This is Mark Bowen’s number 11 shirt from the FA Cup Semi-Final game at Hillsborough against Sunderland.
Mark was the captain on the day and this was one of his 399 appearances for Norwich.
The shirt features the one-off “FA Cup Semi-Final 1991-92” match embroidery as well as the Football League badges on the sleeve.
Mark was an absolutely brilliant player for Norwich and one of my favourites.
After the disappointment of the 1989 Everton FA Cup semi-final and losing a home quarter-final to Nottingham Forest in 1991, it really was supposed to be so different in 1992.
It had been a good run to get to the FA Cup semi-final. Home ties against Barnsley (1-0), Millwall (2-1) and Notts County (3-0) had got the Canaries through to the quarter-final.
A 0-0 draw at Southampton was followed by a very dramatic 2-1 extra-time win under the lights at Carrow Road in the replay. The Saints having Matt Le Tissier and Barry Horne sent off. The win came at a cost. Robert Fleck was subbed off with 2 broken ribs after some horrible Southampton challenges.
I went to both Southampton games. The match at the Dell was pretty dull but the replay was absolute fireworks. I was in the Barclay end. I can still close my eyes and see Chris Sutton’s looping header dropping into the Saints net for the winner.
Sunderland in the Semi
A semi against Sunderland seemed to offer the best possible draw as we avoided meeting Liverpool who drew Portsmouth in the other tie. Sunderland were a mid-table, 2nd tier side. We were an established 1st division side. We had a really good team. In fact, many of the starting XI would go to be part of the team that finished 3rd in the Premier League in 1992/93.
We really should have reached our first ever FA Cup Final.
On the day, it just wasn’t to be. John Byrne’s headed goal on 33 minutes was enough to give Sunderland a 1-0 win. We had good chances before and after he scored but just didn’t take them.
I went to Hillsborough with some friends. We drove up to Sheffield with enough time to watch Liverpool and Portsmouth draw in the first semi at a pub close to the ground. After Norwich had lost, we hung around for a while to let the traffic clear then headed in Sheffield for a curry before the drive back home.
It was disappointing to lose but because we were regularly doing well in cup competitions, it felt like we would get another opportunity to reach a cup final very soon.
Little did I realize, I would still be waiting more than 30 years on.