1934 FA Cup Final

The 1934 FA Cup Final was won by Manchester City in a 2–1 win over Portsmouth. The match is most remembered for a young Frank Swift's heroics in goal and the predictions of City forward Fred Tilson. The match was also refereed by future FIFA president Stanley Rous, in his penultimate game as an official.

1934 FA Cup Final
Old Wembley Stadium (external view)
Event1933–34 FA Cup
Manchester City Portsmouth
2 1
Date28 April 1934
VenueWembley Stadium, London
RefereeStanley Rous

Route to the final

Both Manchester City and Portsmouth entered the competition in the third round, the entry point for First Division clubs. The third round draw saw an unusual number of contests between First Division clubs; twelve top-flight teams faced a fellow First Division club.[1] Manchester City were among this number, with a home tie against six-time cup winners Blackburn Rovers.[2] Manchester City won 3–1 in front of the largest crowd of the round. The Manchester Guardian described City's win as "notable... ...for the surprising ease with which it was gained".[3] The wing play of Eric Brook and Ernie Toseland was central to the victory.[4] Brook scored the first goal on a rebound after his shot from a free-kick was blocked. Blackburn then equalised, but Toseland scored either side of half-time to make the score 3–1.[3] City were then drawn away against Second Division Hull City. Two quick goals shortly before half-time gave Manchester City a 2–0 lead,[5] but Hull regrouped in the second half. First Jack Hill headed a goal from a corner, then, under pressure from Bill McNaughton, Bill Dale diverted a Hull cross into his own net for the equalising goal.[6] Following the 2–2 draw, the Blues resoundingly won the replay 4–1. Sheffield Wednesday were the opponents in the Fifth Round. Once again a score draw was fought out. However, Manchester City won the replay by two goals to none. The Sixth Round was a home tie with Stoke City, a match seen by 84,569 fans, which is still the record highest attendance at an English club ground. The Potters were beaten 1–0, setting up an intriguing semi-final against Aston Villa, who had knocked out the three-time champions Arsenal in the previous round. The game was played at Leeds Road in Huddersfield, and produced a big shock. The Blues won 6–1.

Portsmouth started away to Manchester United, who at the time of the match were in the relegation zone of the Second Division.[7] Following a 1–1 draw, Portsmouth won the Fratton Park replay 4–1. Under the guidance of Jack Tinn, Portsmouth managed to only concede five goals in the whole competition, two of those in the First Round. After defeating Grimsby Town and Swansea Town 2–0 and 1–0 respectively, they faced Bolton Wanderers in the quarter-finals. Bolton had scored 12 goals in three FA Cup games thus far, however they could not get a goal against Portsmouth, who won emphatically, 3–0. Leicester City were the opponents in the semi-final, held at St Andrew's, Birmingham, in front of a record crowd for the venue.[8] Portsmouth took an early lead, when a Jack Smith free kick was received by Rutherford, who set up the scoring chance for Jack Weddle.[8] 15 minutes later Weddle scored again, from a Fred Worrall cross.[8] After a flurry of chances Leicester got a goal back before half-time, but Portsmouth had the better of the second-half.[9] First Weddle completed his hat-trick, then Rutherford took advantage of poor positioning from the Leicester defence to score a fourth Portsmouth goal, to make the final score 4–1.[8]


In the days leading up to the match, Manchester City stayed in a hotel in Southport.[10] The team travelled south on the Friday, and stayed in Chingford the night before the game.[11] Before travelling, Jackie Bray and Jimmy McLuckie had one-hour fitness tests, but both were passed fit.[11] Portsmouth opted not to go to a training retreat, and remained in Portsmouth.[12]

Of the 93,000 tickets available for the final, 53,000 were standing places, and 40,000 were seats.[12] Prices ranged from 21 shillings to 2s 6d. However, in the week of the final tickets changed hands for well in excess of their face value. Standing tickets were priced at 16s, more than six times their original value. Speculators priced 5 shilling tickets at 25s, 7s 6d tickets at 29s, 10s 6d at 34s, 15s at 39s, and 21s at 45s.[13] The issue was raised in Parliament by Westhoughton MP Rhys Davies,[13] who voiced his concern that such resale was an evasion of Entertainments Duty.[14]

Catering arrangements took into account the teams involved. In the words of a Wembley official: "It is curious that when we get two Northern teams in the Final there is always an exceptional demand for meat pies. They are a Northern delicacy, but as there is a Southern team this year there should be a 50-50 demand for meat pies for Northern visitors and sandwiches from the South." 50,000 bottles of beer were also available.[12]

