The FA Cup, known officially as
The Football Association
The Football Association Challenge
Cup, is an annual knockout football competition in men's domestic
English football. First played during the 1871–72 season, it is one
of the oldest association football competitions in the world. It is
organised by and named after
The Football Association
The Football Association (The FA). For
sponsorship reasons, from 2015 through to 2018 it is also known as The
Emirates FA Cup. A concurrent women's tournament is also held, the FA
The competition is open to any eligible club down to Level 10 of the
English football league system
English football league system – all 92 professional clubs in the
Premier League (Level 1) and the
English Football League
English Football League (Levels 2 to
4), and several hundred "non-league" teams in Steps 1 to 6 of the
National League System
National League System (Levels 5 to 10). A record 763 clubs
competed in 2011–12. The tournament consists of 12 randomly drawn
rounds followed by the semi-finals and the final. Entrants are not
seeded, although a system of byes based on league level ensures higher
ranked teams enter in later rounds – the minimum number of games
needed to win the competition ranges from six to fourteen.
The first six rounds are the Qualifying Competition, from which 32
teams progress to the first round of the Competition Proper, meeting
the first of the 48 professional teams from Leagues One and Two. The
last entrants are the
Premier League and Championship clubs, into the
draw for the Third Round Proper. In the modern era, only one
non-league team has ever reached the quarter-finals, and teams below
Level 2 have never reached the final.[note 1] As a result, as well as
who wins, significant focus is given to those "minnows" (smaller
teams) who progress furthest, especially if they achieve an unlikely
Winners receive the
FA Cup trophy, of which there have been two
designs and five actual cups; the latest is a 2014 replica of the
second design, introduced in 1911. Winners also qualify for the Europa
League and a place in the
FA Community Shield
FA Community Shield match. Arsenal are the
current holders, having beaten Chelsea 2–1 in the 2017 final to win
the cup for the 13th time in their history and become the tournament's
most successful club. Arsenal's
Arsène Wenger is the most successful
manager in the competition with seven finals won.
3 Competition format
3.3 The draw
4 Qualification for subsequent competitions
4.1 European football
4.2 FA Community Shield
5.1 Competition rounds
5.4 Artificial turf
6.1 Original design
6.1.1 1871 original
6.1.2 1895 replica
6.2 Current design
6.2.1 1911 original
6.2.2 1992 replica
6.2.3 2014 replica
9 Records and statistics
9.2 All rounds
10 Cup runs and giant killings
10.1 Early years
Non-league giant killings
Non-league cup runs
10.4 Giant killings between league clubs
11 Winners and finalists
11.1 Consecutive winners
11.2 Winning managers
11.4 Outside England
11.5 Outside the top division
12 Media coverage
12.1 Domestic broadcasters
12.2 Overseas broadcasters
14 External links
See also: History of the FA Cup
Harry Hampton scores one of his two goals in the 1905
FA Cup Final
where Aston Villa defeated Newcastle United
In 1863, the newly founded Football Association (the FA) published the
Laws of the Game of Association Football, unifying the various
different rules in use before then. On 20 July 1871, in the offices of
The Sportsman newspaper, the FA Secretary
C. W. Alcock
C. W. Alcock proposed to the
FA committee that "it is desirable that a Challenge Cup should be
established in connection with the Association for which all clubs
belonging to the Association should be invited to compete". The
FA Cup tournament kicked off in November 1871. After
thirteen games in all, Wanderers were crowned the winners in the
final, on 16 March 1872. Wanderers retained the trophy the following
year. The modern cup was beginning to be established by the 1888–89
season, when qualifying rounds were introduced.
Following the 1914–15 edition, the competition was suspended due to
the First World War, and did not resume until 1919–20. The 1922–23
competition saw the first final to be played in the newly opened
Wembley Stadium (known at the time as the Empire Stadium). Due to the
outbreak of World War II, the competition was not played between the
1938–39 and 1945–46 editions. Due to the wartime breaks, the
competition did not celebrate its centenary year until 1980–81;
fittingly the final featured a goal by
Ricky Villa which was later
voted the greatest goal ever scored at Wembley Stadium, but has since
been replaced by Steven Gerrard.
Having previously featured replays, the modern day practice of
ensuring the semi-final and final matches finish on the day, was
introduced from 2000 onwards. Redevelopment of Wembley saw the final
played outside of
England for the first time, the 2001–2006 finals
being played at the
Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. The final returned
to Wembley in 2007, followed by the semi-finals from 2008.
The competition is open to any club down to Level 10 of the English
football league system which meets the eligibility criteria. All clubs
in the top four levels (the
Premier League and the three divisions of
the Football League) are automatically eligible. Clubs in the next six
levels (non-league football) are also eligible provided they have
played in either the FA Cup,
FA Trophy or
FA Vase competitions in the
previous season. Newly formed clubs, such as F.C. United of Manchester
in 2005–06 and also 2006–07, may not therefore play in the FA Cup
in their first season. All clubs entering the competition must also
have a suitable stadium.
It is very rare for top clubs to miss the competition, although it can
happen in exceptional circumstances. Manchester United did not defend
their title in 1999–2000, as they were already in the inaugural Club
World Championship. The club stated that entering both tournaments
would overload their fixture schedule and make it more difficult to
defend their Champions League and
Premier League titles. The club
claimed that they did not want to devalue the
FA Cup by fielding a
weaker side. The move benefited United as they received a two-week
break and won the 1999–2000 league title by an 18-point margin,
although they did not progress past the group stage of the Club World
Championship. The withdrawal from the FA Cup, however, drew
considerable criticism as this weakened the tournament's prestige and
Alex Ferguson later admitted his regret regarding their handling
of the situation.
