The FA Cup (Football Association Challenge Cup) is the oldest existing football competition. It is the oldest among all tournaments as well as all leagues that still exist today. The first edition was played in the 1871-1872 season and the FA Cup has been held once a year since then (with exception for interruptions during the first and the second World War). In the beginning, the FA Cup also included Scottish and Welsh clubs. A Welsh club, Cardiff City won the Cup in 1927. No Scottish clubs have won the tournament with Queen's Park, reaching the final twice, nearest a victory. The competition should not be confused with semi-professional competition FA Trophy.
All the winners and runners-up trough the years of the FA Cup.
|2015-2016||Manchester United||Crystal Palace|
|2012-2013||Wigan Athletic||Manchester City|
|2010-2011||Manchester City||Stoke City|
|1998-1999||Manchester United||Newcastle United|
|1990-1991||Tottenham Hotspur||Nottingham Forest|
|1989-1990||Manchester United||Crystal Palace|
|1986-1987||Coventry City||Tottenham Hotspur|
|1982-1983||Manchester United||Brighton & Hove Albion|
|1981-1982||Tottenham Hotspur||Queens Park Rangers|
|1980-1981||Tottenham Hotspur||Manchester City|
|1979-1980||West Ham United||Arsenal|
|1974-1975||West Ham United||Fulham|
|1968-1969||Manchester City||Leicester City|
|1967-1968||West Bromwich Albion||Everton|
|1963-1964||West Ham United||Preston North End|
|1962-1963||Manchester United||Leicester City|
|1960-1961||Tottenham Hotspur||Leicester City|
|1959-1960||Wolverhampton Wanderers||Blackburn Rovers|
|1958-1959||Nottingham Forest||Luton Town|
|1957-1958||Bolton Wanderers||Manchetsr United|
|1956-1957||Aston Villa||Manchester United|
|1955-1956||Manchester City||Birmingham City|
|1954-1955||Newcastle United||Manchester City|
|1953-1954||West Bromwich Albion||Preston North End|
|1948-1949||Wolverhampton Wanderers||Leicester City|
|1945-1946||Derby County||Charlton Athletic|
|1937-1938||Preston North End||Huddersfield Town|
|1936-1937||Sunderland||Preston North End|
|1934-1935||Sheffield Wednesday||West Bromwich Albion|
|1930-1931||West Bromwich Albion||Birmingham|
|1927-1928||Blackburn Rovers||Huddersfield Town|
|1925-1926||Bolton Wanderers||Manchester City|
|1924-1925||Sheffield United||Cardiff City|
|1923-1924||Newcastle United||Aston Villa|
|1922-1923||Bolton Wanderers||West Ham|
|1921-1922||Huddersfield Town||Preston North End|
|1920-1921||Tottenham Hotspur||Wolverhampton Wanderers|
|1919-1920||Aston Villa||Huddersfield Town|
|1911-1912||Barnsley||West Bromwich Albion|
|1908-1909||Manchester United||Bristol City|
|1907-1908||Wolverhampton Wanderers||Newcastle United|
|1904-1905||Aston Villa||Newcastle United|
|1903-1904||Manchester City||Bolton Wanderers|
|1900-1901||Tottenham Hotspur||Sheffield United|
|1898-1899||Sheffield United||Derby County|
|1897-1898||Nottingham Forest||Derby County|
|1895-1896||The Wednesday||Wolverhampton Wanderers|
|1894-1895||Aston Villa||West Bromwich Albion|
|1893-1894||Notts County||Bolton Wanderers|
|1891-1892||West Bromwich Albion||Aston Villa|
|1890-1891||Blackburn Rovers||Notts County|
|1889-1890||Blackburn Rovers||The Wednesday|
|1888-1889||Preston North End||Wolverhampton Wanderers|
|1887-1888||West Bromwich Albion||Preston North End|
|1886-1887||Aston Villa||West Bromwich Albion|
|1885-1886||Blackburn Rovers||West Bromwich Albion|
|1884-1885||Blackburn Rovers||Queen's Park|
|1883-1884||Blackburn Rovers||Queen's Park|
|1882-1883||Blackburn Olympic||Old Etonians|
|1881-1882||Old Etonians||Blackburn Rovers|
|1880-1881||Old Carthusians||Old Etonians|
|1879-1880||Clapham Rovers||Oxford University|
|1878-1879||Old Etonians||Clapham Rovers|
|1874-1875||Royal Engineers||Old Etonians|
|1873-1874||Oxford University||Royal Engineers|
The first edition of Football Association Challenge Cup (FA Cup) was held in the 1871-1872 season and was contested by twelve British teams (after three teams decided to withdraw). The first FA Cup matches ever, four on the same day, were played on 11 November 1871. The first final was played the following spring at the Kennington Oval, in which Wanderers defeated Royal Engineers 1-0.
