Alan Hansen loved the FA Cup as a player and his passion for the
competition is undiminished.
The beauty of the FA Cup is that anyone can beat anyone on their day.
When I was at Liverpool, we had to go to York in one of the early rounds
of the Cup in 1986. We were a formidable side. We had great players like
Ian Rush and Kenny Dalglish and went on to win the Double that year. But
we had to fight for our lives at Bootham Crescent.
York were fired up, the pitch was boggy and we were lucky to come away
with a 1-1 draw. We hammered them when they came back to Anfield, but
they had given us a real fright.
Beating Everton in the final in 1986 is definitely my FA Cup highlight.
It was great to see Blues and Reds mixing together in the stands at
Wembley that day and the atmosphere was fantastic.
We started the match badly and went 1-0 down to a goal from Gary Lineker,
who is now my Match of the Day colleague. But we got our act together
and fought back to win 3-1. Victory sealed the double for us in Kenny
Dalglish's first season as manager.
But the best thing was the next day, travelling round Liverpool on an
open-top bus and showing our fans the FA Cup. The build-up to an FA Cup
final is different from any other game. It starts at least a week before
As soon as you see the twin towers on your way to the ground you start
My biggest disappointment was undoubtedly the 1988 Cup final, which we
lost 1-0 to Wimbledon.
Liverpool had another great side that year and I was lucky enough to be
captain. We cruised to the league title and had some fabulous players,
like Peter Beardsley, John Barnes and John Aldridge.
I think the bookies had us down as the biggest favourites in FA Cup
Wimbledon were novices in the top flight and didn't have anything like
the talent that we had.
But we played badly on the day and Wimbledon played out of their skins.
The crucial moment came midway through the first-half when Peter
Beardsley scored a perfectly good goal and play was stopped for a
dubious offside in the build-up. Vinnie Jones has said that he
intimidated our players in the tunnel before the game. He's welcome to
think that but it's not true. We were Liverpool.
But I'm not making any excuses. My good memories of the FA Cup far
outweigh the bad ones.