Welsh sides that play in English leagues are eligible, although since
the creation of the League of
Wales there are only six clubs
Cardiff City (the only non-English team to win the
tournament, in 1927), Swansea City, Newport County, Wrexham, Merthyr
Town and Colwyn Bay. In the early years other teams from Wales,
Scotland also took part in the competition, with Glasgow
side Queen's Park losing the final to
Blackburn Rovers in 1884 and
1885 before being barred from entering by the Scottish Football
Association. In the 2013–14 season the first Channel Island club
entered the competition when
Guernsey F.C. competed for the first
The number of entrants has increased greatly in recent years. In the
2004–05 season, 660 clubs entered the competition, beating the
long-standing record of 656 from the 1921–22 season. In 2005–06
this increased to 674 entrants, in 2006–07 to 687, in 2007–08 to
731 clubs, and for the 2008–09 and 2009–10 competitions it reached
762. The number has varied slightly but remained roughly stable
since then, with 759 clubs participating in 2010–11, a record 763 in
2011–12, 758 for 2012–13, 737 for 2013–14 and 736 for 2014–15.
By comparison, the other major English domestic cup, the League Cup,
involves only the 92 members of the
Premier League and Football
Beginning in August, the competition proceeds as a knockout tournament
throughout, consisting of twelve rounds, a semi-final and then a
final, in May. A system of byes ensures clubs above Level 9 and 10
enter the competition at later stages. There is no seeding, the
fixtures in each round being determined by a random draw. Prior to the
quarter-finals, fixtures ending in a tie are replayed once only.
The first six rounds are qualifiers, with the draws organised on a
regional basis. The next six rounds are the "proper" rounds where all
clubs are in one draw.
Entrants from the bottom two levels (9 and 10) begin the competition
in the Extra Preliminary Round. Clubs from higher levels are then
added in later rounds, as per the table below. The months in which
rounds are played are traditional, with exact dates subject to each
New entrants at this round
No of matches
Level 9 and 10 clubs
Level 8 clubs
Level 7 clubs
Level 6 clubs
Level 5 clubs
Level 3 and 4 clubs
Level 1 and 2 clubs
The qualifying rounds are regionalised to reduce the travel costs for
smaller non-league sides. The first and second proper rounds were also
previously split into Northern and Southern sections, but this
practice was ended after the 1997–98 competition.
The final is normally held the Saturday after the Premier League
season finishes in May. The only seasons in recent times when this
pattern was not followed were 1999–2000, when most rounds were
played a few weeks earlier than normal as an experiment, and 2010–11
and 2012–13 when the
FA Cup Final
FA Cup Final was played before the Premier
League season had finished, to allow
Wembley Stadium to be ready for
UEFA Champions League
UEFA Champions League final, as well as in 2011–12 to allow
England time to prepare for that summer's European Championships.
The draws for the Extra-Preliminary, Preliminary, and First Qualifying
Rounds used to all occur at the same time. Thereafter, the draw for
each subsequent round is not made until after the scheduled dates for
the previous round, meaning that in the case of replays, clubs will
often know their future opponents in advance. This season 2016/17 the
draw for the 1st qualifying round was drawn at a later date as per
previous season's later rounds.
The draw for each of the proper rounds is broadcast live on
television, usually taking place at the conclusion of live coverage of
one of the games of the previous round. Public interest is
particularly high during the draw for the third round, which is where
the top-ranked teams are added to the draw.
In rounds up to and including the fifth round proper, fixtures
resulting in a draw (after normal time) go to a replay, played at the
venue of the away team, at a later date; if that replay is still tied,
the winner is settled by a period of extra time, and if still
necessary, a penalty shootout. Since 2016–17, ties are settled on
the day from the quarter-finals onwards, using extra time and
Until 1990–91, further replays would be played until one team was
victorious. Some ties took as many as six matches to settle; in their
Fulham played a total of 12 games over six rounds,
which remains the most games played by a team to reach a final.
Replays were traditionally played three or four days after the
original game, but from 1991–92 they were staged at least 10 days
later on police advice for the rounds proper. This led to penalty
shoot-outs being introduced, the first of which came on 26 November
1991 when Rotherham United eliminated Scunthorpe United.
From 1980–81 to 1998–99, the semi-finals went to extra time on the
day if the score after 90 minutes was a draw. If the score was still
level after extra time, the match would go to a replay. Replays for
the semi-finals were scrapped for 1999–2000, the last semi-final to
go into a replay was in 1998–99 when Manchester United beat Arsenal
2–1 after extra time. The first game had ended in a 0–0 draw.
FA Cup Final
FA Cup Final to go to extra time and a replay was the 1875
final, between the Royal Engineers and the Old Etonians. The initial
tie finished 1–1 but the Royal Engineers won the replay 2–0 in
normal time. The last replayed final was the 1993
FA Cup Final, when
Arsenal and Sheffield Wednesday fought a 1–1 draw. The replay saw
Arsenal win the FA Cup, 2–1 after extra time.
The last quarter-final to go to a replay was Manchester United vs West
Ham United in the 2015–16 FA Cup. The original game at Old Trafford
ended in a 1–1 draw, while Manchester United won the replay at the
Boleyn Ground, 2–1. It was also the last
FA Cup game ever played at
the Boleyn Ground.
Qualification for subsequent competitions
The FA Cup winners qualify for the following season's
League (formerly named the
UEFA Cup; from its launch in 1960 until
1998, they entered the now-defunct
UEFA Cup Winners' Cup
UEFA Cup Winners' Cup instead).
This European place applies even if the team is relegated or is not in
the English top flight. In the past, if the
FA Cup winning team also
qualified for the following season's Champions League or Europa League
through their league position, then the losing
FA Cup finalist were
given this European berth instead.
