Allen on cup anniversary

The FA Cup third-round tie this Sunday with Arsenal has evoked memories of the last time the FA Cup was brought back to the Boleyn Ground.

One of the heroes of that famous triumph - a 1-0 final success against the Gunners on 10 May 1980 - was Paul Allen. The midfielder was just 17 when he took to the Wembley turf and very nearly capped a day to remember with a late second. Only a desperate foul by Willie Young prevented him a clear scoring chance. Allen though was delighted just to become a winner with West Ham.

Back at the Boleyn Ground to help mark the opening of the John Lyall Gates, Allen recalled to WHUTV that his manager back then was deliberately low-key when preparing his young charge for the final.

"He really didn't say too much," he said. "I was nervous and had a lot of trepidation before the game. In the papers on the Thursday it said that John was going to play me, I was going to be the youngest player to play in a cup final. I arrived at Chadwell Heath and he said nothing to me. Then I started to have a little bit of worry.

"He said to me to be myself, play my normal game and I had good experienced players around me that will see me through. That was all he said. He had faith in me, knew I was a pretty sensible. It was just words of encouragement and nothing else. That was probably a good thing. I don't think you have any fear at 17 but you don't want to over-analyse it going into a big game like that. "