The good, the bad and the ugly of FA Cup Final programmes

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1987: Tottenham Hotspur vs Coventry City

A great cup final – underdog victor, ding-dong goal action and Gary Mabbutt’s knee – marred only by the worst programme cover of all time. 

A truly nasty piece of street sketch art that looks like it should be getting hastily knocked out for two quid alongside depictions of Bananarama and Danger Mouse and a caricature of Phil Collins in mid-eighties Leicester Square. Uck.

And that's definitely a foul: possibly a card, too. Which is fitting, as this cover also resembles the cards you get every birthday from a distant aunt. Even when you're 35.  

1987 FA Cup final programme

1991: Nottingham Forest vs Tottenham Hotspur

Happier memories for Spurs fans – but another godawful cover, with its off-cream colour, gold calligraphy and panel of pictures making it resemble a tedious out-of-print history of the Basingstoke Canal or commemorative booklet for something to do with Prince Edward.

1991 FA Cup final programme

1993: Arsenal vs Sheffield Wednesday

Aargh! My precious eyes! Ian Wright’s epilepsy-inducing shirt, the thunderous Waddler, the squashy discotheque poster font and the casually shouty yellow FA CUP|93 up the side – everything about this is upsetting and wrong.

1993 FA Cup final programme

Perhaps hoping not to cause any more optical distress, the programme for the replay was almost funereal.

2000: Aston Villa vs Chelsea

It doesn’t quite work, but brownie points for trying something different here, as the designers made the front cover resemble a yellowing, olde-worlde newspaper Sunday pictorial special.

2000 FA Cup final programme

Slightly marred by the whacking great team names in the middle and the AXA logo at the bottom, it’s still a nice-looking souvenir, albeit one costing a tenner.

2008: Cardiff City vs Portsmouth

Full disclosure: Haymarket, who also produce FourFourTwo, took over the publication of the Cup Final programme in 2006.

2008 FA Cup final programme

Nevertheless, from an entirely unbiased standpoint, this is a stunning piece of visual art, clearly produced by a talented, handsome and sexually dynamic team of geniuses. See you in the pub later.

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