FA Cup winners enter the Europa
League at the group stage. Losing finalists, if they haven't qualified
for Europe via the league, began earlier, at the play-off or third
qualifying round stage. From the 2015–16
UEFA Europa League
UEFA does not allow the runners-up to qualify for the
Europa League through the competition. If the winner – and until
2015, the runner-up – has already qualified for Europe through their
league position (with the exception of the
UEFA Cup until 1998), the
FA Cup berth is then given to the highest-place team in the league who
has not yet qualified.
FA Community Shield
The FA Cup winners also qualify for the following season's
single-match FA Community Shield, the traditional season opener played
against the previous season's
Premier League champions (or the Premier
League runners-up if the
FA Cup winners also won the league – the
Since 2007 the
FA Cup Final
FA Cup Final has been held at Wembley Stadium, on the
site of the previous stadium which hosted it from 1923 to 2000.
Fixtures in the 12 rounds of the competition are usually played at the
home ground of one of the two teams. The semi-finals and final are
played at a neutral venue – the rebuilt
Wembley Stadium (since 2008
and 2007 respectively).
In the matches for the twelve competition rounds, the team who plays
at home is decided when the fixtures are drawn – simply the first
team drawn out for each fixture. Occasionally games may have to be
moved to other grounds due to other events taking place, security
reasons or a ground not being suitable to host popular teams. In the
event of a draw, the replay is played at the ground of the team who
originally played away from home.
In the days when multiple replays were possible, the second replay
(and any further replays) were played at neutral grounds. The clubs
involved could alternatively agree to toss for home advantage in the
The semi-finals have been played exclusively at the rebuilt Wembley
Stadium since 2008, one year after it opened and after it had already
hosted a final (in 2007). For the first decade of the competition, the
Kennington Oval was used as the semi-final venue. In the period
between this first decade and the reopening of Wembley, semi-finals
were played at high-capacity neutral venues around England; usually
the home grounds of teams not involved in that semi-final, chosen to
be roughly equidistant between the two teams for fairness of travel.
The top three most used venues in this period were
Villa Park in
Birmingham (55 times), Hillsborough in Sheffield (34 times) and Old
Trafford in Manchester (23 times). The original
Wembley Stadium was
also used seven times for semi-final, between 1991 and 2000 (the last
held there), but not always for fixtures featuring London teams. In
2005, both were held at the Millennium Stadium.
In 2003 the FA took the decision to permanently use the new Wembley
for semi-finals to recoup debts in financing the new stadium. This
was controversial, with the move seen as both unfair to fans of teams
located far from London, as well as taking some of the prestige away
from a Wembley final. In defending the move, the FA has also cited
the extra capacity Wembley offers, although the 2013 fixture between
Millwall and Wigan led to the unprecedented step of placing 6,000
tickets on sale to neutral fans after the game failed to sell out.
A fan poll by
The Guardian in 2013 found 86% opposition to Wembley
The final has been played at the rebuilt
Wembley Stadium since it
opened, in 2007. The rebuilding process meant that between 2001
and 2006 they were hosted at the
Millennium Stadium in
Wales. Prior to rebuilding, the final was hosted by the original
Wembley Stadium since it opened in 1923 (being originally named the
Empire Stadium). One exception to this 78 year series of Empire
Stadium finals (including five replays) was the 1970 replay between
Leeds and Chelsea, held at
Old Trafford in Manchester.
In the 51 years prior to the Empire Stadium opening, the final
(including 8 replays) was held in a variety of locations,
predominantly in London, and mainly at the Kennington Oval and then
Crystal Palace. It was played 22 times at
The Oval (the inaugural
competition in 1872, and then all but two times until 1892). After The
Oval, Crystal Palace hosted 21 finals from 1895 to 1914, broken up by
four replays elsewhere. The other London venues were Stamford Bridge
from 1920 to 1922 (the last three finals before the move to Empire
Stadium); and the University of Oxford's Lillie Bridge in
the second ever final, in 1873. The other venues used sparingly in
this period were all outside of London, as follows:
Racecourse Ground, Derby (1886)
Fallowfield Stadium, Manchester (1893)
Goodison Park, Liverpool (1894)
Bolton (1901 replay)
Old Trafford, Manchester (1911 replay)
Goodison Park (1910 replay)
Bramall Lane, Sheffield (1912 replay)
Old Trafford (1915)
The FA permitted artificial turf (3G) pitches in all rounds of the
competition from the 2014–15 edition and beyond. Under the
2015–16 rules, the pitch must be of FIFA One Star quality, or Two
Star for ties if they involve one of the 92 professional clubs.
This followed approval two years previously for their use in the
qualifying rounds only – if a team with a 3G pitch progressed to the
competition proper, they had to switch their tie to the ground of
another eligible entrant with a natural grass pitch. Having been
strong proponents of the surface, the first match in the proper rounds
to be played on a 3G surface was a televised first round replay at
Gallagher Stadium on 20 November 2015.
The eventual winners of the competition receive the FA Cup; it is only
loaned to the club by the FA, under the current (2015–16) rules it
must be returned by 1 March, or earlier if given seven days’
notice. Traditionally, the holders had the Cup until the following
year's presentation, although more recently the trophy has been taken
on publicity tours by the FA in between finals.
George V presents the
FA Cup trophy to Tommy Boyle of Burnley
F.C., April 1914
The trophy comes in three parts – the cup itself, plus a lid and a
base. There have been two designs of trophy in use, but five physical
trophies have been presented. The original trophy, known as the
"little tin idol", was 18 inches high and made by Martin, Hall &
Co. It was stolen in 1895 and never recovered, and so was replaced by
an exact replica, used until 1910.
