Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

My Dream of a Lifetime Ends in Tears; Fa Cup Final 2001

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

My Dream of a Lifetime Ends in Tears; Fa Cup Final 2001

Article excerpt


Radio presenter Mark Bright played in the 1990 and 1993 FA Cup Finals and collected a runners-up medal both times. He can recall clearly the pain of defeat

WHEN I played for Sheffield Wednesday against Arsenal in 1993 we were the definite underdogs and we'd already lost to them at Wembley in the Coca-Cola Cup Final. But when I played in the FA Cup Final with Crystal Palace three years earlier we thought it was our destiny to win, despite the fact that we were playing Manchester United.

So losing the first time was probably worse. We thought "our name was on the FA Cup", as they say because we beat Liverpool in the semi-final. It was the one time in my career when what happened was against all the odds. They were on for the Double and had beaten us 9-0 in the League that season, so everyone thought we were going to get hammered.

Everyone was expecting the Final to be a big glamour tie between Liverpool and Manchester United. It was the first live Cup semi-final on television, watched by millions - and we won. I scored one of the goals and that was a fantastic moment. We thought then that it was meant to be. We believed it.

At Wembley, the second half was the best in years, and I don't say that just because I was in it. Ian Wright had broken his leg twice earlier in the season and Steve Coppell hadn't dared risk him in the starting line-up. But he came off the bench and scored twice. So there we were, leading with minutes to go.

I was 29 and I was thinking this was it, this was all my dreams about to be realised.

You think of all the years of work and you think you're about to win something at last, at Wembley, too. You're asking: "How long, ref, how long?"

and he tells you: "About 10, Mark, about 10." You just don't know what to do.

You just want the game to end. Then Mark Hughes scored.

When it went to the replay I still believed we could do it. But, in reality, I had always thought that the best chance for an underdog is to do it on the day and I couldn't help wondering if our chance had passed.

In the back of your mind you've got doubts because we were winning that game on Saturday and we should have won. …

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