One of the more unusual matches we’ve been involved in. The FA used to put on a game the evening before the FA Cup Final which was usually an England v Young England exhibition game. This was scrapped in favour of a World Cup style Third Place Playoff in 1970 so as the losing semi-finalists ourselves and Manchester United played the first ever match to decide third place in front of a crowd of 15,105 at Highbury.
The third placed side were awarded with tankards. Bobby Charlton and Alex Stepney are the only players ever to collect an FA Cup winners medal, a losers medal and a third placed tankard.
The 1971 game in which Stoke City beat Everton 3-2 at Selhurst Park only attracted a crowd of 5,031 although the teams involved and choice of ground probably didn’t help. The idea was revised and future games were at the home of one of the teams involved, bizarrely after the final had actually been played. The 1972 and 1973 games were held at the beginning of the following season in August. Birmingham became the first side ever to win an FA Cup match on penalties when they beat Stoke 4-3 after a 0-0 draw at St.Andrews in 1972. The following year Wolves won 3-1 at Arsenal. The game was scrapped after the 1974 playoff in which Burnley beat Leicester 1-0 at Filbert Street in front of 6,458 five days after Liverpool had beaten Newcastle at Wembley in the final.
Taken from the programme on 5th January 2002- FA Cup Third Round, Watford 2 Arsenal 4