The London, Midland and Scottish Railway put on 65 special trains to London for the match, of which "14 or 15" were scheduled to run from Manchester.[11]


The Manchester City team contained eight players who had started the 1933 final.[15] The superstitious Portsmouth manager Jack Tinn wore white spats over his shoes, as he had done throughout the cup run.[16] The 1934 final was played in wet conditions. On 26 minutes, Jack Weddle aimed a pass over the head of Cowan to Septimus Rutherford. The winger's shot was touched by Swift, but not strongly enough to prevent a goal for Portsmouth.[10] The goalkeeper recounted his disappointment at conceding in his 1949 autobiography: "Rutherford, the Pompey outside-right, came coasting in and fired a ball across the goal to my right hand. I dived and the ball slithered through into the net off my fingers. I was desolate, and as I picked the ball out of the net, thought "Just another Wembley goalkeeper.""[17] Swift blamed the goal on his decision not to wear gloves in the wet conditions; the teenage goalkeeper had opted to imitate the choice of his opposite number, the more experienced Jock Gilfillan.[17]

With seventeen minutes to go, Jimmy Allen, Portsmouth's tall defender, temporarily left the field injured. While Manchester City had the man advantage, Busby took a throw in and played the ball to Brook. Brook played the ball through to Tilson, who put the ball across Gilfillan and into the goal.[17] There was more to come however, as, with three minutes to go, Tilson latched on to a cross from Herd, to rifle the ball home.

At the other end of the pitch, Frank knew that all his team had to do was hold on for another two minutes and they would win. A photographer behind the goal was making him more nervous by counting down the seconds on his watch. When the game ended, Frank fainted in relief. The young goalkeeper went on to captain England in the future, his goalkeeping error forgotten.

The gate receipts for the match were £24,950, a slight increase on the previous year.[18]


Matt Busby, who later achieved great successes as manager of City's rivals Manchester United, was the last surviving player on the winning side by the time of his death in January 1994, at the age of 84. Jimmy Allen, on the losing side, died a year later at the age of 85 and was believed to be the last surviving player from the game.

Frank Swift, who moved into football journalism after retiring from playing, was killed in the Munich air disaster in February 1958 along with 22 other people, including eight Manchester United players. Matt Busby was seriously injured in the crash but survived.

Match details

Manchester City2–1Portsmouth
Tilson Goal 74' Goal 88' Report Rutherford Goal 28'
Manchester City
1 England Frank Swift
2 England Laurie Barnett
3 England Bill Dale
4 Scotland Matt Busby
5 England Sam Cowan (c)
6 England Jackie Bray
7 England Ernie Toseland
8 England Bobby Marshall
9 Scotland Alec Herd
10 England Eric Brook
11 England Fred Tilson
England Wilf Wild
1 Scotland Jock Gilfillan
2 Northern Ireland Alec Mackie
3 England Billy Smith
4 Scotland Jimmy Nichol
5 England Jimmy Allen (c)
6 Scotland David Thackeray
7 England Fred Worrall
8 England Jack Smith
9 England Jack Weddle
10 Scotland Jimmy Easson
11 England Septimus Rutherford
England Jack Tinn

Match rules

  • 90 minutes.
  • 30 minutes of extra-time if necessary.
  • Replay if scores still level.

Road to Wembley

Manchester City

Round 3: Blackburn Rovers 1–3 Manchester City

Round 4: Hull City 2–2 Manchester City

Replay: Manchester City 4–1 Hull City

Round 5: Sheffield Wednesday 2–2 Manchester City

Replay: Manchester City 2–0 Sheffield Wednesday

Round 6: Manchester City 1–0 Stoke City

Semi-Final: Manchester City 6–1 Aston Villa

(at Leeds Road)


Round 3: Manchester United 1–1 Portsmouth

Replay: Portsmouth 4–1 Manchester United

Round 4: Portsmouth 2–0 Grimsby Town

Round 5: Swansea Town 0–1 Portsmouth

Round 6: Bolton Wanderers 0–3 Portsmouth

Semi-Final: Portsmouth 4–1 Leicester City

(at St Andrew's)


