posted on May, 22 2004 @ 07:56 AM
Manchester United take
on First Division Millwall in the 123rd FA Cup final, seeking to climax a less than vintage season with at least one piece of silverware. By reaching
the final for the first time in five years, the Red Devils equal Arsenal's record 16 appearances. They now wish to extend their own record by lifting
the trophy for the 11th time.
The Red Devils can finish what has been a disappointing season on a high with victory in Saturday's showpiece at The Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.
However, Millwall making their first-ever final appearance will be bidding to become the first non top-flight side since West Ham in 1980 to win the
competition. United are back in the final after a five-year absence having beaten Newcastle United 2-0 at Wembley in 1999.
Manchester United skipper Roy Keane is fit to lead his side after he recovered from a hamstring injury. Darren Fletcher or Phil Neville will make way,
while Tim Howard gets the nod ahead of Roy Carroll in goal and Louis Saha is Cup-tied. Millwall player-manager Dennis Wise remains doubtful despite
specialist treatment on an injured leg muscle. The Lions are missing striker Danny Dichio, skipper Kevin Muscat (knee ligaments) and Andy Roberts
Sir Alex Ferguson is the most successful manager in FA Cup history, winning four times (1990, 1994, 1996, 1999). He will be leading out the team for
the sixth time, United having also been runners-up to Everton (1-0) in 1995. Under the 63 year Scot, United have also won the Champions League once,
the Premiership title eight times, the Cup Winners Cup, the League Cup, the Super Cup and the Inter-Continental Cup.Millwall are appearing in the
final of the world's oldest football competition for the first time in their 109-year history, having been unsuccessful semi-finalists on three
previous occasions (1899/1900, 1902/03 and 1936/37). They're the 54th different club to appear in the final, and could become the 43rd 'new' club to
win it and first since the Wimbledon side of 1988, which included Dennis Wise and eclipsed Liverpool.
United have only won one of their three previous visits to Cardiff and Millwall, already qualified for next season's Uefa Cup, will be hoping to upset
the odds and cause one of the greatest FA Cup shocks in history.