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Up for the Cup

Ian MacDonald's labour of love in piecing together 
the memories and moments of a glorious day in May for 
thousands of Evertonians who watched Dixie Dean 
lift the FA Cup in 1933.



The soccer magazine FourFourTwo recently asked Ian MacDonald to find a fan who was at Trafalgar Square 70 years ago celebrating Everton's great win over Manchester City in the 1933 FA Cup Final.  After numerous phone calls, he found a few fans who could piece together parts of that memorable weekend.  The following picture was painted by these elder statesman of the Evertonian variety. 


This was an era when there were no motorways or diesel / electric trains: it was all sown to steam.  So fpor fans of the two teams from Lancashire who contested this final, Everton and Manchester City, it was quite a trek to the Twin Towers.  

In those days, to get to London by charabanc (coach) you had to leave on Friday night.  The famous London Midland and Scottish  (LMS) railway laid on over 40 trains from the two Northern cities  quite a feat in the age of steam trains.

When the two hordes met at Euston Station, an amazing din of noise was created with fans wielding wooden rattles, banjos, ukeles, combs and paper, mouth-organs and whistles to accompany the songs of their heroes. All in a great atmosphere, it was a time for all there gathered to forget the great economic depression of the early 1930s.  Those fans left at home listened intently to the final on their crackling radios (wireless sets) for there was no TV either.  

The game was won 3-0 by Everton and the idol of the time now a legend, 'Dixie' Dean scored one of them, of course.  The final was also noted for another reason: it was the first time numbers where worn by the players.  Everton were numbered 1-11 but City bizarrely wore 12-22 and there was no substitutes then, either!  What a fitting tribute for Dixie to thus become the first Number 9, the greatest centre forward of all time. 

After the game, Trafalgar Square was the place to celebrate cup final wins and the Evertonians did not disappoint.   Everyone was invited to the Scouse party, even the Pearly Kings and Queens with many a Bobby losing his hat to a jubilant Everton fan.  Blue and white was the order of the day; City fans also magnanimous in defeat to the better side who had carried off the spoils.  

Many fans did not get back home until the following Monday, where they greeted their hero's at Lime Street Station.  And what a reception they got, with scenes never before experienced in the city centre.  It was a long 27 years since the first time the cup had come back to Merseyside, and over 150,000 fans thronged the streets, cheering their parading team who where carried along like conquering Romans on the same horse-drawn carriage previously used by the 1906 Cup-winning Everton side. 

It was not until the following weekend that those fans who had been unable to make it to Wembley could see highlights of the game on the Path newsreel in cinemas around the country.  How times have changed in that respect with instant replays from every angle in our own living rooms. I sometimes feel the rawness of the game is now lost with the constant dissection. 

Ian MacDonald 
Everton Independent Blues.


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