  1. ^ "The Cup That Calls: A Most Open Event". The Observer. 7 January 1934. p. 28.
  2. ^ "Lancashire Clubs and the FA Cup 1920–1933". The Manchester Guardian. 13 January 1934. p. 6.
  3. ^ a b "Manchester City Beat Blackburn". The Manchester Guardian. 15 January 1934. p. 3.
  4. ^ JAH Catton (14 January 1934). "Association: Great Cup Struggles". The Observer. p. 24.
  5. ^ "Other Cup-Ties". The Times. 29 January 1934. p. 5.
  6. ^ "Manchester City Draw a Great Game". The Manchester Guardian. 29 January 1934. p. 3.
  7. ^ "English Division Two (old) 1933–1934 : Table on 06.01.1934". Statto Organisation. Archived from the original on 2 March 2012. Retrieved 6 January 2012.
  8. ^ a b c d "Portsmouth Reach The Final". The Times. 19 March 1934. p. 6.
  9. ^ "Portsmouth's Win: Great Generalship of J. Smith". The Manchester Guardian. 19 March 1934. p. 3.
  10. ^ a b Maddox, Saffer and Robinson, Manchester City Cup Kings 1956, p. 16.
  11. ^ a b c "Volant" (26 April 1934). "McLuckie and Bray are Sound". Manchester Evening Chronicle. p. 1.
  12. ^ a b c "Packing Cup Final Crowd". Manchester Evening Chronicle. 25 April 1934. p. 9.
  13. ^ a b "Cup Ticket "Bulls" busy". Manchester Evening Chronicle. 26 April 1934. p. 5.
  14. ^ "ENTERTAINMENTS DUTY (FOOTBALL CUP FINAL TICKETS)". Hansard. Retrieved 22 April 2013.
  15. ^ Creighton, Manchester City: Moments to Remember, p. 40.
  16. ^ Pawson, 100 Years of the FA Cup, p. 145.
  17. ^ a b c Swift, Football From The Goalmouth, pp. 38–9.
  18. ^ Ward, The Manchester City Story, p. 33.


  • Creighton, John (1993). Manchester City: Moments to Remember (2nd ed.). Wilmslow: Sigma. ISBN 1-85058-397-8.
  • Maddox, John; Saffer, David; Robinson, Peter (1999). Manchester City Cup Kings 1956. Liverpool: Over the Moon. ISBN 1-872568-66-1.
  • Pawson, Tony (1972). 100 Years of the FA Cup. London: Heinemann. ISBN 0-330-23274-6.
  • Swift, Frank; Peskett, Roy (1949). Football From The Goalmouth. London: Sporting Handbooks.
  • Ward, Andrew (1984). The Manchester City Story. Derby: Breedon. ISBN 0-907969-05-4.

External links

1933–34 FA Cup

The 1933–34 FA Cup was the 59th season of the world's oldest football cup competition, the Football Association Challenge Cup, commonly known as the FA Cup. Manchester City won the competition for the second time, beating Portsmouth 2–1 in the final at Wembley, winning through two late goals from Fred Tilson.

Matches were scheduled to be played at the stadium of the team named first on the date specified for each round, which was always a Saturday. Some matches, however, might be rescheduled for other days if there were clashes with games for other competitions or the weather was inclement. If scores were level after 90 minutes had been played, a replay would take place at the stadium of the second-named team later the same week. If the replayed match was drawn further replays would be held until a winner was determined. If scores were level after 90 minutes had been played in a replay, a 30-minute period of extra time would be played. The 1933-34 competition was notable in that no second replays were required throughout the competition proper.

Alec Herd

Alexander Herd (8 November 1911 – 21 August 1982) was a Scottish professional footballer. Born in Bowhill, Fife, he played as a forward for Hamilton Academicals, Manchester City and Stockport County. Herd also represented Scotland in a wartime international match.

Billy Smith (English footballer, born 1906)

William Henry Smith (9 June 1906 – 1963) was an English footballer who played as a full-back in the Football League for South Shields, Portsmouth and Stockport County.Smith, who played in either full-back position, spent the majority of his career at Portsmouth, having previously played League football for South Shields. After joining Portsmouth in 1928, he made 311 League appearances, and played in the 1934 FA Cup Final side that lost to Manchester City in April 1934.After leaving Portsmouth in 1937, he joined Stockport County, where he played 36 times in four seasons (although his two appearances in 1939–40 were subsequently struck from the record as League football was abandoned due to the outbreak of World War II).Four of his six brothers were also footballers. Jack also played for South Shields and Portsmouth and the two played together in the 1934 Cup Final. Younger brother Sep played for Leicester City, and played against his brothers in the semi-final of the competition. Tom played for South Shields and later played for Manchester United and Northampton Town. Joe played reserve football for Leicester and later played for Watford.

