1928 FA Cup Final (lost original radio coverage of football match; 1928)
The 1928 FA Cup Final culminated the 1927-1928 FA Cup season. Occurring on 21st April in front of 92,041 at Wembley Stadium, the Final saw Blackburn Rovers defeat Huddersfield Town 3-1 to claim its sixth Cup. The second FA Cup Final to receive live radio coverage, a 1932 re-enactment of it remains the oldest surviving BBC sports radio broadcast.
Blackburn Rovers and Huddersfield Town, as members of the Football League First Division, entered the tournament in the Third Round Proper. Blackburn Rovers' road to the Final saw it defeat Newcastle United, Exeter City, Port Vale, Manchester United, and Arsenal. Meanwhile, Huddersfield Town's campaign consisted of it overcoming Lincoln City, West Ham United, Middlesborough, Tottenham Hotspur, and Sheffield United. Blackburn was seeking its sixth FA Cup, while Huddersfield aimed for its second.
Heading into the Final, Huddersfield were declared the clear favourites, having narrowly been edged out of the 1927-28 First Division title by Newcastle United. Its FA Cup form was also significantly strong, having scored four goals again both Lincoln and Middlesborough and six against Tottenham. In contrast, Blackburn had barely avoided relegation to the Second Division by three points. Despite this, Blackburn were credited for eliminating both Newcastle and Arsenal on-route to the Final, suggesting the team was being underrated prior to the clash. In Issue 237 of Radio Times, H. G. Lewis previewed the tournament, noting that it challenged the Epsom Derby as the most popular sporting event on the UK calendar. However, he stated several previous Finals had been poorly received, particularly those that occurred following the First World War. He stated that often, the winner was decided by errors by the losing team rather than by exceptional plays from the winner. He also noted that the last eight FA Cup Finals featured scorelines of 1-0 or 2-0 only, with no instances of both teams scoring in a Final since 1910. He, therefore, predicted that whoever scored first in this Final would be victorious.
The year before, the BBC provided live coverage of the FA Cup Final for the first time. It again received permission to cover the event, with commentary provided by George F. Allison. As with other older radio football broadcasts, Radio Times provided a grid system within its 237th issue. Whenever the action reached a certain grid slot, the co-commentator would call out the number, allowing listeners to follow play. While the 1928 broadcast went ahead without issues, 1929 was not aired beyond excerpts as the BBC was unwilling to pay for broadcast fees. An agreement that the fee be donated to charity allowed for full broadcasts to commence again from 1930 onwards.
The Final itself occurred on 21st April with a reported 92,041 being present at Wembley Stadium. It also marked Huddersfield's first appearance at the ground. Blackburn got off to a dream start; a cross into the Huddersfield box saw a collision between The Terriers' goalkeeper Willie Mercer and Blackburn's Syd Puddefoot. With Mercer momentarily startled, it enabled John Roscamp to easily score. While such a play would usually result in the goal being disallowed in modern matches, the goal stood here, giving the Rovers a 1-0 lead in under a minute. It is among the fastest FA Cup Finals goals, with Louis Saha's strike for Everton against Chelsea at the 2009 FA Cup Final being declared the quickest at 23 seconds.
Huddersfield were unable to recover from this early setback, giving Blackburn several opportunities to double their lead. They eventually did so 22 minutes in thanks to a strike by Tommy McLean into the top-left corner of the goal. Reports indicated that Blackburn's dominance was due to a strong midfield and aggressive play that neutralised the offence of Huddersfield's forwards. Nevertheless, Huddersfield pulled one back in the second half, as Alex Jackson centralised his position and fired a shot that bounced off the bar and into the net. Hence, both teams in a Final scored for the first time since 1910. Despite this, Huddersfield were unable to find an equaliser, and were punished by a second goal from Roscamp after 85 minutes to allow the opposition to win 3-1.
Blackburn, therefore, claimed its sixth, and to date, last FA Cup. The only other Final the Rovers have reached since was in 1960, losing that game 3-0 to Wolverhampton Wanderers. Huddersfield's last Final was in 1938, losing 1-0 to Preston North End in what incidentally was also the first Final to be fully televised.
The original radio coverage of the Final is permanently lost. This is because the BBC seldom recorded its radio broadcasts until the early-1930s when it began harnessing the Blattnerphone and other devices for more regular recordings. However, in 1932, a re-enactment of the Final featuring commentary from Allison was conducted and recorded. This recording is declared the oldest surviving BBC radio sports broadcast, with the first minute being listenable online and at the National Football Museum in Manchester. Additionally, newsreel footage of the match can also be viewed on YouTube.
- English Football Stats detailing the 1927-28 First Division Table. Retrieved 12th Apr '23
- RSSSF detailing the road to the Final. Retrieved 12th Apr '23
- Topend Sports listing all FA Cup Final results. Retrieved 12th Apr '23
- 11 vs 11 detailing Blackburn Rovers' trophy cabinet. Retrieved 12th Apr '23
- Huddersfield Town detailing its trophy cabinet. Retrieved 12th Apr '23
- Archived FA Cup Finals summarising the Final. Retrieved 12th Apr '23
- Yorkshire Live summarising the game and providing photos of it. Retrieved 12th Apr '23
- Issue 237 of Radio Times previewing the Final. Retrieved 12th Apr '23
- BBC Sport detailing its early football broadcasts, including of the 1927 FA Cup Final. Retrieved 12th Apr '23
- Issue 237 of Radio Times listing the radio coverage of the Final. Retrieved 12th Apr '23
- On This Day explaining the grid system used in early football radio broadcasts. Retrieved 12th Apr '23
- National Pastime detailing the BBC not airing the 1929 Final and reaching an agreement to air future editions. Retrieved 12th Apr '23
- 11 vs 11 detailing the result of the Final. Retrieved 12th Apr '23
- Everton detailing the fastest goal in FA Cup Final history. Retrieved 12th Apr '23
- BBC detailing televising the 1938 FA Cup Final. Retrieved 12th Apr '23
- BBC noting it did not start recording radio broadcasts regularly until the early-1930s. Retrieved 12th Apr '23
- BBC noting most of its early radio output was simply not recorded. Retrieved 12th Apr '23
- As detailed by the National Football Museum in Manchester, stating "Recorded in 1932, this re-enactment of the 1928 FA Cup final commentary is the oldest surviving BBC football commentary." Retrieved 12th Apr '23
- BBC detailing the Blattnerphone, one of the few devices it used to record radio output in the early-1930s. Retrieved 12th Apr '23