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Spectacle at the Bridge ushers in Wembley era

It is 79 years since an FA Cup final was not played at Wembley – apart, that is, from the 1970 replay at Old Trafford. The venue for the 1922 final was Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge and, as well as being the first final to be decided by a penalty, Huddersfield Town’s 1-0 win over Preston North End proved to be the first success in their golden era under their manager Herbert Chapman.

It was, however, a dreary match, enlivened only by the debate about the merits best canada goose coat for women of that penalty award and the antics, as it was being taken, of Preston’s amateur goalkeeper James Mitchell, still the only man wearing spectacles to have played in an FA Cup final. His behaviour actually caused the penalty laws to be changed.

Between 1895 and 1914, finals had been played at Crystal Palace, in the vast natural south London park concave alongside Prince Albert’s astonishing iron and glass edifice. For the 1913 final between Aston Villa and Sunderland it had housed 120,081 spectators, but in the first world war it was commandeered as a military depot and the finals were switched to Stamford Bridge.

Then sale, in 1921, the FA committed to a 20-year contract to play at the proposed new stadium at Wembley. Work had already been going on for three months when the 1922 final was staged at Chelsea’s ground on April 29. Proceeding at a lick, too, for from first mix of pioneering concrete to painting the lines on the pitch three days before the 1923 final, Wembley took only 300 working days to build and cost only £750,000.

With Stamford Bridge’s limited access from Fulham Road – its three other sides are hemmed in by railways and houses – and a northerners’ “war of the roses” taking place, only 53,000 attended the 1922 final. History’s only talking point remains the decisive penalty can you machine wash canada goose jacket kick – with the bespectacled Preston goalkeeper, who gaily failed to save it, deserving his quirky footnote in the legend.

Mitchell was a one-off for more than myopia. He played the match with a blue-and-white bandana knotted round his head – he said it helped keep the rain off his spectacles when it rained and mopped up the perspiration when it was sunny. best place buy canada goose jacket toronto As Huddersfield’s England left-winger Billy Smith prepared to take the penalty, the goalkeeper “danced about on his line, waving his arms in a vain attempt to distract Smith”, according to Bryon Butler’s official FA canada goose coat – victoria Cup history.

A newspaper cartoon showed Mitchell in native American costume and feathered head-dress, enacting a war-dance around a blazing campfire on his goal-line as Smith planted the ball past him. But though the amateur Mitchell may have been a card, a novelty, he was a gifted goalkeeper too. While studying for an arts degree at Manchester University, he was Great Britain’s goalkeeper in the 1920 Olympic Games (eliminated 3-1 by Norway).

After his 1922 extravagances canada goose coat 0f at Stamford Bridge for Preston, he was transferred to Manchester City and, still an amateur, won a single cap for England, against Northern Ireland at Goodison in 1924 (won 3-1).

The FA greybeards were not amused by Mitchell’s penalty burlesque and recorded in their minutes, for the first time in average cost canada goose jacket their history: “The council express great regret at the conduct of some of the players during the final tie.” Chapman complained on behalf of Huddersfield, but the FA (possibly because gentlemen hesitated to reprimand amateurs in public) continued to refuse to mention Mitchell by name. Simultaneously, however, it amended the law on penalties, making it a requirement that goalkeepers remained completely still until the kick was taken.

The penalty award itself had been contested. It was Smith, the scorer, who was fouled. But had it been inside the area? No television cameras, replays or droning, dissecting studio pundits then. The Times reported: “Huddersfield’s Smith set off on a amazon canada goose parka long dribble, and the roar that marks such a run at its best canada goose jacket for skiing most critical moment was just beginning when Hamilton, Preston’s right-back, brought down the wing man from behind. He lay sprawling in the area, but had the offence occurred outside it? Mr JWD Fowler, the referee, was quite clear in his own mind in spite of violent protests from the Preston side.”

Next morning, the Sunday Chronicle’s reporter and former amateur international Ivan Sharpe wrote: “It was certainly a close thing. I had a fairly good view of the incident and my impression was ‘Penalty!’ The kick was to be taken by the victim, buy canada goose jacket london Smith. The goalkeeper Mitchell decided on the manoeuvre of dervish leaps in the air while the act was brewing, the intention obviously to put the Huddersfield marksman off his shot. ‘Ne’er mind the devil-dances’ seemed to be the tenor buy canada goose jacket online canada of Town captain Clem Stephenson as he advised Smith: ‘Just shove it in the net.’

“In the event, it seemed to me that Smith unimpressively pulled his drive, as the golfers say, and that Mitchell therefore half succeeded, although the goalkeeper was still air-bound and not back on his feet while the ball was just sneaking inside his right-hand post.”

The 1-0 overture to 77 years of Wembley. Now, Cardiff.