While league form fell apart under Melia, Albion made it to the FA Cup final in 1983.
Beating Newcastle United and Manchester City, Albion then won 2-1 away at Liverpool – one of their greatest performances ever – thanks to goals from Gerry Ryan and Jimmy Case, to reach the last eight for the first time. Case then scored the only goal to defeat Norwich City and set up a semi-final against Sheffield Wednesday at Arsenal’s old stadium at Highbury.
Now Case hit a thunderbolt from 35 yards, and Michael Robinson netted from close range to give Albion a 2-1 win and earn a final against Manchester United at Wembley.
On 21 May 1983, Albion hoped to become the first relegated side to win the cup in the same season. Despite taking the lead through Gordon Smith, they went 2-1 down in the second half. With only a few minutes remaining, Gary Stevens equalised to force extra time. In the 120th minute there was a great opportunity for Albion to score the winner. “And Smith must score,” declared the radio commentator, but the shot was saved and the game ended immediately thereafter at two goals apiece.
The teams returned to Wembley for a replay five days later. This time United won easily, by four goals to nil. Nevertheless, the 30,000 Albion supporters present, so proud of their team, sang their hearts out for their heroes.