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Doing a minute-by-minute review is an art perfected by the Guardian, but don’t let that put you off this homage. The 1985 milk cup final was, until this year, the last time a team had won a trophy and been relegated in the same season. It was our last piece of silverware until Messrs Worthington, Huckerby, Fleming and co stepped up nearly 20 years later, and here it is in all its glory. Now you can relive the action from the comfort of your office chair. The following minute by minute report serves no purpose, took me far too long to do and has given me a great respect for those journalists who do it live. Whether you were there and remember it, or like me are too young for this piece of history, I hope you enjoy.


Norwich: Woods, Haylock, Watson, Bruce, van Wijk, Mendham, Donowa, Hartford, Barham, Channon, Deehan.

Sunderland: Tuner, Venison, Pickering, Bennett, Chisholm, Corner, Daniel, Berry, Walker, Hodgson, Wallace.

For those of you who love to see it, here’s how Norwich made it to the final.

And we’re off!

1 – Sunderland kick off going from left to right and immediately fashion a chance! Working the ball from midfield, Chisholm passes to Hodgson who lets fly a piledriver from 30 yards, clearing Chris Woods and the bar. But it wasn’t far off. On the bench, Frank Burrows is sporting a flat cap and a magnificent moustache.

3 – BACKPASS! Oh that shits legal isn’t it. Chris Turner scoops up the ball with Deehan prowling. Chris Turner would go on to have an illustrious managerial career, a sort of reverse midas, where every team he managed went crap.

4 – Moustache watch: that’s 2 now. Some good approach play by Norwich finds the ball out wide with van Wijk, but his cross ends up in Turners hands. I can’t be sure, but I think the Norwich assistant, Mel Machin?, is smoking on the bench.

5 – A Norwich freekick from deep finds the head of Bruce in the area, but his header across the box only draws a foul and he walks his butch, school dinner lady face back to the Norwich half.

6 – Bruce again involved as he steps out of defence like a 1980’s Gerard Pique, before going in a bit heavy on the fantastically mulletted Barry Venison. The resulting freekick puts Ian Wallace though, put he was flagged for being ginger (or offside).

7 – Hartford gets in on the action by ploughing into Hodgson who’s snarling face resembles Jim from Coronation Street so it does.

9 – The game has started a bit scrappily but in the middle of all this there have been some impressive passing patterns and movement from both sides. The latest released Donowa on the right and his pinpoint cross found Mark Barham who headed just over the bar. The best chance so far for Norwich. Great work from Menham in the buildup. The first strains of On The Ball City can be heard, surprisingly with some tune.

14 – Not much happened for a while. I am mesmerised by that hairpiece on Venison. The ball is dotting around the middle third a lot, with both defences quick to pick up on throughballs.

18 – Greg Downes is shown on the bench looking unimpressed. I went to school with his son y’know.

19 – Some good play down the Sunderland right sets off Venison but Bruce steps out twice to cut off the danger. Already an impressive game from the man who looks like Sloth from the Goonies.

20 – Some great passing by Barham ended up on the right wing with Donowa, who puts a ball into the box. This cross finds its way to Deehan who’s stooping header arches over the bar. Another well worked chance from Norwich but a poor touch at the finish. Moments later Barham finds himself in space 25 yards out but he blasts it over.

24 – The game again breaks out into scrappy battles in the middle of the park as players on both sides contemplate the futility of existence.

26 – Hartford finds himself on the left wing and gets himself a nose bleed. Steve Bruce ends up with the ball 30 yards out and rifles a shot straight at Turner. Sunderland yet to offer an attack of note, and Norwich continue to press forward, earning a corner.

27 – It comes to nothing.

28 – A throw in finds the fleet feet of Steve Bruce who weaves his way towards the Sunderland box before sliding it through to Channon who plays in Barham who is just beaten to the ball by the goalkeeper. The ball pings out to the feet of…someone, but Donovan Blake is so shit I can’t tell who it is. Sunderland try to break but the ball ends up with Norwich who again push forward as Channon finds himself in space, only to shoot at the keeper. Again it’s all Norwich who could easily be ahead by now.