The FA decided to change the design
after the 1909 winners, Manchester United, made their own replica,
leading the FA to realise they did not own the copyright. This
new, larger design was by Fattorini and Sons, and was used from
1911. In order to preserve this original, from 1992 it was
replaced by an exact replica, although this had to be replaced after
just over two decades, after showing wear and tear from being handled
more than in previous eras. This third replica, first used in 2014,
was built heavier to withstand the increased handling. Of the four
surviving trophies, only the 1895 replica has entered private
The name of the winning team is engraved on the silver band around the
base as soon as the final has finished, in order to be ready in time
for the presentation ceremony. This means the engraver has just
five minutes to perform a task which would take 20 under normal
conditions, although time is saved by engraving the year on during the
match, and sketching the presumed winner. During the final, the
trophy is decorated with ribbons in the colours of both finalists,
with the loser's ribbons being removed at the end of the game. The
tradition of tying ribbons started after Tottenham Hotspur won the
FA Cup Final
FA Cup Final and the wife of a Spurs director decided to tie blue
and white ribbons to the handles of the cup. Traditionally, at
Wembley finals, the presentation is made at the Royal Box, with
players, led by the captain, mounting a staircase to a gangway in
front of the box and returning by a second staircase on the other side
of the box. At
Cardiff the presentation was made on a podium on the
The tradition of presenting the trophy immediately after the game did
not start until the 1882 final; after the first final in 1872 the
trophy was not presented to the winners, Wanderers, until a reception
held four weeks later in the Pall Mall Restaurant in London. Under
the original rules, the trophy was to be permanently presented to any
club which won the competition three times, although when inaugural
winners Wanderers achieved this feat by the 1876 final, the rules were
changed by FA Secretary CW Alcock (who was also captain of Wanderers
in their first victory).
Portsmouth F.C. have the distinction of being the football club which
has held the
FA Cup trophy for the longest uninterrupted period -
seven years. Portsmouth had defeated Wolverhampton Wanderers 4–1 in
FA Cup Final
FA Cup Final and were awarded the trophy as 1939 FA Cup
Champions. But with the outbreak of
World War II
World War II in September 1939,
the regular Football League and
FA Cup competitions were cancelled for
the duration of the war. Portsmouth's manager
Jack Tinn was rumoured
to have kept the
FA Cup trophy 'safe under his bed' throughout the
duration of the war, but this is an urban myth. Because the naval city
of Portsmouth was a primary strategic military target for German
Luftwaffe bombing, the
FA Cup trophy was actually taken ten miles to
the north of Portsmouth, to the nearby Hampshire village of Lovedean,
and there it resided in a quaint thatched roof country pub called The
Bird in Hand for the seven years of the war. After the conclusion
of World War II, the
FA Cup trophy was presented back to the Football
Portsmouth F.C. in time for the 1946
FA Cup Final.
The first trophy, the 'little tin idol', was made by Martin, Hall
& Co at a cost of £20 It was stolen from a
shop window belonging to William Shillcock while held by Aston Villa
on 11 September 1895 and was never seen again. Despite a £10 reward
for information, the crime was never solved. As it happened while it
was in their care, the FA fined Villa £25 to pay for a replacement.
Just over 60 years later, 80 year old career criminal Henry (Harry)
James Burge claimed to have committed the theft, confessing to a
newspaper, with the story being published in the Sunday Pictorial
newspaper on 23 February 1958. He claimed to have carried out the
robbery with two other men, although when discrepancies with a
contemporaneous report in the
Birmingham Post newspaper (the crime
pre-dated written police reports) in his account of the means of entry
and other items stolen, detectives decided there was no realistic
possibility of a conviction and the case was closed. Burge claimed the
cup had been melted down to make counterfeit half-crown coins, which
matched known intelligence of the time, in which stolen silver was
being used to forge coins which were then laundered through betting
shops at a local racecourse, although Burge had no past history of
forgery in a record of 42 previous convictions for which he had spent
42 years in prison. He had been further imprisoned in 1957 for seven
years for theft from cars. Released in 1961, he died in 1964.
FA Cup trophy, used between 1896 and 1910.
After being rendered obsolete by the redesign, the 1895 replica was
presented in 1910 to the FA's long-serving president Lord
Kinnaird. Kinnaird died in 1923, and his family kept it in their
possession, out of view, until putting it up for auction in 2005.
It was duly sold at
Christie's auction house on 19 May 2005 for
£420,000 (£478,400 including auction fees and taxes). The sale
price set a new world record for a piece of football memorabilia,
surpassing the £254,000 paid for the Jules Rimet World Cup Trophy in
1997. The successful bidder was David Gold, the then joint
Birmingham City; claiming the FA and government were doing
nothing proactive to ensure the trophy remained in the country, Gold
stated his purchase was motivated by wanting to save it for the
nation. Accordingly, Gold presented the trophy to the National
Football Museum in Preston on 20 April 2006, where it went on
immediate public display. It later moved with the museum to its
new location in Manchester. In November 2012, it was ceremonially
presented to Royal Engineers, after they beat Wanderers 7–1 in a
charity replay of the first
FA Cup final.
The redesigned trophy first used in 1911 was larger at 61.5 cm
(24.2 inches) high, and was designed and manufactured by Fattorini's
of Bradford, coincidentally being won by Bradford City in its first
On the 27 March 2016 episode of the
BBC television programme Antiques
Roadshow, this trophy was valued at £1 million by expert Alastair
Dickenson, although he suggested that, due to the design featuring
depictions of grapes and vines, it may not have been specifically
produced for the FA, but was instead an off-the-shelf design
originally meant to be a wine or champagne cooler.
A smaller, but otherwise identical, replica was also made by
Fattorini, the North
FA Cup trophy, and is contested
annually by members of that regional Association.
