The Football Association Challenge Cup was the first knock out competition of its type when it was founded back in 1871 and it remains the oldest cup competition in World football. Over 150 years have passed but the magic of the cup is still extremely strong with over 700+ teams battling it out to ultimately make that journey across the hallowed turf at Wembley in May. From non-league teams causing major shocks over their league rivals, to mass pitch invasions and dramatic last-minute winners, it’s all part of the fabric of cup football that still to this day creates special moments that will live long in our memories for generations to come.
So after over 150 years of competition we thought we’d take a look at the record breakers that have made FA Cup history.
Most successful side: Arsenal
The Gunners have lifted the famous old cup on 14 occasions which is two ahead of their nearest rivals Manchester United who have 12 titles. The team from North London also holds the record for most appearances in the final by remining one of the last two teams left in the competition on 21 occasions which once again pips Manchester United by just one appearance. The two most successful teams in FA Cup history have met twice in the final and Arsenal triumphed in both matches back in 1979 and 2005.
Most successful manager: Arsene Wenger
Frenchman, Arsene Wenger is the most successful manager in FA Cup history with an astonishing seven titles in just 19 years whilst in charge at Arsenal. His final victory came in 2017 which edged him past the Aston Villa manager George Ramsay who had won it six times between 1887-1920. Only two managers have won the FA Cup with two different teams, Herbert Chapman (Huddersfield Town & Arsenal) and Billy Walker (Sheffield Wednesday & Nottingham Forest). Just one man has successfully retained the trophy on three consecutive occasions, James Feilding of Blackburn Rovers who lifted the cup three times on the bounce between 1884-1886.
Most wins as a player: Ashley Cole
The marauding England international left-back has lifted the FA Cup seven times for two different clubs. His first three medals came during his time at Arsenal under the pupillage of Arsene Wenger between 2002-05 but after a long-protracted transfer saga he moved across London to Chelsea in 2006 where he added a further four winners medals to his collection. The attacking full back played in eight finals in total, winning seven of them. However, the most appearances in FA Cup finals actually goes to Arthur Kinnaird who made nine appearances for the Wanderers and Old Etonians between 1872 and 1883 winning it five times.
Most goals in a FA Cup final: Seven
This has happened on two occasions; first time was in the 1890 final when William Townley’s scored the first ever hat-trick in a FA Cup Final to help Blackburn Rovers beat Sheffield Wednesday 6-1. The other time was in the famous Stanley Matthews final in 1953 between Blackpool and Bolton Wanderers. Wing wizard Sir Stanley Matthews inspired a dramatic fightback for Blackpool, coming back from 3-1 down to win 4-3. The Seasiders forward, Stan Mortensen also deserves a special mention for his exploits that day after he bagged a hat-trick in front of 100k spectators at Wembley Stadium.
Most goals scored in FA Cup finals: Ian Rush
The prolific Welsh striker scored goals for fun and the FA Cup final was no exception. The Liverpool frontman scored five goals in three FA Cup Finals to help the Reds win all three. Rushie played a key part in each final, scoring the decisive goals in each game to help send the Reds back home to Anfield with the cup. Unfortunately for Merseyside neighbours Everton, four of the goals came against them. He is also the second all-time FA Cup top goal scorer with 44 FA Cup career goals which is only beaten by Notts County’s Harry Cursham who scored 50 goals.
Youngest player to score in a FA Cup Final: Norman Whiteside
Manchester United’s Norman Whiteside still holds the record for being the youngest goal scorer in a FA Cup final, the recently turned 18 year old scored United’s second goal in the 1983 FA Cup final against Brighton & Hove Albion which they eventually went on to win after a replay. He will also be remembered for his screamer that beat Neville Southall in the 1985 FA Cup final to give ten men United a 1-0 victory against Everton.
Team Top Goal Scorers: Kettering Town
Kettering Town currently hold the record for most FA Cup goals scored with 904, but with the heavyweights due to enter the action in the 3rd round that could potentially change again before the end of May. Tottenham Hotspur have 903 FA Cup goals to their name whilst local rivals Arsenal have 882.
What is your favourite FA Cup memory?
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