Eric Brook

Eric Fred Brook (27 November 1907 – 29 March 1965) was an English footballer who played in the outside left position. Brook was also an England international. He was a muscular player with 'one of the fiercest shots in pre-war football' and was a good penalty taker. Brook is regarded as one of Manchester City's and England's greatest ever players. He has been described 'as a brilliant roving

forward for Manchester City and England' and 'one of the great names of British football'.

Ernie Toseland

Ernie Toseland (17 March 1905 – 19 October 1987) was an English footballer who played in the outside right position. He has been described as 'a flying winger – football's Jesse Owens'.

Frank Swift

Frank Victor Swift (26 December 1913 – 6 February 1958) was an English footballer, who played as a goalkeeper for Manchester City and England. After starting his career with local clubs near his home town of Blackpool, in 1932 he was signed by First Division Manchester City, with whom he played his entire professional career.

Swift broke into the Manchester City first team in 1933, taking part in the club's run to the 1934 FA Cup Final, where the club triumphed 2–1 against Portsmouth. Three years later Swift won a League Championship medal, after playing in every match of Manchester City's championship-winning season. War denied Swift several years of playing in his prime, though during wartime he was chosen to represent his country in international matches. After the war he made his competitive international debut, playing 19 internationals between 1946 and 1949.

Swift retired in 1949, taking up a career in journalism as a football correspondent for the News of the World. He died, aged 44, in the Munich air disaster after reporting on Manchester United's European Cup match against Red Star Belgrade.

Fratton Park

Fratton Park is a football ground in the English city of Portsmouth in the United Kingdom. Fratton Park remains as the original home of Portsmouth F.C., who were founded on 5 April 1898.

Uniquely, Fratton Park is currently the only stadium in English professional football that is not on the mainland island of Great Britain, as it is built on Portsea Island, where the city of Portsmouth is located.

Fratton Park was built in 1899 on the site of a potato field in Milton, a farming village which later became a residential district of Portsmouth as the city expanded across Portsea Island during the twentieth century.

The name Fratton Park was chosen to understate its true distance to Fratton railway station, one mile to the west of the stadium in Fratton.

Fratton Park was first opened on a public open day on Tuesday 15 August 1899. The first ever football match at Fratton Park took place on Wednesday 6 September 1899, a 2-0 friendly win against Southampton FC, attended by 4,141 supporters.Fratton Park has affectionately been nicknamed "The Old Girl" by Portsmouth supporters. The stadium has been visually branded in-house as "Fortress Fratton" in recent years.

Fred Tilson

Samuel Frederick Tilson (19 April 1904 – 21 November 1972) was an English professional footballer who played for Manchester City and England. He was born in Swinton, South Yorkshire. He was part of the City team that won both the FA Cup and the League Championship (Division 1) in the 1930s. He has been described as 'a quick thinker with an elusive body-swerve'.

History of Manchester City F.C. (1928–1965)

This page chronicles the history of Manchester City in further detail from 1928 to 1965. See Manchester City F.C. for an overview of the football club.

History of Portsmouth F.C.

Portsmouth Football Club is a professional association football club based in Portsmouth, England which was first founded in 1898. Football was first played in Portsmouth from at least the middle on the nineteenth century, having been brought to the Victorian era military town of Portsmouth by soldiers, sailors and dockers who had originated from other towns and cities in England, particularly from the north of England where the game and rules of association football were already well established. A series of part-time amateur teams and clubs were formed in Portsmouth during the latter half on the nineteenth century as football became more popular and widespread, but none were as successful as the professional Portsmouth F.C., which continues to the present day.

Jack Smith (footballer, born 1898)

John William Smith, known as Jack Smith (28 October 1898 – 19 January 1977) was an English international footballer, who played as an inside-right.

Jimmy Easson

James Ferrier Easson (3 January 1906 – 1983) was a Scottish footballer who played as an inside-forward for Portsmouth in the English Football League, helping them reach the FA Cup Final in 1934. He also made three appearances for the Scotland national team.

Joe Smith (footballer, born 1908)

Joseph Kirby Smith (11 June 1908 – 1993) was an English footballer who played as a left-back in the Football League for Watford.Smith played reserve football for Leicester City and later played for Watford, making his only Third Division South appearance in the final game of the 1930–31 season.He later played football and cricket for Bentley Engineering, captaining both teams, and played amateur football in Leicester.Four of his six brothers were also footballers. Billy and Jack both played for South Shields and played in 1934 FA Cup Final together for Portsmouth. Sep also played for Leicester City, and Tom played for South Shields and later played for Manchester United and Northampton Town.

Portsmouth F.C.