The current design of the
FA Cup (1992 replica pictured)
The 1992 replica was made by Toye, Kenning and Spencer. A copy of
this trophy was also produced, in case anything happened to the
The 2014 replica was made by Thomas Lyte, handcrafted in sterling 925
silver over 250 hours. A weight increase to increase durability has
taken it to 6.3 kilograms (14 lb).
Each club in the final receives 40 winners or runners-up medals to be
distributed among players, staff, and officials.
In 1914 Burnley won the cup and received unique medals incorrectly
struck as "English Cup Winners". One is displayed at Turf Moor, within
the 1914 collection.
Pre-match ceremony of 2010
FA Cup Final
FA Cup Final showing sponsorship by E.ON
See also: English football sponsorship
Since the start of the 1994–95 season, the
FA Cup has been
sponsored. However, to protect the identity of the competition, the
sponsored name has always included '
The FA Cup' in addition to the
sponsor's name, unlike sponsorship deals for the League Cup where the
word 'cup' is preceded by only the sponsor's name. Sponsorship deals
run for four years, though – as in the case of
E.ON – one-year
extensions may be agreed. Emirates Airline is the sponsor from 2015 to
2018, renaming the competition as 'The Emirates FA Cup', unlike
previous editions, which included '
The FA Cup in association with
E.ON' and '
The FA Cup with Budweiser'.
No main sponsor
The FA Cup
The FA Cup sponsored by Littlewoods
AXA sponsored FA Cup(1998–99)
The FA Cup sponsored by
No main sponsor
The FA Cup
The FA Cup sponsored by E.ON
The FA Cup with Budweiser
No main sponsor
The FA Cup
The Emirates FA Cup
From August 2006 to 2013,
Umbro supplied match balls for all FA Cup
matches. Since March 2013, Nike has supplied the official match ball.
Records and statistics
See also: Football records in England
Most wins: 13:
Arsenal (1930, 1936, 1950, 1971, 1979, 1993, 1998, 2002, 2003, 2005,
2014, 2015, 2017)
Most consecutive wins: 3, joint record:
Wanderers (1876, 1877, 1878)
Blackburn Rovers, (1884, 1885, 1886)
Most appearances in a final: 20:
Arsenal (1927, 1930, 1932, 1936, 1950, 1952, 1971, 1972, 1978, 1979,
1980, 1993, 1998, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2014, 2015, 2017)
Most consecutive/uninterrupted years as
FA Cup Champions: 7,
Portsmouth F.C., (1939-1946)
Most Final appearances without ever winning: 4, Leicester City (1949,
1961, 1963, 1969)
Most Final appearances without ever losing: 5, Wanderers (1872, 1873,
1876, 1877, 1878)
Most Final appearances without losing (streak): 7, Tottenham Hotspur
(1901, 1921, 1961, 1962, 1967, 1981, 1982)
Biggest win: 6 goals: Bury 6–0 Derby County, (1903)
Most goals in a final: 7:
Blackburn Rovers 6–1 Sheffield Wednesday (1890)
Bolton Wanderers (1953)
Most goals by a losing side: 3:
Bolton Wanderers: Lost 3–4 against Blackpool (1953)
West Ham United: Drew 3–3 but lost in a penalty shootout against
Most defeats: 8, Everton (1893, 1897, 1907, 1968, 1985, 1986, 1989,
Ian Rush, the former Liverpool striker and record goalscorer in FA Cup
Ashley Cole won a record seven
FA Cup Finals
Most wins by player: 7,
Ashley Cole (Arsenal) (2002, 2003, 2005) &
(Chelsea) (2007, 2009, 2010, 2012)
Most wins by manager: 7,
Arsène Wenger (Arsenal) (1998, 2002, 2003,
2005, 2014, 2015, 2017),
Most appearances: 9, Arthur Kinnaird (Wanderers) (1872–73,
1875–76, 1876–77, 1877–78) & (Old Etonians) (1874–75,
1878–79, 1880–81, 1881–82, 1882–83)
Most goals (one final): 3,
Billy Townley (Blackburn Rovers) (1890),
James Logan (Notts County) (1894) &
Stan Mortensen (Blackpool)
Most goals (all finals): 5,
Ian Rush (Liverpool) (2 in 1986, 2 in
1989, 1 in 1992)
Most finals scored in: 4,
Didier Drogba (Chelsea) (1 each in 2007,
2009, 2010, 2012)
FA Cup finalist:
Curtis Weston (Millwall), 17 years and 119
Youngest player to score in an
FA Cup Final: Norman Whiteside
(Manchester United), 18 years and 19 days (1983)
Billy Hampson (Newcastle United), 41 years and 257 days
Biggest win: Preston North End 26–0 Hyde (First Round, 15 October
Biggest away win: Clapton 0–14 Nottingham Forest (First Round, 17
Highest attendance at Wembley: 126,047 (official) up to 300,000
(estimate) at the "White Horse Final" (
Bolton Wanderers v. West Ham
United, 28 April 1923)
Most clubs competing for trophy in a season: 763 (2011–12)
Longest tie: 660 minutes (6 matches in total), Oxford City v.
Alvechurch (Fourth Qualifying Round, November 6/9/15/17/20/22 1971;
Alvechurch won the sixth match 1–0)
Longest penalty shootout: 20 penalties each, Tunbridge Wells v.
Littlehampton Town (Preliminary Round Replay, 31 August 2005;
Tunbridge Wells won 16–15)
Most rounds played in a season: 9, for:
Brighton & Hove Albion (1932–33: 1st–4th Qualifying Rounds,
New Brighton (1956–57: Preliminary, 1st–4th Qualifying Rounds,
Blyth Spartans (1977–78: 1st–4th Qualifying Rounds, 1st–5th
Harlow Town (1979–80: Preliminary, 1st–4th Qualifying Rounds,
Most games played in a season: 13, Bideford (1973–74: one First
Qualifying, two Second Qualifying, five Third Qualifying, four Fourth
Qualifying and one First Round)
Fastest goal: 4 seconds, Gareth Morris (for
Ashton United v.
