FA Cup Final 2012 to have evening kick-off time



By Adam Higgins
Chief Football Editor



The first FA Cup final with Budweiser will kick-off at 5:15pm from Wembley Stadium on 5th May 2012


This season’s FA Cup final between Chelsea and Liverpool will kick-off at 5.15pm on Saturday 5 May, the Football Association has confirmed.

It will be the first FA Cup Final under floodlights at Wembley Stadium in almost 20 years – the last being Arsenal’s replay win over Sheffield Wednesday in 1993 when a last-minute header from Andy Linighan in extra-time sealed a 2-1 victory for the Gunners. This campaign is the first that American lager company Budweiser have been the official sponsor of the competition since the contract with energy firm EON ended at the end of last season.

This year’s final is the competition’s 131st but the first time that Chelsea and Liverpool will have met in the Wembley showpiece despite sharing a massive 43 FA Cup semi-final appearances between them.

The FA Cup final has usually been a traditional 3pm kick-off on a Saturday afternoon but has tended to clash with the Premier League fixture schedule. Just down the road from the national stadium, the Emirates will host Arsenal's match with Norwich City at 12:45pm on the same day as the final showpiece- the only Premier League match to take place on that day with the rest being held on the Sunday.

Liverpool will be aiming for their second domestic trophy on Wembley soil this season having won the League Cup on penalties against Cardiff City earlier in the year.

Until this year, the Anfield giants hadn’t appeared at Wembley at all since it re-opened for business in 2007, but they were a regular staple under the old Twin Towers. The Reds have seven FA Cup triumphs to their name, the first came under the great Bill Shankly in 1965, while Rafa Benitez was the last Liverpool manager to bring the trophy back to Merseyside, beating West Ham United on penalties at the Millennium Stadium six years ago.

The new Wembley Stadium has been something of a home-from-home for Chelsea with next month’s final their fourth under the arch.

The Stamford Bridge side were the first club to win The FA Cup at the new stadium when Didier Drogba scored an extra-time winner against Manchester United in 2007.

Both Guus Hiddink and Carlo Ancelotti would go on and echo Jose Mourinho’s FA Cup winning Blues, clinching back-to-back trophies in 2009 and 2010 respectively while current Chelsea boss, Roberto Di Matteo, once held the record for the quickest goal scored in an FA Cup Final. The Italian found the net inside 42 seconds to send Chelsea on their way to a 2-0 win over Middlesbrough in 1997.

Ironically, that record was broken by then Everton striker, Louis Saha, who scored within 25 seconds at the 2009 FA Cup final against Chelsea.

This season’s FA Cup Final will be Kenny Dalglish’s fourth as Liverpool manager, with two wins and a defeat on his record. The Reds legend led Liverpool to victory over Everton in both the 1986 and 1989 Finals but saw his side fall to a famous 1-0 loss to Wimbledon in 1988. 


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