Portsmouth Football Club (listen) is an English professional association football club in Portsmouth, Hampshire, which plays in EFL League One, the third tier of English football. The club was founded on 5 April 1898 and home matches are played at Fratton Park in Milton, Portsmouth.

Portsmouth have been the top tier Football League Champions of England twice consecutively in 1949 and 1950. Portsmouth have also won the FA Cup twice in 1939 and 2008, the FA Charity Shield once in 1949 and the EFL Trophy once in 2019.Portsmouth have also won the second tier division title once in 2002–03, the third tier division title three times in 1923–24 (South), 1961–62, 1982–83 and the fourth tier division title once in 2016–17. In the early twentieth century, Portsmouth were also champions of the Southern Football League in 1901–02 and 1919–20. Portsmouth were also champions of the Western Football League in 1900–01, 1901–02 and 1902–03. These, and their more recent wins, make Portsmouth southern England’s most successful club (in terms of cups, honours and titles) outside of London.

Portsmouth have played in European competition for only one season in their history, the 2008–09 UEFA Cup (now UEFA Europa League), a result of winning the 2008 FA Cup Final. In this period, the club had international footballers including England players Glen Johnson, Jermain Defoe, Peter Crouch, David James and Sol Campbell. Between 2003 and 2010 the club spent seven consecutive seasons in the Premier League. The club's fortunes declined in 2010–13 when the club entered administration twice and were relegated three times, reaching the fourth tier (EFL League Two) and their lowest point since the 1979–80 season. The club were saved from liquidation after being bought out by the fan-owned Pompey Supporters Trust (PST). This made Portsmouth the largest fan-owned football club in England until 3 August 2017, when the PST sold it to The Tornante Company, an investment company owned by former Disney CEO Michael Eisner.During the last few months of the PST's ownership, Portsmouth were promoted to EFL League One after winning the fourth tier EFL League Two divisional championship title on 6 May 2017 in the final league game of the 2016–17 season. Portsmouth then became only the fifth English football club to win all four tiers of current English professional football (after Wolves, Burnley, Preston North End and Sheffield United). In addition, Portsmouth are also one of only two English football clubs to have been champions of five professional divisions including the former regional Football League Third Division South championship in the 1923–24 season. Wolverhampton Wanderers also share this distinction, having won all four divisions, plus a Football League Third Division North title win, coincidentally in the same 1923–24 season as Portsmouth won the respective South division. They have planned to more lighting and seating in 2019.

Sam Cowan

Samuel Cowan (10 May 1901 – 4 October 1964) was an English football player and manager. A relative latecomer to the sport, Cowan did not play football until he was 17 and was 22 by the time he turned professional. He made his league debut for Doncaster Rovers in 1923, and signed for First Division Manchester City the following season.

Cowan played centre half for Manchester City for 11 seasons, captaining the team in the early to mid-1930s. He is the only player to have represented Manchester City in three FA Cup finals, as a runner-up in 1926 and 1933, and as a winner in 1934. Internationally, he gained three England caps between 1926 and 1931. In total he played 407 times for Manchester City, putting him 12th in terms of all-time appearances. In 1935, he transferred to Bradford City, and subsequently moved to Mossley as player-manager.

In 1938, Cowan joined Brighton & Hove Albion as a coach, and set up a physiotherapy business. He returned to Manchester City as manager in 1946, winning the Second Division in his only season in charge. He continued to work in sports and physiotherapy until his death in 1964.

Stanley Rous

Sir Stanley Ford Rous, CBE (25 April 1895 – 18 July 1986) was the 6th President of FIFA, serving from 1961 to 1974. He also served as secretary of the Football Association from 1934 to 1962 and was an international referee.

Tom Smith (footballer, born 1900)

Thomas Gable Smith (18 October 1900 – 21 February 1934) was an English footballer who played as an inside-right or outside-right in the Football League for South Shields, Leicester City, Manchester United, Northampton Town and Norwich City.Smith, known as Tosher, played for Marsden Villa and Whitburn before moving to South Shields in 1919. He went on to spend four seasons at Manchester United and three at Northampton Town.Four of his six brothers were also footballers. Billy and Jack both played for South Shields and played in 1934 FA Cup Final together for Portsmouth. Sep later played for Leicester City, and Joe played reserve football for Leicester and later played for Watford.


Umbro is an English sportswear and football equipment supplier based in Cheadle, near Manchester, England. Umbro designs, sources, and markets football-related apparel, footwear, and equipment. Its products are sold in over 90 countries worldwide. Since 2012, the company has been a subsidiary of American company Iconix Brand Group.

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