29 – Bizarrely, Turner kicks the ball out so Barham can receive treatment, then Norwich just carry on with the game without giving the ball back. Not very sporting. In other news, Steve Bruce goes on another run.

31 – Sunderland have a rare opportunity in the Norwich third after Walker wins a corner. The resulting scramble sees Norwich clear the ball and break down the pitch with Barham but he runs himself into a blind alley and it all comes to nothing. Dave Watson runs back contemplating the meaning of life.

34 – Barham continues to struggle, limping under the weight of his magnificent moustache.

35 – Little known fact: Maradona’s goal in the 1986 world cup was modelled on Steve Bruce.

39 – The game ebbs around the halfway line again. On the bench, Ken Brown can be seen deeply engrossed in The Female Eunuch. He is stirred from his literary interlude as a rare Sunderland attack results in a corner. The ball is floated across everyone but picks up a deflected, causing another. Then another. What is nice to see about this Sunderland team is that their tactics haven’t changed in 26 years, resulting on set pieces to be threatening. Given the silky skills that Steve Bruce has shown in this game, I find that a bit surprising.

42 – Now this is controversial. A Sunderland ball over the top catches the Norwich defence high and van Wijk can only head it into the path of Clive Walker. Walker races in on goal and van Wijk is ajudged to have pulled him back just outside the box. In the modern day, he’s off, denying a clear goalscoring opportunity.

44 – So Sunderland have a freekick 20 yards or so from goal. An eager Haylock races towards the ball a la Zaire 1974, and is reprimanded by the ref. The resulting freekick is lashed in, but over the bar.

45 – Peep, peeeeeeeeeeep. It’s half time, and it’s Norwich 0 – 0 Sunderland. Norwich will be wondering how they’re not 1 up with Donowa, Barham and Bruce particular highlights. I WONDER HOW THIS ENDS.

Half Time Entertainment

46 – Norwich kick off.

47 – GOAL!!!! And it’s no more than Norwich deserve. They’ve come out of the blocks quickly this second half. A ball from Steve Bruce’s cultured right foot is played towards the corner and David Corner is mugged by John Deehan who races down the byline. He plays the ball into Channon who’s touch is deflected back to Hartford, and his sidefoot is deflected into the near post by Chisholm. Asa Hartford puts Norwich ahead and the fans are going bananas. You beauty, you ABSOLUTE beauty.

48 – Wembley sounds like it’s full of 80,000 canaries now. Norwich go forward again as Barham puts a shot over the bar. The task is on for City now, as they work to defend a lead and keep Sunderland busy at the back, but it’s tough to imagine Bruce being beaten today.

50 – Chaos and calamity for van Wijk! A good move down the Sunderland right ends at the feet of Barry Venison who sidesteps the Dutchman only for him to stupidly use his hands inside the box. It’s all go at the start of the second half! Sunderland have a penalty and they have a chance to pull Norwich back almost immediately.

51 – van Wijk looks like he’s calculating the cost of a ferry back to Holland right now.

52 – Walker smacks the post! Absolute relief for van Wijk as Walker belts the ball down and to Woods’ left, but it’s heartbreak for Sunderland as it smacks the post and goes out for a goal kick. An incredibly lively start to the 2nd half.

54 – The imperious Bruce gets in the way of a now resurgent Sunderland and sets off Donowa, but he can only run the ball out of play.

56 – Berry clobbers Hartford and Norwich have a freekick wide left. The ball pings around the area and Sunderland remain unconvincing at the back, but they survive. FOR NOW.

59 – A rousing chorus of ‘one-nil, one-nil, one-nil’ goes up from the observant Norwich fans.

60 – WE HAVE A MENTION OF MIGHTY LEEDS UNITED. They were famous once.

61 – Either the Norwich or Sunderland fans are singing ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’. Given that Norwich fans have been the most vocal today, I can only assume it’s them, but I’ve absolutely no idea why. Any reason? This is followed by On The Ball City, a much more moderate and tuneful version than what we currently have.

62 – All this terrace talk is a sign that the action on the pitch has slowed down since the racing start to the 2nd half. Norwich continue to be the more threatening team and Sunderland look out of ideas.

