The FA cup is the most loved competition in English football, it provides small clubs with a hope of glory and no tie is easy not even for Man U.
below are all the teams who have won it, the year they won in and the number of times they had won it after that victory.

1872 The Wanderers 1
1873 The Wanderers 2
1874 Oxford University 1
1875 Royal Engineers 1
1876 The Wanderers 3
1877 The Wanderers 4
1878 The Wanderers 5
1879 Old Etonians 1
1880 Clapham Rovers 1
1881 Old Carthusians 1
1882 Old Etonians 2
1883 Blackburn Olympic 1
1884 Blackburn Rovers 1
1885 Blackburn Rovers 2
1886 Blackburn Rovers 3
1887 Aston Villa 1
1888 West Bromwich Albion 1
1889 Preston North End 1
1890 Blackburn Rovers 4
1891 Blackburn Rovers 5
1892 West Bromwich Albion 2
1893 Wolverhampton Wanderers 2
1894 Notts County 1
1895 Aston Villa 2
1896 Sheffield Wednesday 1
1897 Aston Villa 3
1898 Nottingham Forest 1
1899 Sheffield United 1
1900 Bury 1
1901 Tottenham Hotspur 1
1902 Sheffield United 2
1903 Bury 2
1904 Manchester City 1
1905 Aston Villa 4
1906 Everton 1
1907 Sheffield Wednesday 2
1908 Wolverhampton Wanderers 2
1909 Manchester United 1
1910 Newcastle United 1
1911 Bradford City 1
1912 Barnsley 1
1913 Aston Villa 5
1914 Burnley 1
1915 Sheffield United 3
1920 Aston Villa 6
1921 Tottenham Hotspur 2
1922 Huddersfield Town 1
1923 Bolton Wanderers 1
1924 Newcastle United 2
1925 Sheffield United 4
1926 Bolton Wanderers 2
1927 Cardiff City 1
1928 Blackburn Rovers 6
1929 Bolton Wanderers 3
1930 Arsenal 1
1931 West Bromwich Albion 3
1932 Newcastle United 3
1933 Everton 2
1934 Manchester City 2
1935 Sheffield Wednesday 3
1936 Arsenal 2
1937 Sunderland 1
1938 Preston North End 2
1939 Portsmouth 1
1946 Derby County 1
1947 Charlton Athletic 1
1948 Manchester United 2
1949 Wolverhampton Wanderers 3
1950 Arsenal 3
1951 Newcastle United 4
1952 Newcastle United 5
1953 Blackpool 1
1954 West Bromwich Albion 4
1955 Newcastle United 6
1956 Manchester City 3
1957 Aston Villa 7
1958 Bolton Wanderers 4
1959 Nottingham Forest 2
1960 Wolverhampton Wanderers 4
1961 Tottenham Hotspur 3
1962 Tottenham Hotspur 4
1963 Manchester United 3
1964 West Ham United 1
1965 Liverpool 1
1966 Everton 3
1967 Tottenham Hotspur 5
1968 West Bromwich Albion 5
1969 Manchester City 4
1970 Chelsea 1
1971 Arsenal 4
1972 Leeds United 1
1973 Sunderland 2
1974 Liverpool 2
1975 West Ham United 2
1976 Southampton 1
1977 Manchester United 4
1978 Ipswich Town 1
1979 Arsenal 5
1980 West Ham United 3
1981 Tottenham Hotspur 6
1982 Tottenham Hotspur 7
1983 Manchester United 5
1984 Everton 4
1985 Manchester United 6
1986 Liverpool 3
1987 Coventry City 1
1988 Wimbledon 1
1989 Liverpool 4
1990 Manchester United 7
1991 Tottenham Hotspur 8
1992 Liverpool 5
1993 Arsenal 6
1994 Manchester United 8
1995 Everton 5
1996 Manchester United 9
1997 Chelsea 2
1998 Arsenal 7
1999 Manchester United 10
2000 Chelsea 3

" different from the scenes in 1872, at the cup final none of us can remember." JOHN MOTSON


