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1990 FA Cup semi-final memories

March 20 2007

1990 FA Cup semi-final at Villa Park

1990 FA Cup semi-final at Villa Park

Crystal Palace fans share their memories of the great 4-3 win over Liverpool in 1990 ahead of the Geoff Thomas charity match.


This was quite possibly one of my greatest games, and I've seen a few over the last 30 years! Memories of getting up at 05:30 in the morning to be at Villa Park for a midday KO, and arriving at 07:45!

Also being at one of the first turnstiles to open, only to find 300 people already in bouncing a beach ball up and down the stand. Going mad when Pembo crossed, Salako mis-kicked and Brighty smashing the ball home via McMahon's head!

Remember the lows, big nose Rush scoring, cheating scouse gits conning a penalty. Then Andy Gray's equaliser, my bruv never gave up and said we would equalise, and then to cap it all Super Al's winner. Too early I heard from the crowd, bollox was it, the winning goal is always the last to be scored, and we scored it!

I remember getting home to watch the video, only to find the tape ran out just before Pardew's winner. Still, didn't stop me getting plastered and phoning in sick the next day.

What really made me proud was listening to Bob Wilson and Ray Wilkins purring over Liverpool and stating that there was no way back for Palace because Liverpool were superior in EVERY dept, t***s! Great memories that will never be forgotten.


I remember getting in the ground early on a hot day only to find that we were covered from the sun by the roof, by the time kick off came round I was bloody cold in my t-shirt.

Once the game kicked off, I forgot about the cold, once we were 4-3 up, I remember how slow time is, just like the final when we were winning 3-2, I'm sure my watch stopped on both occassions. And the only person to say Palace would would win at half time was Malcolm Allison, give that man a cigar (legend).


Sunday 8th April 1990. The Best football day of my life... The fact that we had lost 9-0 and 2-0 to the scoucers that season didnt stop me believing that we could win. Some of my mates laughed, but I just had the feeling that something amazing might happen.

Having to get up at 5am for a midday kick-off still didnt stop the thousands of Palace arriving at Villa Park. Colours everywhere, balloons, singing.. The first half was a and wine I am affraid! I was still ten deep in the queue for a burger at half-time when Bright scored... the front nine went off to see Bright celebrate, leaving me to enjoy my food!!

The best moment in the game came when we were 3-2 down and the Liverpool fans started singing "Walk on.. "alk on....". Step up Gray.... how good was that!!

The Pardew goal was unbelievable, and will always be a god as far as I am concerned. The celebrations afterwards was superb. On the train on the way home was incredible, dead silence!!..... disbelief that we had won. The memory still lives on... I am sitting here looking at my limited edition print of Pardew making a mug of Hanson... enough said!


From the journey, to arriving at the ground to seeing stupid Brummies living near the ground shouting 9-0 to any Palace fan they saw, what a day.

Liverpool fans singing 9-0 - Palace fans retorting with "there's only one Mickey Thomas" after he had stolen the league from them for Arsenal the previous season. The goals flying in through the second half after being 1 down at half-time to the final whistle.

My memory.... at full-time whilst everyone is going mental and jumping around, I noticed a little old man with a walking stick, struggling to stand up but trying to wave it around in acknowledgement of the players' triumph and trying to create a bit of space around him so he didn't get knocked over. Brilliant day!!!


On the train going up to Birmingham, I was sitting near a father with his son. As we passed Wembley, he pointed and said to his son, "that's where we'll be playing next month".

My expression must have been sceptical, as he asked me why I was going to the match if I didnít think we were going to win. I thought that was very harsh, I thought we were likely to lose, but wanted to be there on the off chance that we upset the odds. After all, we were facing the best team in the country.

When Andy Gray equalised, I couldn't believe it. I paused before going crazy with the other Palace fans to make absolutely sure that the referee had allowed the goal. The thing running through my mind at the time was that it couldnít be happening Ė Palace donít get late equalisers.

Extra-time seemed to last forever, but my abiding memory of the whole day is this: Pardew had just headed in the winner and everyone around me was jumping around, but I couldnít. I was so exhausted from all the cheering, shouting, singing, the sheer emotion of it all that I could hardly breathe.

An elderly gentleman put his hand on my arm and asked whether I was okay. I was 17 at the time! I told him I was fine, I was over the moon. An incredible day.

Barcelona Based Fan

I did have a claim to fame on this memerable day for it was I bought thousands of Red and blue ballons although some others try and claim the same!

I went mental when every goal went in the 1st, 2nd and the 3rd well, what a difference in the noise levels of the cheer coming from the Holt end when Gray's equaliser went in in comparison with supa Al's winner. That roar from us when Gray's header goes in makes my skin get goose bumbs every time!

I just love watching it again and again, even watching the old looking steward at the front to the right of the goal seeing him going mad after the goal makes me smile because every single Palace fan who went to Villa Park loves the club as when you think of it we never really stood a chance!!

I'm sure that is probably one of the best days of their lives as it is mine! Not to forget the Liverpool fans gave us an ovation after the final whistle shook hands after on the way back to the mini bus.


My most enduring memory is standing on the Holt end, just in front of where the steps went down to the bars etc, and people were still coming back up after half-time with their refreshments. Pembo made his run, the cross, the goal, and a guy with five cups of tea threw his tray in the air to celebrate it! I got the lot all over me, but it still couldn't stop me enjoying it all.

Oh and the other one - the Palace chants of "We speak English over here" every time the Scousers in the other half started a song. I was hoarse until Wednesday.


Like others, I also had been to the home and away game. 9-0 and 2-0. So to be playing Liverpool again, I don't think many of us thought we could do it. of course we all secretly hoped.

The 1st half we sort of coped, 1-0 down we had a chance but we hadn't really done much and I think the Liverpool players were confident, too confident.

And then the 2nd half, kicking towards where we were standing, explosive, emotional, exciting, everything a cup game should be. From 1-1, O'Reilly 2-1, 2-2, then 3-2, minutes to go and all the Liverpool singing, next to us at the Holte end and Andy Gray equaliser, the Palace erupted and the scousers looked sick, we also hit the bar before the end of full-time.

The extra time and Super Al's goal was superb but we were waiting for that whistle, which eventually came. A superb day out and what makes you support a team for ever, a real result from under dogs who wanted it more than the 'big boys'.


The last 11 minutes will always seem like the longest 11 minutes ever, hoping that we would hang on. The Liverpool supporters seemed to disappear pretty quickly after the game, while the Holte Road end and the part of the stand to the left that we had stayed packed for ages afterwards.

The coach journey back always seemed more memorable than the game, wanting Oldham to beat Manchester United, so we could get the extra 6,000 tickets for the final, and going nuts when Oldham scored.

I also remember that the coach I was in kept passing and then getting overtaken by a coach full of women who seemed to be totally baffled by a coach full of Palace supporters going absolutely nuts. Every time we passed their coach or they passed us they kept waving at us, which resulted in more and more Palace scarves appearing at the window, us going even wilder. Totally surreal.

1990 FA Cup semi-final photos

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