Wanderers would also win the following edition, but they were helped in the second season by the rule that stipulated that the current champions were directly qualified for the final (the rule was abandoned after that tournament).
More and more teams participated every year – over 40 teams entered the competition in 1877 and over 50 in 1879. The 1879-1880 edition also involved several clubs known by the modern audience, such as Aston Villa, Blackburn Rovers and Nottingham Forest. In the 1883-1884 season, the tournament reached 100 registered teams.
The FA Cup was once upon a time the biggest sport event in the world. The final that was played at Crystal Palace in 1913 gathered 121,000 people. The attendance was a world record. In these days the stadiums were not build to hold that amount of people; therefore, many stood in rows at the field between the stands with bad overview of the action.
In 1923, when the final was played at Wembley for the first time, the attendance was even bigger. There is no official figure, but it has been estimated to around 200,000!
The competition has been dominated by English teams, but other British countries have been represented as well. The Scottish Queen's Park was playing in the first editions and Rangers reached the semi-finals in 1886-1887. A few other Scottish sides has been part of the competition through its history.
Several teams from Wales have been part of the FA Cup, including Cardiff City who became the first Welch side to win the tournament in 1927. Another Welch team that have performed great in the FA Cup is Swansea City.
A few teams from Northern Ireland also participated in the 19th century. Among these, Cliftonville performed best by reaching the third round once.
Venue for the final
The FA Cup final is for many football fans associated with Wembley Stadium. This is an old tradition: Wembley has been the venue for the final since 1924 (with exceptions for interruption between 2001 and 2006 when the stadium was renovated and Millenium Stadium served as venue for the final). Before Wembley came to be the choice for the final, Crystal Palace was for many years (1895-1914) the venue for the final. And before that it was Kennington Oval (with one exception in 1873 when the final took place at Lillie Bridge).
Teams with most titles
A list of clubs that have won the FA Cup most times, concerning the period 1872-2020.
|West Bromwich Albion||5|
In total, 43 different clubs have won the cup through its history. Manchester United become the first club claming ten titles after winning in 1999.
Teams with most finals
List of clubs that have played in the FA Cup final most times, concerning the period 1872-2020.
|West Bromwich Albion||10|
Arsenal become the first club to reach 20 finals in 2017.
Teams and first participation
List of selected clubs with the year of first participation.
|Wanderers||1871-72||Winner of the 1st FA Cup|
|Tottenham Hotspur||1881-82||as Hotspur|
|Birmingham City||1881-82||as Small Heath Alliance|
|Bolton Wanderers FC||1881-82|
|Preston North End||1883-84|
|Stoke City||1883-84||as Stoke|
|West Bromwich Albion||1884-85|
|Watford||1886-87||as Watford Rovers|
|Manchester United||1889-90||as Newton Heath|
|Arsenal||1890-91||as Royal Arsenal|
FA Cup timeline
1871 The competition is established as Football Association Challenge Cup.
1872 The first final is played between Wanderers and Royal Engineers.
1890 William Townley become the first player to score a hat-trick in an FA Cup final.
1923 The final is for the first time played at Wembley Stadium.
1927 The FA Cup final is for the first time broadcast by BBC.
1938 The FA Cup final is for the first time broadcast live on television.
1972 For the first time a penalty shootout decide the outcome in an FA Cup final.
1989 In the semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham at the Hillsborough stadium, 96 died in a crush of people.
2012 Ashley Cole become the first player to win the FA Cup seven times (3 times with Arsenal, 4 times with Chelsea).