The FA Cup (real name: The Football Association Challenge Cup) is the oldest football competition in the world. Since the first competition was held, in 1871, the FA Cup has produced moments of magic, drama, joy and despair, not to mention some unforgettably bad music from Cup Final teams - who can forget Wimbledon winning in 1988, Wrexham beating Arsenal, Sutton beating Coventry, Wycombe Wanderers 2001 cup run, Ricky Villa's goal, Ronnie Radford's thunderbolt, Coventry coming from behind to win in 1987, or Michael Owen's double strike to sink Arsenal in 2001. It's the best cup in the world, and this is its story.


On 20 July 1871, the Football Association Committee met in London,

"when it was resolved to institute a cup competition open to all clubs belonging to the Football Association" ¹
and thus, the Football Association Challenge Cup was born. The main points to note from the competition rules were²:
  • Rule 2: "The Challenge Cup shall be open to all clubs belonging to The Football Association and shall be competed for annually by eleven members of each Club"
  • Rule 5: "The duration of each match shall be one hour and a half."
  • Rule 6: "The Committee shall divide the Clubs which shall enter for competition for the Challenge Cup into couples, which couples shall play one match each and the winners of the matches so played shall, in like manner, be divided into couples and each couple shall play one match, and so on, until there shall be but one couple left, the winners of which match shall be the holders for the current year."
  • Rule 9: "The holder of the Cup shall be liable to play only the winner of the trial matches."
  • Rule 10: "The ties shall be played off within a month of the publication of the ties in such papers as the Committee may think fit, such publication to be deemed sufficient notice of the drawing."
  • Rule 13: "The holders of the Challenge Cup shall hand it over to the Secretary of The Football Association on or before 1st February in each year, unless the holders shall have won the Cup three years in succession, when the Cup shall become the absolute property of the Club so winning it. In addition to the Cup, the Committee will present to the winners of the Final Tie, eleven medals or badges, of trifling value."
Or, teams of eleven were to play 90 minute matches against each other, within a set time of the publication of the draw, at a mutually acceptable ground, with the winners, or both teams in the event of a draw, going through to the draw for the next round. When only one team remained, the previous year's winners would play them for the Cup, at a ground chosen by the existing cup holders.

Early doors

Although still called the FA Challenge Cup, the exemption for the holders of the cup was dropped almost immediately, and only Wanderers - winners of the first two finals - were able to make use of it.

In contrast to the modern day competition, in its infancy the FA Cup seems a ramshackle affair. Curiosities abounded:

  • In the event of a drawn game, the Association would often let both teams through to the next round. This was because rounds had to be finished by a certain date, and sometimes it would not have been possible for the teams involved to meet again before that date.
  • In the first FA Cup games ever played, on 11 November 1871, the Civil Service side could only find eight players, and Crystal Palace and Hitchin dew 0-0, with both teams going through to the next round. Still, from small acorns...
  • In the first semi-final, Queen's Park, of Scotland, drew with Wanderers at The Oval, but couldn't stay in London for a replay, leaving Wanderers to go through to the final. (The following year, Queen's Park were given byes all the way to the semi-final because of travel difficulties, but the business commitments of some players prevented them playing their tie against Oxford University, who were given a bye to the final.
  • Sheffield met Shropshire Wanderers for the third successive season in 1875/76. As the only teams competing in their region, there was nothing the FA could do about this, according to their original ruling that provincial sides should play sides from the same region in the early rounds.
  • In 1882, Blackburn Rovers asked the F.A. to pay their fares to and from London for the Final. The FA refused, but Blackburn traveled anyway, losing to the Old Etonians, who became the last Southern amateur club to win the Cup

Things began to tighten up a bit after the foundation of The Football League in 1888, and qualifying rounds were played for the first time in the 1888/89 FA Cup, after Preston North End's 'invincibles' had thumped Hyde 26-0 in the previous year's competition. The qualifying round system remains to this day, largely unchanged, with teams split into regions, playing until one team from each region is left. That team then goes forward to the main rounds of the competition.

