As Manchester United travel to the seaside on Tuesday night for the first time since 1974, younger fans may regard Blackpool as a newcomer to top flight football but that was not always the case. It was one of England’s leading clubs after the war with legends like Sir Stanley Matthews and Stan Mortensen striking fear in everyone they faced. Their 1948 FA Cup final meeting with Manchester United was described at the time as “one of the greatest cup finals in history”. United had reached Wembley via a seemingly impossible route that saw them face first division opposition in every round. After beating Aston Villa 6-4 in round 3 they had to face league champions Liverpool who were beaten 3-0. That was followed by a 2-0 victory over Charlton then a 4-2 win against Preston. Centre forward Stan Pearson scored a hat-trick in the 3-1 semi final defeat of Derby at Hillsborough before facing Blackpool in the final.