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Everton v West Brom – 1968 FA Cup Final / Everton v West Brom – 1968 FA Cup Final

Everton v West Brom – 1968 FA Cup Final

By on 5 January 2018

There is no doubting the FA Cup occupies a much reduced status in the modern game. Attempts by the media to over egg the so-called “magic of the FA Cup” serve only to highlight this fact. But, taking it for what it is – its history and tradition and the fact that it is a damn good knockout competition – at SoccerAttic, we can’t help but get excited when the Third Round comes along.

We looked back at the 1967 final when Spurs met Chelsea in the semi finals last season, so to get you in the FA Cup mood today, we turn to the June 1968 issue of Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly and a preview of that year’s final between Everton and West Bromwich Albion. Everton were favourites going into the game having finished three places higher than Albion in that season’s First Division and also having thrashed The Baggies 6-2 at the Hawthorns in their previous encounter. West Brom, however, had shown a distinct resilience on their way to Wembley and had Jeff Astle in their ranks aiming to score in every round of the competition.

Two of Football Monthly’s regular writers, Pat Collins and Peter Morris gave us their predictions and reasons as to which of the two they fancied to lift the trophy. We’ve re-published the article here and you can read the articles as originally published by zooming in on the pages shown here. For good measure we’ve also included the “How They Got There” page also and action from the game. And not forgetting the man who played such a major part in the competition, you can visit Justice for Jeff here.







LABONE’S BOYS FOR ME…

says Pat Collins

FOR the second time in three years I expect to see Everton skipper Brian Labone first man up to the Royal Box at Wembley.

And without having to equal their own Wembley feat of 1966—which only Blackpool share with them—of winning the Cup after being two goals down. I don’t see this young, compact Goodison side, allowing Albion any sort of start. Having disposed of Leeds, the favourites, in the semi-final, their confidence will be Everest-high.

Everton have moved smoothly through to the Final without faltering on the way taking part in five games to the nine which the Albion have needed to make Wembley. And, just as in 1966, the men of Mersey have given almost nothing away to their rivals. Then, they had a defence which hadn’t conceded a goal up to Final day. Now, only Leicester in the Sixth Round have cracked it once.

Their greatest boost is to have Alan Ball back for the day. Not many, apart from their own fans gave them much chance of beating Leeds without the suspended England forward. This they did right well. And Ball will be in there with his own and his team-males psychological pull—just two months earlier they slammed the Albion 6-2 on the Midlanders’ own Hawthorns pitch, with the little red-head leading the spree with four goals for himself.

I feel that Everton have the answer to Albion danger-man Jeff Astle, in Labone. There is no dourer centre-half than the Everton captain and he will match the skill of the Albion leader in the air.

The Harry Catterick youngsters have sped ahead of their expected advance with players like Royle and Husband coming through splendidly. Royle, the big fellow, will be as much a menace as Midlands fans are hoping that Astle will be.

With the mid-field talents of Kendall and Ball, the industry of Harvey—one of the finest of our crop of young wing halves—and the flair and understanding of Wright and Wilson at full-back I cannot see Albion holding out.

And if he STILL insists that he will retire next season my bet is that BRIAN LABONE WILL TAKE A SECOND CUP-WINNERS’ MEDAL WITH HIM INTO RETIREMENT.

FIFTH COMING UP…

says Peter Morris

Everyone outside Midlands fancies Everton for the F.A. Cup. To me, that suggests ignorance of West Bromwich Albion’s immense capabilities—and of their famous Cup-fighting traditions dating back more than 80 years.

I must go for Albion at Wembley this year I have no option. I’m a Birmingham man and I have long known Albion for what they are—a club possessing magnificent spirit and determination when the odds seem most heavily against them. It’s true they were not at their best in beating close neighbours Birmingham City in a tense semi-final at Villa Park. But they still had that extra class and tactical “know how” to emerge the winners.

And if anyone could ask for greater proof of their tremendous resilience and determination I would cite their three great sixth round battles with the powerful and highly-fancied Liverpool side. It was in these three stamina-sapping games that the new Albion, built by manager Alan Ashman, proved their true mettle.

Ashman, in his first season as Albion’s manager, has taken them to Wembley and has fashioned an extremely mobile and tactically intelligent side, possessing the priceless flair of taking their goal chances. That’s what they did against Liverpool…that’s what they did against Birmingham. And I believe they are likely to do so against Everton.

I also back Albion on a couple of hunches. For instance, in 1954, when they last won the trophy by beating Preston 3-2, they also played their semi-final at Villa Park—against another Midland club in Port Vale.

Remember, too, that Albion were at Wembley last year—as defeated League Cup finalists. They’ll he determined not to end up the losers at Wembley two years running.

Jeff Astle, Albion’s centre-forward, is having his finest season with eight Cup goals so far. His supporting cast takes in the ball-playing skills of Bobby Hope, the trickery and opportunism of Clive Clark and Tony Brown, backed by the strength of skipper Graham Williams, John Talbut and John Kaye.

This will be the Albion’s 10th F.A. Cup final equalling Newcastle’s record. The Albion have won the trophy four times.

I EXPECT THEM TO MAKE IT FIVE.

[End]

Everton v West Bromwich Albion – FA Cup Final 1968

 

Brian Labone from Charles buchan's Football Monthly, June 1968

It wasn’t to be this time for Everton skipper Brian Labone

Jeff Astle from Charles Buchan's Football Monthly, June 1968

Astle scored the winner meaning he scored in every round of the FA Cup that year






















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Everton 1962-63