In 1889, a new rule was added, that clubs should play ties at their own private ground, but if they didn't have one, that they were to provide a ground for the match "to which gate money can be charged for cup ties", or they would have to play at their opponent's ground. Frequently in the modern era, clubs will opt to switch a tie to be played at their opponents ground. This can happen when a small club is drawn against a much bigger club, and there are either policing concerns at the smaller club's ground, or it means a larger crowd, and therefore more money from the game for the smaller club.

FA Cup 2002/2003

This year's FA Cup began on 28 June 2002, with the draw for the Extra Preliminary Round, Preliminary Round, and First Qualifying Round. The first team out of the hat was Flixton, drawn at home to Goole for the Extra Preliminary Round. Sadly for Flixton's fans, this is where their cup adventure ended, Goole winning 5-4 on penalties after a replay, in front of a crowd of 195. Small acorns, remember...

League Clubs enter the competition from the first round onwards, with Third Division and Second Division Clubs in the draw for the first round, and Premiership and First Division clubs in the hat at the third round stage.

A few years ago, concerns were raised that the FA Cup had lost its appeal and some of its magic. Manchester United withdrew from the competition in the 1999/2000 season in order to compete in the World Club Championship in Brazil, and there have been question marks over commitment towards the FA Cup from teams also playing in the Champions League.

Whereas a good finish in The Premiership will qualify a team for the Champions League, the FA Cup only gets you into the draw for the UEFA Cup - until the 1998/9 season, the winners qualified for the European Cup Winner's Cup, which was abolished at the end of that season, because no-one seemed too interested in it any more.

Being in the UEFA Cup is all very well, but teams would rather be in the more lucrative Champions League. But whereas the League / Milk / Coca-Cola / Worthington Cup (the name changes every few years along with the sponsorship) has become an also-ran competition in a crowded fixture schedule, the FA Cup still matters to the top sides. A look at the list of recent winners shows that since 1996, the final League position of the team winning the FA Cup has been 1st, 6th, 1st, 1st, 5th, 3rd, 1st.

Meanwhile, there's still opportunity for the underdogs to cause an upset. In recent years, teams from the First Division and the Second Division have made it to the semi-finals, although the most recent side outside the top division to reach the final was Sunderland, in 1992.

Key dates

A team entering at the Extra Preliminary Round of the competition will need to win 14 ties in order to lift the cup (but look, it's not that magical, although having witnessed Calais of the French third division reach the final of the French Cup, supporters of Harrogate Railway shouldn't give up hope). In contrast, Premiership Clubs only play six rounds, starting with the Third Round Proper, on the magical first weekend of the new year. (For the 2000/2001 competition, the third round was played before Christmas, to universal disgust and uproar, and was promptly restored to its proper place in the calendar the following year.)

  1. 24 August 2002: Extra Preliminary Round
  2. 31 August 2002: Preliminary Round
  3. 14 September 2002: First Round Qualifying
  4. 28 September 2002: Second Round Qualifying
  5. 12 October 2002: Third Round Qualifying
  6. 26 October 2002: Fourth Round Qualifying
  7. 16 November 2002: First Round Proper
  8. 7 December 2002: Second Round Proper
  9. 4 January 2003: Third Round Proper
  10. 25 January 2003: Fourth Round Proper
  11. 15 February 2003: Fifth Round Proper
  12. 8 March 2003: Sixth Round Proper
  13. 13 April 2003: Semi-Final
  14. 17 May 2003: Final

In each round up to the Sixth Round, the tie is decided over one match of 90 minutes, at the ground of the team drawn out of the hat first. In the event of a tie, a replay is played. If the scores are level after 90 minutes in the replay, 30 minutes of extra time will be played, on a golden goal basis (i.e. first goal wins). If the scores are still level, a penalty shoot-out will take place.

The two semi-finals will be played on neutral grounds, decided by the FA. The final will be played at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. (And is likely to stay there until the FA pull their finger out and build a new national stadium in England.)

