his time and instantly revolutionised how the club played. In the age o five backs and five forwards Chapman introduced his players to the idea of a midfield where the backs and forwards combined. It produced instant results for the Cobblers as they went from divisional whipping boys to Southern League champions within two years. Then Chapman was able to use his tactics against the big guns in the cup and in 1910 took Town past the first round for the first time. Wednesday had been very much on the back foot during their visit to the County Ground and Teddy Davison had made a string of fine stops to keep the home side out but in the replay their luck ran out and Bob Walker sent the Cobblers into the second round for the first time in their history wher they took Nottingham Forest to a replay before going down. Chapman's ability to read a game tactically was already evident, though unsurprisingly his style remained too revolutionary for any top flight club to take a chance with him for another decade while, sadly for the Cobblers, Northampton lacked the clout to be able to provide their gifted coach with the talent he needed to become the legend in the twenties and thirties. Over three quarters of a century after his death Herbert Chapman remains without doubt the frst truely great tactician and arguably among the greatest managers of all time, having inspired Busby, Shankly, Clough and all the other legendary post war managers that have followed.

Leicester Fosse 3-2 Bury

Second round: 5th February 1910

Attendance: 15,000

Scorers: {Leicester} Fred Threlfall {2}, Syd Owen: {Bury} Harry Pearson, Billy Hibbert {half time 2-1}

Ranked at the time: 79

Leicester Fosse:1:Jonty Starbuck 2:Billy Henry 3:Dick Pudan 4:? 5:Andy 'Daddler' Aitken 6:Billy Goldie 7:Davie Walker 8:Fred Threlfall 9:Fred Shinton 10:Shirley Hubbard 11:Syd Owen

Bury: 1:James Raeside 2:Jimmy Lindsay 3:Dick Parkin 4:Billy Humphries 5:Jack Dewhurst 6:Len Jarvis 7:Harry Pearson 8:Tom Kay 9:Billy Hibbert 10:Bob Currie 11:Chris Duffy

More showers on second round day as Bury went out to lower division opponents for the fourth consecutive year, this time after a cracker at Filbert Street. Second division Leicester were managed by former Scottish International Andy Aitken, a former champion and twice cup runner up with Newcastle who selected in his side another title winner in former Liverpool hero Billy Goldie and former team mate at Newcastle and another cup loser in 1908, Dick Pudan. It was Syd Owen however who turned out to be the star of the show as he set up two goals and scored the other. Fred Threlfall met Owen's cross to put Fosse in front but within a minute Harry Pearson had levelled for Bury before Owen himself restored the home side's advantage before the break. Leicester looked to have sealed their victory when Threlfall again met an Owen cross to put clear daylight between them and Bury but Billy Hibbert's goal twelve minutes from time set up a typical nervy finale. Leicester saw off non league Layton in the next round to reach the quarter finals for the first time in their history. losing out to Newcastle.

Aston Villa 1-2 Manchester City

Third round: 19th February 1910

Attendance: 35,000

Scorers: {Aston} Billy Gerrish: {Manchester} George Stewart, Lot Jones {image right}

Ranked at the time: 9

Aston Villa: 1:Arthur Cartlidge 2:Tommy Lyons 3:Freddie Miles 4:George Tranter 5:Chris Buckley 6:George Hunter 7:Charlie Wallace 8:Billy Gerrish 9:Harry Hampton 10:Joe Bache 11:Bert Hall

Manchester City:1:Jack Lyall 2:Tommy Kelso 3:Bertram Jackson 4:Bill Bottomley 5:Bill Eadie 6:George Dorsett 7:George Stewart 8:George Wynn 9:Tom Holford 10:Lot Jones 11:Jimmy Conlin

It was less than a year since City had last visited Villa Park for a league encounter which, had they drawn, would have ensured their safety as a top flight club. City lost 1-2 and a further defeat five days later in their final game of the season saw them relegated on goal average behind a Bradford City side who pulled off a vital draw and victory in their final two games to stay up. Ten months on and City traveled back to Villa Park with nine of their first division side intact, the additions being Sheffield Wednesday's cup winning keeper, Jack Lyall and the Welsh International, George Wynn, joining ex England stars Tom Holford and Jimmy Conlin and former Scotland International George Stewart who were impressively marching towards an instant return to the elite. Villa fans would not have been impressed when matched against their star studded side who were well clear of their rivals in the race for the League Championship. After the torrential rain of first round day and heavy showers during the second round it was a pleasant change to find Birmingham bathed in winter sunshine for the battle of the leaders of their respective leagues but the pitch was still in a very heavy state, which City adapted to the more quickly, gaining the vital ealy goal through Stewart before losing the momentum when Jimmy Conlin was forced to leave the field injured. Villa pressed hard to try and make their man advantage pay but Gerrish and Bache, usually so deadly in the league, were especially wasteful on this day while City, on the counter attack, were able to double their lead through the club's other Welsh International Lot Jones. The Villa fans were stunned as they had expected their side to dish out the backlash of an equally poor performance in the League at home to Bradford City the previous week but the return of a fit again Conlin enabled the visitors to keep their lead to the interval. Tough talking in the Villa dressing room saw the champion elect improve in the second period but City's confidence continued to grow and the visitors looked as likely of a third as Villa did of a route back into the game. Arthur Cartlidge's saves proved even more important when Gerrish finally found a way past Jack Lyall to set up the traditional nervous finish but City defended comfortbly to hold on to their deserved victory and a place in the quarter finals, a stage City hadn't reached since winning the cup six years earlier. Being drawn to travel to Southern League Swindon only fuelled the growing talk among City fans that they should start saving for a day out in London but on the day they went down 0-2. That disappointment was quickly forgotten as City not only won their top flight place back but did so as champions. Villa too recovered clinch the League title with relative ease.

