Aston Villa 1957 FA Cup Final Shirt
‘The shirt only had one job to do…and it did it. It won the FA Cup.’
This is one of the first high profile compromises for television that Aston Villa football club had to make. Back when Villa were to play Manchester United in the FA Cup final in 1957, it seems greater contrast was needed for black and white TVs, so Villa played in a one-off sky blue shirt with claret pinstripes. Less inconvenient than the constant time and date changes for televised games nowadays,
Can it get any better for a team in a one-off shirt? To beat the heavily favoured and talented Busby Babes at Wembley and then get presented the FA Cup by Queen Elizabeth II?
In what was only Villa’s second ever trip to Wembley, their 2-1 trumph against the league title winners that season came in controversial fashion, as we’ll see below.
Overall, it’s a unique design compared to other Villa shirts and it’s one that has a distinct role in Villa’s history.
Best Player to Wear the Shirt
Considering the shirt was only worn for one match, it would be hard to top the role Peter McParland played in winning Villa the FA Cup. Nevermind another Villa player in the team, the Irish international’s influence in the final, would be hard to top by any player in any FA Cup final.
First McParland’s controversial challenge that fractured the jaw of United keeper Ray Wood was pivotal to the game. Played in a time before comprehensive substitutions, the Red Devils, who started the game as hot favourites, were soon handicapped when they had to play without a proper goalkeeper. They also had to play with 10-men before Wood eventually returned to play a token gesture role out on the wing, while Jack Blanchflower took over between the sticks.
On top the controversy he caused, McParland then added to United’s woe by scoring both of Villa’s goals in the 2-1 win in front out of a crowd of 99,225.
It was a performance that would define McParland’s Villa legacy, on top of the 341 appearances and 121 goals he scored for Villa.
Best Result in the Shirt
The shirt only had one job to do…and it did it. It won the FA Cup. Job done. Judging by the 2015 FA Cup final against Arsenal, maybe Villa need to reintroduce the shirt design, the next time they make an FA Cup final.
Best Shirt Deal
Since there is next to no chance in getting the original 1950’s shirt, the Score Draw replica was one of the most welcome shirts of their initial replica range. Proper old school stuff.
The best deal at the time of writing for the 1957 shirt can be found on Fanatic’s site at £24 (normally £30).
*The shirts score is a combined tally of design, Villa’s success in it and fan’s rating