F.A. Cup final day

The FA Cup brings its fair share of magical moments and memories. What follows is a list of final venues, and memorable finals.

FA Cup Final venues
We could be heroes, just for one day: FA Cup final moments
"It is a cup final and the one who wins it goes through" JIMMY HILL
  • 1872: First final held at Kennington Oval
  • 1878: Wanderers become the first club to win the trophy three times in a row, entitling them to retain the trophy.
  • 1889: Preston North End become the first team to 'do the double', winning the FA Cup and League in the same season.
  • 1897: Aston Villa become the second team to do the double.
  • 1912: Extra time introduced for the final.

  • 1923: "The White Horse Final".
    The FA Cup Final moves to Wembley. Policing requirements are badly underestimated, as over 126,000 fans (according to the official match attendance figures, though some estimates put the total closer to 200,000) cram into the New Empire stadium, Wembley. Fans are spilling all over the pitch, and all looks lost until the arrival of PC George Storey, who, with his white stallion, Billie, gradually eases the spectators back off the pitch. When the game finally gets underway, Bolton beat West Ham United 2-0.
  • 1927: Cardiff City become the only team outside England to win the Cup.

  • 1953: "He [Stan Mortensen] had a cup final named after him : the Matthews Final." LAWRIE McMENEMY
    Stanley Matthews, fully 38 years old at the time, made this day his own, helping Blackpool come back from 3-1 down against a strong Bolton side. Matthews set up two of the second half goals, helping Mortensen to score a hat-trick, and Blackpool to become the first side to win after being two goals down in a final.
  • 1956: "The German Hero"
    Manchester City's German Keeper, Bert Trautman, breaks his neck during the final. Substitutes weren't allowed under FA Cup rules until the 1967 season, and Trautman decides to play on. Apparently, he doesn't feel any pain until after the match. Trautman helps Manchester City to a 3-1 win over Newcastle United.
  • 1961: Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) win the cup, and become the first team in the 20th Century to win the league and cup double.
  • 1968: First FA Cup final televised in colour.
  • 1973: Sunderland beat Leeds United to become the first club from the second division to win the cup for 42 years.