Coventry City 3-1 Nottingham Forest

Third round: 19th February 1910

Attendance: 14,000

Scorers: {Coventry} Archie Smith, George Warren {2}: {Nottingham} Grenville Morris [half time 2-1]

Ranked at the time: 34

Coventry City: 1: Bob Evans, George Warren, Archie Smith, Warner

Nottingham Forest: 1:Bert Hassell 2:Walter Dudley 3:George 'Ginger' Maltby 4:Teddy Hughes 5:George Wolfe 6:George Needham 7:Bill Hooper 8:Tom Marrison 9:Enoch 'Knocker' West 10:Grenville Morris 11:Bill Palmer

A measure of how time distorts the prestige of games comes from Coventry's two cup victories over top flight clubs in 1910. Both Preston and Nottingham Forest were evenly placed in the top flight but Coventry had beaten the latter away from home while Forest were seen off at Highfield Road. Either way it's the Forest tie which stuck more with City fans, probably because much more of them were there to see it and by the time of the game cup fever had already gripped the City. Again the early goal was the key as Archie Smith opened the scoring inside the first five minutes and although Morris managed to restore parity City restored their lead through George Warren before the break. An evenly balanced second half was settled when Morris bagged his second of the day but Forest did have one last chance of a lifeline when they were awarded a penalty to get back into the tie. Even then, Welsh International keeper, Bob Evans wasn't forced into a save as the ball sailed wide of his goal, taking any last ounce of spirit left in the Forest team with it as Coventry played out a very easy final few minutes. In the last eight City had an even bigger tie against Everton, going down with dignity, 0-2.

Swindon Town 3-2 Tottenham Hotspur

Third round: 19th February 1910

Attendance: 11,818

Scorers: {Swindon} Harold Fleming {3}{image left}: {Tottenham} Billy Minter, Bobby Steel {penalty} [half time 1-1]

Ranked at the time: 56

Swindon Town: 1:Len Skiller 2:Harry Kay 3:Jock Walker 4:Billy Tout 5:Charlie Bannister 6:Billy Silto 7:Bob Jefferson 8:Harold Fleming 9:Freddy Wheatcroft 10:Archie Bown 11:Jack Lavery

Tottenham Hotspur: 1:John 'Tiny' Joyce 2:Ernie Coquet 3:? 4:Tom Morris 5:Danny Steel 6:? 7:Jack Curtis 8:Billy Minter 9:Percy Humphries 10:Bobby Steel 11:Bert Middlemiss

A five goal thriller at The County Ground where a statue of hat-trick hero Harold Fleming stands to this day. Town's first England International was at his brilliant best against a Tottenham side who had carved out a reputation for themselves over the previous decade as the supreme giant killers. Now in a classic poacher turned game keeper scenario, Tottenham became cup upset victims in their first season among the elite. Tottenham started the game easily on top and in the early stages there were real fears that Swindon could find themselves on the wrong end of a heavy defeat but the tide turned with the home side's first attack when Spurs Keeper 'Tiny' Joyce was clattered by Bob Jefferon, allowing Fleming the easiest of finishes to open the scoring. There were no protests from the visitors as keepers didn't enjoy the same sot of protection they do today and instead set about leveling the tie, which they did reasonable quickly when Bert Middlemiss whipped in a cross for Billy Minter to finish, via an upright. Tottenham again started the stronger in the second half and should have taken the lead when Bert Middlemiss fired wide with Skiller beaten. Even so the pressure still produced the breakthrough when another goal bound shot was handled on the line by Harry Kay and although it wasn't a sending off offence in those days it still naturally warranted a penaty, cooly despatched by Bobby Steel. With the game slipping away from them Swindon got the perfect response by equalising straight from the kick off when Fleming beat the onrushing Joyce to a through ball which sailed into the empty net to a huge roar from the rejuvenated home fans who now spurred on the home side for a renewed effort to try and avoid a replay in London. Tottenham by now were well on the back foot and there was no coming back for the First Division side when Fleming completed his hat-trick late on. Swindon were paired in the quarter finals with fellow giant killers, Manchester City, on their way to the second division title and while City managed to keep Harold Fleming out of the game it left space for Bob jefferson and Archie Brown to score the goals that took Swindton to a semi final against cup specialists Newcastle. As fate would have it that meant a trip to Tottenham after all, only Tottenham's role as as nothing more than hosts for the event, in which cup favourites Newcastle proved too strong by 2-0. In a curious post script Swindon perhaps got an insight into what might have been had they seen off Newcastle when they were invited to play cup finalists Barnsley in a prestigious friendly in Paris later in the year. The teams met for a trophy named the Dubonnet cup to promote the game in France in which Swindon won.

