Everything you need to know and more about the FA Cup.
It’s the oldest club football cup competition in the world dating back to 1872 when Wanderers beat Royal Engineers 1-0 in the final at the Kennington Oval.
The London-based club, made up mostly of former public schoolboys, went on to win it a further five times over the next eight years. They haven’t won it since.
The trophy itself is instantly recognisable, but did you know that the two-handled silver cup we’ve all come to know and love isn’t the original?
It’s only been around since 2014 and is a replica of the one, then a totally new design, which replaced a replica of the original back in 1911. The original FA Cup was stolen back in 1895 and has never been recovered.
Aston Villa were subsequently fined £25 by the FA as they were responsible for its safe keeping at the time, having won it for the second time in their history when they beat local rivals West Brom 1-0 in the final earlier that year.
Incidentally, the only goal of that game was scored by Villa’s Bob Chatt after just 30 seconds. It remained the fasted goal in FA Cup final history until Louis Saha scored after 25 seconds for Everton against Chelsea in the 2009 final.
The final has been played at Wembley every year since 1923 with the exception of 2001-2006 when it was held at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff as the new Wembley Stadium was under construction.
Here are some other interesting facts and figures about the FA Cup:
1. Arsenal have won the FA Cup a record 14 times. The Gunners have appeared in the final 21 times in all (another record).
2. Wanderers (1876-78) and Blackburn (1884-86) are the only clubs to have won the trophy three years in succession.
3. Everton and Man Utd share the unhappy record of most defeats in the final (eight apiece).
4. Leicester City have reached the final four times but have yet to win the cup which is a record. Could this be their year?
5. Tottenham are the only non-league club to have won the FA Cup (1901). Sixty years later they became the first team to win the league and cup double.
5. The highest winning margin in cup final history is 6-0. Bury beat Derby County by that score in 1903, a record they held on their own until Man City did the same to Watford in the 2019 decider.
6. The first player to be sent off in an FA Cup final was Republic of Ireland international Kevin Moran of Man Utd in 1985.
7. Another unwanted record with Republic of Ireland links belongs to John Aldridge who became the first player to miss a penalty in an FA Cup final at Wembley when Wimbledon’s Dave Beasant made a famous save in 1988.
8. Ashley Cole holds the player record for the most winners’ medals with seven. He won it in 2002, 2003 and 2005 with Arsenal before enjoying further success with Chelsea (2007, 2009, 2010 and 2012).
9. Former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger holds the record for the most FA Cups won as a manager, also with seven. He oversaw the Gunners’ 1998, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2014, 2015 and 2017 triumphs.
10. Ted MacDougall of AFC Bournemouth holds the record for the most goals in a single FA Cup match, netting a mere nine times against Margate in a first round tie back in 1971.
11. Former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba has scored in a record four finals (2007, 2009, 2010 and 2012).
12. Northern Ireland international Norman Whiteside is the youngest player ever to score in an FA Cup final. He was just 18 yrs and 19 days old when he netted in the replay for Man Utd against Brighton in 1983.
13. Blackpool’s Stan Mortensen is the only person to score a hat-trick in the final, netting three times in the 4-3 victory over Bolton in 1953.
14. The third round tie between eighth tier Marine and Premier League Tottenham in January marked the biggest ranking gap between two teams in the history of the competition (161 places).
***See FIVE FA Cup 5th round ties LIVE on eir sport this week.