  • 1980: How much did you mean that?
    Trevor Brooking scores a diving header (actually more of a getting up header, as he was already on the ground when the cross came in), possibly accidentally, definitely unusually given that Brooking was hardly known for his heading ability, to give second division West Ham victory over Arsenal. No-one really believes Brooking's claims that he meant to score.
  • 1981 "- Villa, still Villa, still Villa...VILLA!"
    After a poor performance in the first game, Tottenham's Ricky Villa - one half of the North London's great Argentine duo, with Ossie Ardiles - was lucky to be picked for the replay. He doesn't seem to be worrying about his form, however, as he jinks past first one, then another, then another defender, squirming and weaving his way through the penalty area to score Spurs' winner in their 3-2 victory over Manchester City. Generally regarded as the greatest FA Cup final goal scored.
  • 1983: "...and Smith must score!"
    When Brighton & Hove Albion take the lead through Gordon Smith after just 14 minutes, an upset is on the cards. Albion have just been relegated after finishing bottom of the first division, while their opponents, Manchester United, finished third. United equalise, then take the lead, with goals from Frank Stapleton and Ray Wilkins. Brighton equalise through Gary Stevens with three minutes left on the clock. The match goes to extra time, and with seconds left, Brighton striker Gordon Smith is through on goal, with only Gary Bailey to beat. Smith makes a bit of a hash of his shot, Bailey saves well, and the match goes to a replay. United win the replay 4-0, and Norman Whiteside scores with a header to become, at 17, the youngest player to score in the FA Cup Final.
  • 1985: Whiteside's final
    After 78 minutes, Kevin Moran scythes down Peter Reid in the Manchester United half, sending him flying. It's a bad challenge, but looks worse. Referee Peter Willis shows Moran the red card, and he becomes the first player sent off in an FA Cup final. In extra time, with ten minutes to go, Norman Whiteside cuts in from the right wing, and curls a gorgeous left-footed shot past Neville Southall in the Everton goal to give United their sixth Cup Final win.
  • 1987: John Sillett goes crazy
    After a history of mediocrity, Coventry City reach their first major final, against Spurs. They go 2-1 down, but a glorious diving header from Keith Houchen, and an own goal when a cross deflects off Gary Mabbutt's arse in extra time give the midlands club their first silverware. Cue mad leaping up and down from newly deranged Coventry manager John "Snoz" Sillet in a bright shiny 80s suit.
  • 1988: The Crazy gang go crazy
    A day that truly sucked. I'd been ill for a few days, and was in solitary confinement to watch my boys in red triumph again. Wimbledon, known in those days as "The Crazy Gang", had only been a league club for 11 years, Liverpool were the pre-eminent side of the last decade. There was only one likely outcome. Wimbledon, though, had ideas of their own, and took the lead when Lawrie Sanchez headed in from a Dennis Wise free-kick in the first half. In the second half, Liverpool were awarded a penalty, and the chance to draw level. John Aldridge stepped up, hit an average penalty to the left of Dave Beasant in the Wimbledon goal at just the right height to give the keeper a chance, and Beasant stuck out a big hand at the end of a long arm, and tipped the ball round the post. Aldridge was the first player to miss a penalty in the FA Cup final, Beasant the first goalkeeper to save one. Wimbledon went on to win 1-0, and I got back into bed and cried. Aldridge went on to have a successful club and country career, while Beasant dropped almst anything that came his way for the rest of his, sadly including a jar of pickle, which he dropped on his foot, breaking a bone in his toe.
  • 1997: Have I missed anything?
    Chelsea's Italian midfielder, Roberto Di Matteo, scores the FA Cup final's quickest ever goal, against Middlesbrough, lashing home a 30-yarder off the underside of the crossbar after just 42 seconds. Chelsea stroll to a 2-0 victory after Eddie Newton scores a late second.
  • 2001: Owen!!!
    Makes up for 1988, this one. Arsenal outplay Liverpool for the whole game. Stephane Henchoz, falling over as is his custom, saves a Thierry Henry shot with his hand, but mysteriously no penalty is given. Arsenal miss chance after chance, and Sami Hyppia saves off the line twice. Eventually Freddie Ljungberg gives Arsenal a deserved lead late in the second half. Then Michael Owen swivels in the penalty area to drive home a half-volley for the equalizer. With five minutes left on the clock, Owen chases a long ball, leaves Arsenal skipper Tony Adams for dead, looks up, and calmly fires the ball with his weaker (ha!) left-foot past the advancing David Seaman. Liverpool win 2-1. Euphoria.
"The beauty of cup football is that Jack always has a chance of beating Goliath" TERRY BUTCHER
  • Stoke v Warwick County (1889)

    Stoke's inglorious FA Cup history (the club has the 9th worst percentage of wins from games played) began at the end of the 19th century, when Warwick County, in the first of only two appearances in the competition, became the first non-league team to beat a league side, in this First Qualifying Round tie.

  • Yeovil Town 2-1 Sunderland (1949)

    Yeovil Town, in the Southern League, shocked Sunderland, of the first division, with goals from Eric Bryant and Alec Stock, in a fourth round game that was nearly abandoned because of fog five minutes before full-time, and again, when the crowd mistakenly thought the final whistle had been blown, and invaded the pitch. Yeovil went on to lose 8-0 to Manchester United in the next round.

  • Hereford 2-1 Newcastle United (1972)

    Hereford became the next non-league side to take a top flight scalp, in this third round replay at Edgar Street. After falling behind to a Malcolm McDonald strike, the non-leaguers equalised when Ronnie Radford struck an unstoppable thirty yarder into the top corner. Radford's goal now forms part of every FA Cup montage ever put together. In extra time, Ricky George scored the winner for The Bulls.

  • Sunderland 1-0 Leeds (1973)

    Ian Porterfield's finest hour (he had several not so fine hours as a manager) came as he scored the winning goal for second division Sunderland in the 1973 final, against red-hot favourites Leeds.