Image courtesy of

Barnsley 3-0 Everton

Semi Final replay: 1st April 1910

Old Trafford, Manchester

Attendance: 55,000

Scorers: Ernie Gadsby {50}, Tom Forman {87}, HarryTufnell {88}

Ranked at the time: 48

Barnsley: 1:Fred Mearns 2:Dickie Downs 3:Harry Ness 4:Bob Glendenning 5:Tommy Boyle 6:George Utley 7:Wilf Bartrop 8:Ernie Gadsby 9:George Lylliycrop 10:Harry Tufnell 11:Tom Forman

Everton: 1:Billy Scott 2:Bob Clifford 3:Jock MaConnachie 4:Val Harris 5:Jack Taylor 6:Harry Makepeace 7:Jack Sharp 8:Wattie White 9:Bert Freeman 10:Sandy Young 11:George Barlow

Few giant killings are achieved without a slice of luck attached but even the most ardent Barnsley fan would have to confess that they couldn't have had much more luck than in winning this replay to take them to the 1910 cup final. A missed penalty, a missed open goal and the opponents reduced to nine fit men, one of the injured being the keeper is a mountain few top flight clubs could overcome but it's a bit unfair to point to all these things, as much as they helped, and say that Barnsley didn't deserve to win. The Tykes were a team of relative unknowns during their 1910 cup run, although keeper Fred Mearns had been the understudy keeper in Sunderland's 1902 title winning side, making just two appearances. Everton had been nailed on by the pundits to reach the cup final ever since they and cup favourites Newcastle had been kept apart in the semi final draw. On the day Everton were poor and Barnsley, who had got to the semi finals having avoided top flight clubs all the way, left Elland Road kicking themselves at not having finished the Merseysiders off as the pundits looked at the game as Barnsley's big chance blown. The replay was set for Old Trafford on a pleasant April afternoon that saw 55,000 crammed in and proved an action packed affair. Everton started the brighter but were reduced to ten men when Taylor was carried from the field with a fractured larynx. Then Barnsley were awarded a penalty against Harris which Tommy Boyle lashed wide of the post while at the other end Bob Glendenning clattered Young and gave away a penalty to Everton, which Fred Mearns saved well from Freeman, and all only in a goalless first half. The breakthrough came five minutes after the interval when Tom Forman's speed on the wing got the better of Clifford before sliding the ball under the diving Scott to allow Ernie Gadsby the easiest of finishes to open the scoring. Worse still for Everton was that Scott was injured in trying to save and he was forced to leave the field for treatment for half the second period while McConnachie took over in goal. Barnsley pressed hard to try and finish off the nine men but could create only one clear cut opportunity when George Lillycrop forced a good save from the stand in keeper before Scott bravely returned, despite being in some discomfort. Barnley's second heart stopping moment came late on when Freeman beat the advancing Fred Mearns to a through ball and left the keeper for dead. The Everton fans rose as one to celebrate the late equaliser only to see the striker slide the ball wide of the empty net. Despite their injurys, Everton had been given two gilt edged opportunities to win the game and had spurned both, now Barnsley punished them. A defensive mix up gave Tom Forman the chance to settle the issue and within a minute Harry Tufnell had quite literally added insult to injury, firing past the crippled Scott, who promptly left the field again for the closing moments. Though some sympathy at Everton's plight was given there was still no taking away from Barnsley that they deserved to win for taking the opportunities presented to them. The cup final made houshold names of most of the side as they held Newcastle to a 1-1 draw, even though they were to lose in a replay at a hostile Goodison Park, filled with Evertonian's still feeling hard done by in the semi final. And while the team were never able to push on and gain promotion their reputation as tough cup fighters was sealed when they made the final again two years later with six of the side that played in 1910. Downs, Bartropp, Lillycrop and Tufnell all enjoyed success that day along with Utley, who went on to captain Sheffield United in the 1915 final and Boyle, who had captained Burnley in 1914. Four of them were capped by England while Boyle won the title at Turf Moor in 1921, following the example of Harry Ness who had done the same at Sunderland 1913. Bob Gelndenning was one of the players who didn't go on to achieve trophy winning highs but as a coach he made his way to the Netherlands where he coached the National team, remaining their winningmost coach and a revered character to the point that the Dutch Associaition tend and pay for the upkeep of his grave to this day.