FA Cup Facts and Figures
With this upcoming weekend being FA Cup Third Round time, marking the entry of Premier League and Championship clubs to the competition, it is time to analyse some of the most interesting facts and figures surrounding one of the world’s favourite domestic cup competitions.
1871 – The FA Cup is the world’s oldest existing Association Football (soccer) competition, having first been played in 1871. The very first final was played at the Kennington Oval in London, more famous as a Test cricket venue and home of Surrey CCC, and was contested between Wanderers and Royal Engineers, the former claiming the inaugural trophy with a 1-0 victory. The club, based in London, effectively became extinct in 1887, but not before it had claimed the famous trophy a further five times.
1922 – The final of the competition was played at Wembley stadium, it’s iconic home, for the first time in 1922, when Bolton Wanderers defeated West Ham United 2-0. Previous venues included Crystal Palace, Stamford Bridge, Goodison Park, and Old Trafford.
1884 – The first recognisable modern club to win the FA Cup was Blackburn Rovers in 1884, a feat they repeated for the following three consecutive seasons.
1901 – The first team from outside the professional Football League (established in 1888) to claim the trophy was Tottenham Hotspur, of the Southern league, who defeated Sheffield United in a replay played at Burnden Park, the then home of Bolton Wanderers.
6 – The first team to win ‘The Double’ of League Championship and FA Cup was Preston North End in 1889, a feat that was repeated by Aston Villa, in 1897. Tottenham Hotspur became the first team in the 20th century to claim the double, in 1961, an event that has been repeated subsequently by Arsenal (three times, in 1971, 1998 and 2002), Liverpool (in 1986), Manchester United (three times in 1994, 1996 and 1999) and Chelsea (in 2010), resulting in a total of six teams having performed this achievement.
12 – Arsenal, in winning the FA Cup for the previous two seasons, have won the competition more than any other side – a total of 12 times. Manchester United have won the competition on 11 occasions, and Tottenham Hotspur have claimed the trophy eight times. Arsenal have also featured in more finals than any other team (19).
1999 – Until 1999, a drawn final would always result in a reply. Since then, a penalty shoot-out has been employed, but has only been required twice, in 2005 and 2006, with Arsenal and Liverpool respectively triumphing in this manner.
1 – Only one non-English team has ever won the trophy – Cardiff City in 1927.
1980 – The most recent victory from a team outside the top division of English football was in 1980, when West Ham United, then of the Second Division (today’s Championship) defeated Arsenal. Second division sides Sunderland and Southampton had claimed the trophy in 1973 and 1976 respectively to represent the most prolific period for this occurrence.
126,047 – The highest attendance recorded for an FA Cup final was at the first Wembley final of 1923, when a reported 126,047 were in attendance to witness Bolton Wanderer’s 2-0 defeat of West Ham United.
3 – Only three teams have appeared in multiple finals yet failed to win the trophy, Queen’s Park (who are also the only Scottish side to reach the final) and Birmingham City, who both reached the final twice, and Leicester City, who have been defeated in four finals.
7 – The player who has won the trophy the most times is Ashley Cole, the left-back having achieved the feat in 2002, 2003 and 2005 (with Arsenal) and then in 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2012 (with Chelsea).
6 – The biggest winning margin in an FA Cup final is six goals, achieved when Bury beat Derby County 6-0 in 1903.
4 – The only player to have scored in four FA Cup final’s is Chelsea’s Didier Drogba, who bagged in the 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2012 finals, all victories for his side. Ian Rush of Liverpool holds the record for the most goals scored in total in FA Cup finals, with 5.
18 years and 19 days – The youngest player to have scored in an FA Cup final is Manchester United’s Northern Irish striker Norman Whiteside, who had just turned 18 when he scored in his side’s 4-0 replay win over Brighton and Hove Albion in 1983.Millwall’s Curtis Weston is the youngest player to ever feature in an FA Cup Final. The midfielder was just 17 years and 119 days old when he appeared as a substitute during his sides’ 3-0 defeat at the hands of Manchester United in 2004.
5 – The current trophy presented to the winners of the FA Cup Final is the fifth version of the award, and is a direct replica of the third trophy to be presented, which was done so for the first time to the captain of Bradford City in 1911. Incidentally, the very first trophy used was stolen from a Birmingham shoe shop in 1895, and never seen again. Aston Villa, as the holders, were fined £25 to pay for a replacement.
49 – The most FA Cup career goals scored by an individual is 49 scored by Henry ‘Harry’ Cursham for Notts County between 1877 and 1888.
Saturday 21st May 2016 – The date of this season’s FA Cup Final to be contested at Wembley Stadium, the 135th episode.
By: Steven Paget