David Clarke has FA Cup final date with Manchester City and Wigan

David Clarke with FA chairman David Bernstein at Wembley ahead of the final between Manchester City

David Clarke with FA chairman David Bernstein at Wembley ahead of the final between Manchester City and Wigan on Saturday, May 11. Photo courtesy of the FA. - Credit: Archant

DAVE Clarke will be this year’s Guest of Honour at The FA Cup with Budweiser Final between Manchester City and Wigan Athletic on Saturday, May 11.

Clarke, 42, retired as that England and Great Britain Blind football captain at the conclusion of the London 2012 Paralympics after an international career that saw him score 128 goals in 144 appearances.

The FA150 Ambassador follows in the footsteps of the Duke of Cambridge, Sir Bobby Robson, Kofi Annan, Corporal Mark Ward and Jimmy Armfield who have all presented the trophy to the winning captain in past FA Cup Finals at the new Wembley.

Clarke said: “It’s a remarkable honour because I’ve experienced FA Cup Finals in the past and to be actually involved on the day is very special and I’m really looking forward to it.

“The FA Cup is a real institution because everyone has a great memory of it like last minute goals and come from behind victories.

“I think it’s football’s pinnacle competition because it has absolutely everything.”

FA Chairman David Bernstein added: “His record is unique with over 100 goals and appearances but we wanted to recognise Dave personally as he is a great representative of disability football.

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“There’s over 115,000 people playing a form of disability football in England and it’s the seventh largest participation sport in the country so I’m absolutely delighted that Dave is our Guest of Honour because it is thoroughly deserved and I’ll be very proud to sit next to him on the day.”

The FA has also confirmed that the Wigan Athletic chairman, Dave Whelan, has been given special dispensation to lead the Latics out onto the pitch ahead of kick-off on 11 May.

Whelan famously broke a leg in the first half of the 1960 FA Cup Final and was immediately rushed to hospital where he was later informed that his Blackburn Rovers side had lost 3-0 to Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Whelan, now 76, said; “I would like to thank The FA for giving the club permission to let me lead out the team on such an historic occasion alongside our manager Roberto Martinez.

“It will not only be a very proud moment for me but also for the club and the whole town of Wigan.”