Deepdale prepared for meeting of two fine old clubs

Friday 23 Jan 2015
Simon Grayson and Nigel Clough meet in The FA Cup on Saturday

These fine old clubs may be playing in English football’s third tier at the moment but Preston North End and Sheffield United have a terrific FA Cup pedigree. 

Between them they have appeared in no fewer than 13 Finals.

Preston lifted the trophy in 1889 and 1938. They became the first ‘Double’ winners in 1889, winning the League Championship without losing a match and The FA Cup without conceding a goal. 

Preston North End v Sheffield United

The FA Cup
Fourth Round Proper
3pm, Saturday 24 January
Deepdale, Preston
Winners receive £90,000 from FA Prize Fund

These are figures which are never likely to be equalled.

They beat Huddersfield Town with George Mutch’s penalty a minute from the end of extra-time in the 1938 Final. It was the first to be televised in its entirety by the BBC. 

In Preston’s last Final, in 1964, they lost 3-2 to West Ham United after twice being in front.

Sheffield United, last season’s Wembley Semi-Finalists, won The Cup in 1899, 1902, 1915 and 1925. 

They needed a replay to overcome Southampton in 1902 and their last success in the ‘20s was achieved with Fred Tunstall’s goal against Cardiff City on the half-hour in only the third Final hosted by Wembley.

They came close last time but the Blades haven’t featured in a Final since 1936. 

Preston FA Cup winners in 1938

Preston lifted The FA Cup in 1938

They were a Division Two side when they faced Arsenal, who at that time were regularly called upon to supply a big chunk of the England team, but they made the Gunners fight all the way.

It was only with a quarter of an hour left that Arsenal’s Ted Drake, playing with a heavily strapped knee, took a pass from Cliff ‘Boy’ Bastin and shot home a left-foot thunderbolt for the only goal of the match.

Preston and Sheffield United have met in five previous FA Cup matches with a mixed bag of results. 

United have won twice, Preston once, and there have been two draws.

United edged it 2-1 after a 2-2 draw in the Second Round in 1899 and went on to lift The Cup two months later at the old Crystal Palace. 

Jose Baxter celebrates with his Sheffield United team-mates

Sheffield United played at Wembley in the Semi-Final last year

In the Fourth Round in 1936 it was 0-0 at Deepdale and then 2-0 to United in the replay, as the Blades again went all the way to The Final.

North End finally got their win in the Fourth Round in 2002, 2-1 at Deepdale after goals by Richard Cresswell and Graham Alexander (penalty). 

Peter Ndlovu had given the visitors the lead before a crowd of 13,068.

They meet back at Deepdale again on Saturday having drawn 1-1 there in the League in August. 

If their most recent League One encounter is anything to go by, the Blades have the upper hand after a 2-1 victory at Bramall Lane two weeks ago. 

Click here for the full run-down of FA Cup Fourth Round fixtures

By David Barber FA Historian