Skelmersdale United, 1st Qualifying Round, 17 September 2001)
Most consecutive games without defeat: 22,
Blackburn Rovers (First
Round, 1884 through Second round, replay, 1886. Won two FA Cups.)
Most consecutive games without defeat: (Excluding defeat by penalty
shoot-out) 29, Chelsea (Third Round Proper, 2009 through Fourth Round
Proper, replay, 2013. Won three FA Cups.)
Fastest hat-trick: 2 min 20 sec, Andy Locke (for Nantwich Town v.
Droylsden, Preliminary Round, August 1995)
Most career goals: 49, Henry "Harry" Cursham (for Notts County in 12
tournaments from 1877–78 to 1888–89).
Most goals by a player in a single
FA Cup season: 19, Jimmy Ross (for
Preston North End, 1887–88. Preston outscored opponents 50–5 over
7 matches, including "Biggest win" shown above.).
Most goals by a player in a single
FA Cup game: 9,
Ted MacDougall (for
AFC Bournemouth in 11–0 defeat of Margate, First Round Proper, 20
Scoreline: Two examples of teams scoring 7 goals and not winning –
Dulwich Hamlet 8–7 St Albans City (Fourth Qualifying Round Replay,
22 November 1922), and Dulwich Hamlet 7–7 Wealdstone (Fourth
Qualifying Round, 16 November 1929).
Youngest player: Andy Awford, 15 years and 88 days (for Worcester City
v. Boreham Wood, 3rd Qualifying Round, 10 October 1987),
Youngest goalscorer: Sean Cato, 16 years and 25 days (for Barrow Town
v. Rothwell Town, Preliminary Round, 3 September 2011)
Youngest goalscorer (proper rounds): George Williams, 16 years and 66
days (for Milton Keynes Dons v. Nantwich Town, First Round Proper, 12
Cup runs and giant killings
The possibility of unlikely victories in the earlier rounds of the
competition, where lower ranked teams beat higher placed opposition in
what is known as a "giant killing", is much anticipated by the public.
Such upsets are considered an integral part of the tradition and
prestige of the competition, and the attention gained by giant-killing
teams can be as great as that for winners of the cup. Almost every
club in the League Pyramid has a fondly remembered giant-killing act
in its history. It is considered particularly newsworthy when a
Premier League team suffers an upset defeat, or where the
giant-killer is a non-league club, i.e. from outside the professional
levels of The Football League.
One analysis of four years of
FA Cup results showed that it was 99.85
per cent likely that at least one team would beat one from its next
higher division in a given year. The probability drops to 48.8 per
cent for a two-division gap, and 39.28 per cent for a three-division
The Football League
The Football League was founded in 1888, 16 years after the first FA
Cup competition. Since the creation of The Football League, Tottenham
Hotspur is the only non-league "giant-killer" to win the Cup, taking
FA Cup with a victory over reigning league runners-up
Sheffield United: although at that time, there were only two divisions
and 36 clubs in the Football League, and Spurs were champions of the
next strongest football league – the Southern League and probably
already good enough for the First Division (as was shown when they
joined the Second Division in 1908 and immediately won promotion to
the First.) Only two other actual non-League clubs have even reached
the final since the founding of the League: Sheffield Wednesday in
1890 (champions of the Football Alliance, a rival league which was
already effectively the Second Division, which it formally became in
1892 – Wednesday being let straight into the First Division), and
Southampton in 1900 and 1902 (in which years they were also Southern
League champions, proving the strength of that league: again, they
were probably of equivalent standard to a First Division club at the
time, but Southampton's form subsequently faded and they did not join
the League till 1920 and the formation of the Third Division.)
Non-league giant killings
The most recent examples of a non-league team (Levels 5 to 10) beating
a Level 1 opponent are National League side Lincoln City's away
Premier League side Burnley in the
2016–17 FA Cup and
Conference Premier side Luton Town's away victory over Level 1 Premier
League's Norwich City in the 2012–13 Fourth Round Proper. Prior to
that game, the last time a non-league side defeated a Level 1 club was
in 1989 when Sutton United claimed a 2–1 victory at home over
Coventry City, who had won the
FA Cup less than two years prior.
In the 1971–72 FA Cup, a non-league side achieved a Level 1 giant
killing that was voted "best
FA Cup tie ever" in a 2007 poll by The
Non-league Hereford United was trailing First
Division Newcastle United 0–1 with less than seven minutes left in
the Third Round Proper replay, when Hereford's Ronnie Radford scored
the equalizer – a goal still shown regularly when
FA Cup fixtures
are broadcast. Hereford finished the shocking comeback by defeating
Newcastle 2–1 in the match.
Some small clubs gain a reputation for being "cup specialists" after
two or more giant killing feats within a few years. Yeovil Town
holds the record for the most victories over league opposition as a
non-league team, having recorded 20 wins through the years before it
achieved promotion into The Football League. The record for a club
which has never entered
The Football League
The Football League is held by Altrincham,
with 17 wins against league teams.
Non-league cup runs
See also: List of non-league clubs in the Fifth Round of the FA Cup
For non-league teams, reaching the Third Round Proper – where all
Level 1 sides now enter – is considered a major achievement. In the
2008–09 FA Cup, a record nine non-league teams achieved this
feat. As of the 2016–17 season, only nine non-league teams have
reached the Fifth Round Proper (final 16) since 1945, and only
Lincoln City have progressed to the Sixth Round (final 8), during the
2016–17 edition of the tournament. Prior to Lincoln's run,
Kidderminster Harriers were the last team to reach the 5th round, in
1994, where they had a chance to inflict a giant-killing of their own
Premier League side. They were drawn at home against West
Ham United in Round 5 but lost 0 - 1 in a close game at Aggborough.
