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Royle backs Wenger's boys

PUBLISHED: 20:00 16 May 2003 | UPDATED: 13:52 03 March 2010

JOE Royle's proud record will remain intact, regardless of who wins tomorrow's FA Cup final.

The Ipswich boss was in charge of Everton when they beat firm favourites Manchester United at Wembley in 1995.

JOE Royle's proud record will remain intact, regardless of who wins tomorrow's FA Cup final.

The Ipswich boss was in charge of Everton when they beat firm favourites Manchester United at Wembley in 1995.

And since then no English manager has managed to get to grips with either of the two main domestic trophies.

"It's been Frenchmen or Scots ever since," laughed Royle. "That won't change no matter who wins in Cardiff tomorrow!"

Royle tips Arsene Wenger's team as the likely winners, ruling out the possibility of Southampton emulating the feat of his Everton side eight years ago.

He said: "I can't see Arsenal not scoring and the 6-1 trouncing they handed out in the league recently won't have done Southampton's confidence any good.

"This is the FA Cup final and history tells us the underdogs don't always come second. Gordon (Strachan) will be telling his players this is a totally different issue.

"Their current side is as potent as any Arsenal side I can remember, but even with their strongest defence – which they won't have tomorrow – they are nowhere near as water-tight as Arsenal sides of old.

"Leeds had to score three goals at Highbury recently to beat Arsenal and I can't see the Gunners not scoring. All things considered, it's Arsenal for me."

Royle still has happy memories of the 1995 final, when his team were written off as no-hopers but defied the odds to win thanks to Paul Rideout's only goal.

He recalled: "We had won our Waterloo, as it were, by staying up. We had eight points from 14 games when I took charge, so surviving in the Premiership with 50 points was the biggest feat of all.

"As a result, we were totally relaxed and I remember saying to the players about two days before the final 'You know, winning the FA Cup wouldn't be a bad way to finish the season'.

"There was a surge of positive energy around us. We were better than people thought we were, which we proved the following season when we finished sixth."


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