63 – As if to prove their dominance, Norwich start a game of heads and volleys in the centre circle. Again, amazingly, Bruce ends up as the furthest forward Norwich player. I’ve no idea how he does it.

64 – A freekick for Sunderland finds a head in the box but it goes over. They look completely inept in the final third, an accurate sign of the future under Bruce. Howard Gayle comes on for the Black Cats in place of David Corner, the ginger liability who was mugged for the goal.

65 – Donowa is scythed down by Pickering, and Mendham takes the freekick. Nothing comes of it, but Norwich will be happy to keep possession and pin Sunderland back.

67 – Gayle is then scythed down by Channon. In the modern game, we’d have just seen two yellow cards and possible a stretcher.

69 – The most interesting thing about this match is the clear evolution of total football, Norwich taking the best bits from the dutch maestros and moulding them into a free flowing attacking unit. With the influence of van Wijk this is easy to understand, and it’s clear to see where Ajax got their principles as they developed the legendary class of 95.

70 – Dave Watson hits a long ball.

71 – A dangerous ball from Sunderland across the box evades everyone but they retain possession. Another ball comes in, this time from the left, but Norwich deal with it well. Their ease with the ball is helping them see out this game. And as I write that, some quick passing from Hartford and Channon sets off Barham who scampers forward, only to put it wide. He should’ve hit the target but Norwich continue to threaten.

74 – Donowa breaks down the right and a brave header by Deehan is deflected wide for a corner. More great attacking play from Norwich and it’s hard to see Sunderland getting back into this at all. The resulting corner is placed right on the six yard line and Bruce races in, only to put the ball over the bar. The goal was gagging for it then.


77 – Sunderland are trying to step up the pace now but it can’t mask their lack of ideas in the final third. Plenty of balls down the flanks but with their wingers seemingly having 50p pieces strapped to their boots, the final balls are flying all over the place.

78 – Again, You’ll Never Walk Alone rings out.

81 – Norwich continue to dominate and the fans are winning the battle in the stands. Constant noise from the Yellow Army as another Norwich move works its way forward. Haylock finally gets a shot away but its straight at Turner.

82 – Gayle threads through Pickering but it’s just too far. That’s only the 2nd time all match that they’ve actually got behind the excellent Norwich backline.

83 – Gayle again involved as he threads through Venison, but van Wijk puts enough pressure on the mulletted mackem to see him spoon his cross behind.

84 – Bennett lashes a shot in but it’s straight at woods. Started from good work by Pickering and a touch from Gayle who has been excellent since coming on, but it’s all too late for Sunderland.

85 – Norwich race down the other end and a delightful cross from Deehan is met by an even more delightful scissor-kick volley from Barham which creeps over the bar. An absolutely magnificent attempt and Barham has had a tremendous game.

86 – Sunderland fully into panic mode as they throw everyone forward but aren’t making a great deal of it. They win a corner, but it’s a poor delivery and Norwich break through Donowa who is stopped, illegally according to the ref, on the edge of the Sunderland box. They’ll bleed out some time here.

88 – Bruce takes the freekick but he lashes it into the wall. That’ll hurt. He’s got a foot like a traction engine.

89 – Again Sunderland come forward but its too little too late as rash decisions see them lose the ball all too quickly. Venison breaks forward but sells Gayle short and Norwich again break. How this game has remained 1-0 is anyone’s guess.

90 – The crowd can feel its close and whistles are ringing round Wembley. Norwich continue to do a superb Gandalf, YOU SHALL NOT PASS impression with Watson and Bruce absolutely superb.

91 – THAT’S IT! NORWICH HAVE WON! Who would’ve seen that coming?! They dominated Sunderland for 90 minutes and deservedly go up the famous steps to lift the Cup, presented to them by Sir Stanley Rous who looks incredibly like Ian Paisley.

Steve ‘Johann Cruyff’ Bruce picks up Man of the Match with a brilliant display; imperious at the back, great with the ball at his feet and a threat going forward. Norwich celebrate with the cup in front of the travelling army who were treated to a performance of the highest quality. The defending was sublime, the passing was inch perfect and every man played his part. A special game.