Chasetown, while playing at Level 8 of English football during the
2007–08 competition, are the lowest-ranked team to ever play in the
Third Round Proper (final 64, of 731 teams entered that season).
Chasetown was then a member of the Southern League Division One
Midlands (a lower level within the Southern Football League), when
they lost to
Football League Championship
Football League Championship (Level 2) team
FA Cup runners-up that year. Their success earned the
lowly organisation over £60,000 in prize money.
Giant killings between league clubs
In games between league sides, one of the most notable results was the
1992 victory by Wrexham, last in the previous season's league, over
reigning league champion Arsenal. Another similar shock was when
Shrewsbury Town beat Everton 2–1 in 2003. Everton finished 7th in
Premier League and Shrewsbury Town were relegated to the Football
Conference that same season.
Winners and finalists
FA Cup Final
See also: List of
FA Cup finals
Four clubs have won consecutive FA Cups on more than one occasion:
Wanderers (1872, 1873 and 1876, 1877, 1878),
Blackburn Rovers (1884,
1885, 1886 and 1890, 1891), Tottenham Hotspur (1961, 1962 and 1981,
1982) and Arsenal (2002, 2003 and 2014, 2015).
See also: List of
FA Cup winning managers
The record for most winner's medals for a manager is held by Arsène
Wenger, who has won seven titles with Arsenal (1998, 2002, 2003, 2005,
2014, 2015, 2017).
Seven clubs have won the
FA Cup as part of a League and Cup double,
namely Preston North End (1889), Aston Villa (1897), Tottenham Hotspur
(1961), Arsenal (1971, 1998, 2002), Liverpool (1986), Manchester
United (1994, 1996, 1999) and Chelsea (2010). In 1993, Arsenal became
the first side to win both the
FA Cup and the League Cup in the same
season when they beat Sheffield Wednesday 2–1 in both finals.
Liverpool (in 2001) and Chelsea (in 2007) have since repeated this
feat. In 2012, Chelsea accomplished a different cup double consisting
FA Cup and the 2012 Champions League. In 1998–99, Manchester
United added the 1999 Champions League title to their league and cup
double to complete a unique Treble. Two years later, in 2000–01,
Liverpool won the FA Cup, League Cup and
UEFA Cup to complete a cup
treble. An English Treble has never been achieved.
The FA Cup has only been won by a non-English team once.
achieved this in 1927 when they beat Arsenal in the final at Wembley.
They had previously made it to the final only to lose to Sheffield
United in 1925 and lost another final to Portsmouth in 2008. Cardiff
City is also the only team to win the national cups of two different
countries in the same season, having also won the
Welsh Cup in 1927.
The Scottish team Queen's Park reached and lost the final in both 1884
Outside the top division
Since the creation of the Football League in 1888, the final has never
been contested by two teams from outside the top division, and there
have only been eight winners who were not in the top flight: Notts
County (1894); Tottenham Hotspur (1901); Wolverhampton Wanderers
(1908); Barnsley (1912); West Bromwich Albion (1931); Sunderland
(1973), Southampton (1976) and West Ham United (1980). With the
exception of Tottenham, these clubs were all playing in the second
tier (the old Second Division) – Tottenham were playing in the
Southern League and were only elected to the Football League in 1908,
meaning they are the only non-League winners of the
FA Cup since the
League's creation. Other than Tottenham's victory, only 24 finalists
have come from outside English football's top tier, with a record of 7
wins and 17 runners-up: and none at all from the third tier or lower,
Southampton (1902, then in the Southern League) being the last
finalist from outside the top two tiers.
Sunderland's win in 1973 was considered a major upset, having beaten
Leeds United who finished third in the top flight that season., as
was West Ham's victory over Arsenal in 1980 as the Gunners were in
their third successive
FA Cup Final
FA Cup Final and were also the cup holders from
the previous year as well as just having finished 4th in the First
Division, whereas West Ham had ended the season 7th in Division 2.
This also marked the last time (as of 2017-18) a team from outside the
top division. Uniquely, in 2008 three of the four semi-finalists
Cardiff City and West Bromwich) were from outside the top
division, although the eventual winner was the last remaining
top-flight team, Portsmouth. West Bromwich (1931) are the only
team to have won the
FA Cup and earned promotion to the top flight in
the same season; whereas Wigan Athletic (2013) are the only team to
have won the Cup and been relegated from the top flight in the same
See also: English football on television
FA Cup Final
FA Cup Final is one of 10 events reserved for live broadcast on UK
terrestrial television under the Ofcom Code on Sports and Other Listed
and Designated Events.
In the early years of coverage the
BBC had exclusive radio coverage
with a picture of the pitch marked in the
Radio Times with numbered
squares to help the listener follow the match on the radio. The first
FA Cup Final
FA Cup Final on Radio was in 1926 between
Bolton Wanderers and
Manchester City but this was only broadcast in Manchester, the first
national final on
BBC Radio was between Arsenal and
Cardiff in 1927.
The first final on
BBC Television was in 1937 in a match which
featured Sunderland and Preston North End but this was not televised
in full. The following season's final between Preston and Huddersfield
was covered in full by the BBC. When ITV was formed in 1955 they
shared final coverage with the
BBC in one of the only club matches
shown live on television, during the 1970s and 1980s coverage became
more elaborate with
BBC and ITV trying to steal viewers from the
others by starting coverage earlier and earlier some starting as early
as 9 a.m. which was six hours before kick off. Nowadays, this
continues with Setanta and ESPN having all-day broadcasts from
Wembley, but terrestrial TV coverage usually begins two hours before
kick off. The sharing of rights between
BBC and ITV continued from
1955 to 1988, when ITV lost coverage to the new Sports Channel which
later became Sky Sports.
