The Fastest FA Cup Final Goal

Louis Saha's goal resolved an awkward conundrum for serious quizzers (of whom, as you probably know if you're reading this – which you are – I am one).

Previously, the fastest goal in an FA Cup final at Wembley had been Roberto Di Matteo's opener for Chelsea against Middlesbrough in 1997 (42 seconds). But this wasn't the fastest ever goal in an FA Cup final.

The only goal of the 1895 final was certainly scored in the first minute; although there are no accurate timings, various contemporary reports gave times between 30 and 39 seconds, and the FA states 30 seconds. All of these times were beaten by Saha's strike, but none of them by Di Matteo's.

(The 1895 final was played at Crystal Palace between Aston Villa and West Bromwich Albion; the only goal was scored for Villa, by one Bob Chatt.)

Who knows how many question setters, in the years between 1997 and 2009, asked who scored the fastest ever goal in an FA Cup final and would only accept Roberto Di Matteo as the answer? I, for one, was unable to convince one particular question master on this topic!

Fortunately, for Roberto Di Matteo at least (possibly), his goal will not be forgotten by the quiz fraternity as it was undisputedly the fastest FA Cup final goal of the 20th century – just as Saha's goal is now undisputedly the fastest FA Cup final goal ever. And sadly for Saha, he was the only one of these three scorers to end up on the losing side.

Just for the record: Bob Chatt's goal for Aston Villa against West Bromwich Albion in 1895 was the fastest FA Cup Final goal of the 19th century.

The question "What was the fastest ever goal in an FA Cup final played at Wembley?" is now redundant, as the answer is the same as for "What was the fastest ever goal in an FA Cup final?"

The moral of this story, however, is that question setters must remember that the FA Cup had been going for 50 years before Wembley Stadium was even built. If you read or hear about anything that's a record for "a Wembley final", the word "Wembley" is probably there for a reason; the record for all finals may well be held by something that happened at a ground other than Wembley. You must include the word "Wembley" in your question.

End of lecture.

© Haydn Thompson 2017