It’s difficult to believe these days but 50 years ago the FA Cup final was the one match every player at an English club wanted to play in. There were stories that some players threw away their chances in the league in order to maximise their chances in the cup. Not so Wolves who fifty years ago missed out on becoming the first team in the 20th century to win the coveted double – the FA Cup and League Championship – by just one point. If Burnley had not won at Manchester City in the last game of the season Wolves would have been champions as well as FA Cup finalists.
Although they had lost their best known player Billy Wright, the England captain, to retirement, Wolves were a team of strong, hard men led by the legendary disciplinarian manager Stan Cullis. They boasted Bill Slater, who had replaced Wright as captain and centre half, Ron Flowers, an England regular who played in the 1962 World Cup finals and was a member of the the 1966 winning squad, and Peter Broadbent, who had played in the 1958 World Cup finals.
Blackburn Rovers were not as successful but they included Ronnie Clayton (35 caps for England) and Bryan Douglas who won one more.
Author Mark Metcalf spoke to the men who played in the final as well as others who made their mark as their teams perished along the way.