From 1988 to 1997, the
Sky Sports had coverage of the FA Cup,
BBC had highlights on Match of the Day and usually one match per
round while Sky had the same deal. From 1997 to 2001, ITV and Sky
shared live coverage with both having two matches per round and BBC
continuing with highlights on Match of the Day. From 2002 to 2008, BBC
and Sky again shared coverage with
BBC having two or three matches per
round and Sky having one or two. From 2008–09 to 2013–14, FA Cup
matches are shown live by ITV across
England and Wales, with UTV
Northern Ireland but STV refusing to show them. ITV
FA Cup games per season, including the first pick of live
matches from each of the first to sixth rounds of the competition,
plus one semi-final exclusively live. The final is also shown live on
ITV. Under the same 2008 contract,
Setanta Sports showed three games
and one replay in each round from round three to five, two
quarter-finals, one semi-final and the final. The channel also
broadcast ITV's matches exclusively to Scotland, after the ITV
franchise holder in Scotland, STV, decided not to broadcast FA Cup
games. Setanta entered administration in June 2009 and as a result the
FA terminated Setanta's deal to broadcast FA-sanctioned competitions
England internationals. As a result of Setanta going out of
business ITV showed the competition exclusively in the 2009–10
season with between three and four matches per round, all quarter
finals, semi-finals and final live as the FA could not find a pay TV
broadcaster in time. ESPN bought the competition for the 2010–11 to
2012–13 season and during this time Rebecca Lowe became the first
woman to host the
FA Cup Final
FA Cup Final in the UK.
In October 2009,
The FA announced that ITV would show an additional
match in the First and Second Rounds on ITV, with one replay match
shown on ITV4. One match and one replay match from the first two
rounds will broadcast on
The FA website for free, in a similar
situation to the 2010 World Cup Qualifier between Ukraine and
England. The 2009–10 First Round match between Oldham Athletic
and Leeds United was the first
FA Cup match to be streamed online
BSkyB to make a bid to show some of the remaining
FA Cup games for the remainder of the 2009–10 season which would
include a semi-final and shared rights to the final. ESPN took over
the package Setanta held for the
FA Cup from the 2010–11 season.
The 2011 final was also shown live on
Sky 3D in addition to ESPN (who
provided the 3D coverage for Sky 3D) and ITV. Following the sale
of ESPN's UK and Ireland channels to BT, ESPN's rights package
BT Sport from the 2013–14 season.
BBC Radio 5 Live
BBC Radio 5 Live and
Talksport provides radio coverage including
several full live commentaries per round, with additional commentaries
BBC Local Radio.
Until the 2008–09 season, the
Sky Sports shared television
coverage, with the
BBC showing three matches in the earlier rounds.
Some analysts argued the decision to move away from the Sky and, in
BBC undermined the
FA Cup in the eyes of the public.
The early rounds of the 2008–09 competition were covered for the
first time by ITV's online service, ITV Local. The first match of the
competition, between Wantage Town and Brading Town, was broadcast live
online. Highlights of eight games of each round were broadcast as
catch up on ITV Local. Since
ITV Local closed, this coverage
did not continue.
ITV lost the rights to the
FA Cup beginning with the 2014–15 FA Cup,
terrestrial rights will return to
BBC Sport, with the final being
BBC One while
BT Sport hold the pay TV rights. Under this
BBC will show around the same number of games as ITV and
still having the first pick for each round.
Matches involving Welsh clubs are sometimes exclusively broadcast on
Welsh language channel S4C, which is also available to view across the
rest of the United Kingdom on satellite and cable television, and
through the channel's website. A similar arrangement is shared
Wales from 2014–15, potentially giving the
extra match per round.
See also: List of
FA Cup broadcasters
The FA sells overseas rights separately from the domestic contract.
First Round to the Semi-finals are broadcast exclusively by ESPN
Australia; final co-broadcast with SBS. Due to Australian
anti-siphoning laws, the
FA Cup Final
FA Cup Final is on a list of sporting events,
that must first be offered to national television broadcasters and
commercial free-to-air television broadcasters before rights can be
acquired by a subscription television broadcaster.
Supersport, since 2015–16
Tring Sport, since 2009–10
Eleven Sports Network, since 2015–2016
Prime, 2008–09 – 2011–12
Sportsnet World, since 2011–12
Setanta Sports, 2008–09 – 2010–11
SBS Discovery Channel (Kanal 5, 6'eren, 7'eren), since 2012–13
beIN Sport, since 2012–13
France Télévisions, 2008–09 – 2011–12
Sony Six & Sony ESPN, since 2012–13
Fox Sports, since 2013–14
SKY Italia, 2003–04 – 2011–12, Mediaset Premium, 2012–13
FOX Sports, since 2010–11
Match TV, since 2015–16
Teledeporte, since 2016–17
TV10, since 2013–14
Fox Sports will feature
FA Cup games split between Fox
Fox Sports 2,
Fox Soccer Plus
Fox Soccer Plus and the broadcast Fox network,
with the Final being on Fox.
English football portal
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^ Since 1920, when the Football League expanded to three divisions, no
club from outside the top two divisions has reached the final. Since
1914, when QPR reached the fourth round proper (the last
eight/quarter-final stage), the only non-league club to have reached
that stage is Lincoln City in 2017.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to FA Cup.
The FA Cup Archive – England's official Football Association site,
all results with dates, including all qualifying rounds
FA Cup website
Thomas Fattorini Ltd. makers of the 1911
FA Cup – manufacturers of
FA Cup and other sporting trophies
FA Cup going under the hammer –
BBC News story on the sale of the
FA Supporters – Independent
FA Cup Supporters Club
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