At the time I weighed about twenty-two-and-a-half-stone, and I knew I must have hurt him, but when I saw his face I got about the worst shock I ever have had on a football field. He looked as if he was dead. I picked him up in my arms as tenderly as a baby, and all I could say was ‘Oh dear! Oh dear!’”
I bent forward to protect myself, and Allan, striking my shoulder, flew right over me and fell heavily. He had a shaking up, I admit, but quite the worst thing about the whole business was that the referee (Mr Thomas, who had refused to abandon the game against Villa a couple of years before) gave a penalty against us and it cost Sheffield United the match”
United won the toss up but the predictions of an easy United victory were quickly cast into doubt. In the first fifteen minutes Derby forced a succession of corners and when one of these fell to England centre forward Steve Bloomer he whipped in a cross which caught out the United defence and John Boag put the Rams one up after 12 minutes. Indeed, United were actually on the back foot for much of the first half and they went into the changing room trailing by one goal and a little downhearted. Director Tom Bott remembered how
Ran, san, tiddly-ann, come and have a round with me;
Come and have a round or two, I don’t care what you do,
But I say, clear the way, for the rowdy dowdy boys”
The match was also a damp squib as far as United were concerned. Spurs kept up the pace of their passing and Clawley didn’t have a save to make until 25 minutes were up whilst Foulke was kept busy. Even so, five minutes before the break, United snatched the lead when Needham started a quick move by knocking the ball out wide to Bert Lipsham who zipped his cross in first time to find Fred Priest who stabbed it home. Sadly, in the second half, United collapsed and Tottenham scored three goals, dominating the play in doing so. The Times commenting that “the match on Saturday did honour to both teams. It was the best football seen in the final tie for some time”.
Then there appeared in front of me a naked giant-one William Foulke, the Sheffield goalkeeper, who stood all six feet two inches and pulled down the scale at twenty stones. If ever man deserved the name of The Mountain he did. Foulke was good tempered and sought to quell the storm by humour. So he put himself in fighting position and said: "Come on, lad. You're just about my weight" - and I was a miserable five feet and under eleven stones. I could have laughed, but Boyle's brow was menacing.
The situation was far from pleasant, but Ernest Needham opened the door of his cubicle and pulled me inside. "Nudger" Needham surprised me by saying that I had left the Press Box and never saw the goal. I explained, and my peril passed. There is no doubt that I was mistaken-but two of the officials were the same”