The Start of the FA Cup
The FA Cup is recognised all around the world as the oldest and greatest cup competition on the globe. Tiny village teams can find themselves up against the giants of the game should they get through the early rounds of the competition. The Cup has thrown up some memorable moments, Hereford knocking Newcastle United Football Club out in 1972, Wrexham surpassing Arsenal on a crazy matchday in 1992 and Sutton United taking out Coventry City in 1989.
All of these giant-killings happened in the FA Cup. The Cup was founded in 1871 with its full name of the Football Association Challenge Cup. The laws of the game of association football had only been developed eight years earlier and it was decided that a challenge cup for the Football Association members would be a good idea. And so in 1871/72 the very first FA Cup was competed.
The FA Cup has become synonymous with underdogs and David and Goliath moments. With all-action games and moments that have made careers. With elation and heartbreak. Every football fan in England looks out for their fixtures whenever their club enters the competition every season.
In recent decades the Cup has had sponsorship and from 2015 has been known as the Emirates FA Cup.
Early FA Cup Seasons
At the kick-off of the FA Cup it was Wanderers who won that first 1871/72 trophy, defeating Royal Engineers in the final at the Kennington Oval. Wanderers are one of the old names of English football formed in Leytonstone, London and made up mainly of the best public school players in the country. They would go on to win the competition the following season in a final played at Lillie Bridge and subsequently a further three times. Separating their successes was a win for Oxford University (1873/74) and Royal Engineers (1874/75).
It would not be until 1883/84 that a club still in the upper reaches of the English football pyramid would win the trophy. Blackburn Rovers were the victors that season. They beat the Scottish club Queen's Park in the final for two successive seasons. At that time the competition was open to all clubs in the United Kingdom.
Aston Villa, West Bromwich Albion, Preston North End, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Notts County, Nottingham Forest and Sheffield United would all win the trophy before the turn of the 20th century.
With a couple of exceptions the final was played mainly at Crystal Palace until 1922/23 when Wembley Stadium took over the staging. Apart from a brief stint at the Millennium Stadium while Wembley was being rebuilt, it has been held at Wembley from then on.
Top FA Cup Teams
Arsenal are the most successful FA Cup team in the history of the competition. They have won the trophy 14 times. Their first success came in 1930 and their last in 2020 in a game against London rivals Chelsea. The French manager Arsene Wenger managed seven Arsenal teams that won the competition, more than any other manager.
Manchester United have win the FA Cup 12 times, with their first in 1909 and their last in 2016. That last triumph went to extra-time at Wembley with Jesse Lingard providing the winning goal. Manchester United have contributed to some amazing FA Cup matches. In 1990 an amazing semi-final with Oldham Athletic and then a spellbinding final with Crystal Palace. A Norman Whiteside winner against Everton in 1985 and Jimmy Greenhoff's winner in the final against Liverpool in 1977.
Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur have both won the FA Cup on eight separate occasions. Of the 23 clubs who have won the FA Cup Chelsea won their first the latest in 1970 and their last in 2018.
Of Tottenham's eight wins, five of them have come in a year that ends in a 'one'.
Eight clubs have won the FA Cup six or more times; Liverpool (7), Aston Villa (7), Newcastle United (6), Manchester City (6) and Blackburn Rovers (6).
The 2020/21 FA Cup Season
Leicester City were victorious in with their first ever FA Cup Final success in 2020/21. The Foxes followed their Premier League championship triumph of 2015/16 with success in the world's most famous cup competition. Overcoming Chelsea in the final with a goal from Belgian midfielder Youri Tielemans, Leicester beat Southampton in the semi-finals, Manchester United in the quarters and Brighton and Hove Albion in the fifth round. Leicester beat Brentford in the fourth round (Brentford ended up being promoted out of the EFL later in the season).
Chelsea's cup fixtures had included a semi-final victory against Manchester City and a win over Sheffield United in the quarter-finals.
736 teams entered the competition at the start with first round ties that included names such as Skelmersdale United, Banbury United and FC United of Manchester.
The 2021/22 FA Cup
FA Cup Tickets 2022 are now on sale. Get ticket prices at Ticket4Football.com
The Final will be held at Wembley Stadium on 14th May 2022. Teams contesting are tbc.
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