  • Sutton United 2-1 Coventry City (1989)

    More non-league glory, this time for Sutton Utd, against a Coventry side who had won the competition just two years before this fateful third round tie. Having scored just before half-time, Sutton are pegged back in the second half as Coventry equalise. Amazingly, Sutton take the lead again on 59 minutes, through Matty Hanlon. A Steve Sedgley shot hits the post and the bar for Coventry, Robyn Jones saves off the line for Sutton, before eventually the final whistle blows, follwed by the obligatory pitch invasion.

  • Wrexham 2-1 Arsenal (1992)

    The previous season, Arsenal won the league, while Wrexham finished bottom of the third division. The FA Cup third round draw set up this clash of top against bottom, first against 92nd, at the Racecourse Ground. Alan Smith gave Arsenal the lead in the first half, and a banana skin looked like being side-stepped. Up stepped 37 year-old Mickey Thomas, though, to drill a free kick past David Seaman for the equaliser with ten minutes to play, and then, incredibly, Steve Watkin scored Wrexham's second with only a few minutes to go. Wrexham clung on to their lead. Cue elation everywhere except for pockets of North London.

  • Leicester City 1-2 Wycombe Wanderers (2001)

    Roy Essandoh joined second division Wycombe after reading a teletext plea by Wycombe boss Lawrie Sanchez (of 1988 Cup Final fame) for new strikers. After a few trials, Essandoh was given a contract for the season, and was selected as a substitute for this sixth round tie against Premiership side Leicester City at Filbert Street. Coming on in the second half, he put himself about for a while, before popping up from nowhere in stoppage time to head the ball into the net to set up a semi-final (Wycombe's first) tie with Liverpool.

  • Shrewsbury Town 2-1 Everton (2003)

    It's always nice to see the Toffeemen lose, particularly to a fairly mediocre third-division outfit, albeit with bags of top flight experience, managed by one of their own old boys, Kevin Ratcliffe. In his 15 year career, Nigel Jemson has been on the books of 15 professional clubs, and scored the winner for Nottingham Forest in the 1990 League Cup Final. His career coming to a close, what better way to sign off than to score a brace against Premiership opposition. The first, a curling free-kick, just before half-time, the second a near-post header with under two minutes left to play. Last time I watched Jemson in Shrewsbury colours, his most memorable act was to fall on his backside trying to control a simple pass. Who said the FA Cup had lost its magic?

...and one that got away
  • Chesterfield 3-3 Middlesbrough (1997)

    But for a dodgy decision from referee David Ellary, Second Division Chesterfield might just have made it all the way to the 1997 FA Cup final. Leading Premiership side Middlesbrough 2-1 in their semi-final at Old Trafford, Chesterfield looked like doubling their lead when a shot hit the underside of the Middlesbrough crossbar, bounced down and into the goal, before bouncing out again. Deciding that the ball hadn't crossed the line, Referee Ellary waved the teams to play on. Boro equalised near the end of normal time, then, in extra time, Jamie Hewitt scored in the dying seconds, cancelling out Gianluca Festa's strike to leave the final score tied at 3-3. Boro went on to win the replay 3-0. Ellary later admitted that he had made a mistake, but by then it was too late for the Spireites.

Top Teams
  • Most FA Cups: 10 - Manchester United; 9 - Arsenal, 8 - Tottenham Hotspur
  • Most Appearances in the Final: 16 - Arsenal, 15 -Manchester United; 13 - Newcastle United
  • Most games won: 204 - Everton; 201 - Aston Villa; 199 - Liverpool
  • Win percentage: 54.4 - Everton; 53.1 - Liverpool; 52.9 Manchester United

1,2 "The Ultimate F.A. Cup Statistics Book" published by the AFS in 1994. © Tony Brown 1996.
John Motson, Terry Butcher, Jimmy Hill, Lawrie McMenemy quotes taken from The Football Quotes Page:,5764,628020,00.html

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