- The FA Cup is the world’s oldest national football competition.
- It’s one of the most important occasions of the domestic season.
- SportsLeo takes a look at FA Cup’s history and headline stats.
The FA Cup is the world’s oldest national football competition, first played in the 1871-72 season.
For much of sporting history, the FA Cup final has been one of the most important occasions of the domestic season, with fans from both teams and neutrals from all over the world tuning in to watch.
While the FA Cup no longer has the same clout it once did, especially in comparison to the more lucrative Premier League or European competitions, it is still hugely important to fans of many teams, and the cup final day in May remains a special event for the fans and teams who make it to Wembley Stadium.
SportsLeo takes a look at FA Cup’s history and headline stats.
How To Qualify
The competition has been running since 1871-72, making it the world’s oldest football competition. Every year, two billion people around the world watch the football tournament.
To qualify for the tournament, clubs in the top ten divisions of the English football league system must meet specific stadium requirements at their home stadiums. The FA Cup Final is held at the end of the league season as the showpiece finale of the English football season.
The First FA Cup Winner
The first FA Cup final was held in 1872, and Wanderers FC, a team made up primarily of former public school students, won the competition.
The Wanderers defeated the Royal Engineers 1-0 in the final, held at London’s Kennington Oval.
Which Team has the Most FA Cup Titles?
Arsenal has the most FA Cup victories, having lifted the trophy 14 times in club history.
The North London club won the FA Cup for the first time in 1930 and again in 2020. Many of Arsenal’s FA Cup victories have come recently, with the club winning the trophy eight times in 22 years, from 1998 to 2020.
Their success coincided with Arsene Wenger’s tenure as Arsenal’s manager, during which he frequently lifted the FA Cup. The period was defined by rivalry with Manchester United, significantly earlier in his tenure at the club. Both teams found themselves regularly competing for Premier League and FA Cup trophies.
Manchester United is the next most successful FA Cup team, having won the competition 12 times. Their first FA Cup triumph came in 1909, and their most recent triumph came in 2016.
Between 1998 and 2005, one of these two teams won the competition six times, with Arsenal defeating United on penalties in the 2005 final after a 0-0 draw.
The Manager with the Most Titles
Arsene Wenger is the manager with the most FA Cup victories, having won the showpiece event seven times during his tenure as Arsenal’s manager.
Wenger is also the only manager to have won the final at both the old and new Wembley Stadiums and the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, where it was held while the new Wembley Stadium was being built.
George Ramsay, whose Aston Villa side won the FA Cup six times between 1887 and 1920, is the manager with the following most FA Cup victories.
Most Decorated Player
Ashley Cole has had the most success in the FA Cup.
The England left-back was a member of the Arsenal team that won the FA Cup in 2002, 2003, and 2005.
He made a controversial move to Chelsea, where he won the trophy four more times: in 2007, 2009, 2010, and 2012.
Youngest Player To Score In An FA Cup Final
At 18, Norman Whiteside signed a professional contract with Manchester United and quickly established himself as a star.
He is still the youngest player to play in a World Cup, the youngest to score in the League Cup, and the youngest to score in an FA Cup final.
Whiteside scored the FA Cup final goal in 1983. Brighton held United to a 2-2 draw but won the replay 4-0, with the teenager scoring five minutes after Bryan Robson’s opener.
Which player has scored the most goals in the FA Cup finals?
Ian Rush, a Welsh Liverpool legend, holds that honour. It’s appropriate, given that he currently has the most goals in FA Cup history.
Rush scored braces in two FA Cup finals for Liverpool and once in 1992 final, bringing his total to five, a record that has yet to be broken. Rush won the FA Cup three times with Liverpool during his illustrious and successful career.