by Bulldog Drummond
And so, the FA Cup.
Derided by the anti-Arsenal-Arsenal and dismissed by the Arrogant Amnesiacs with Asssumptions, undoubtedly in both cases because Arsenal are rather successsful at it, but still a competition of some merit and worth in my view.(as anyone who has had the pleasure of being at an FA Cup final with Arsenal will attest) – we have the FA Cup.
Here’s the record of winners in the order of number of wins. It is probably something you won’t see in too many other places – for obvious reasons – although it is on Wikipedia.
|Club||Wins||First win||Last win||Runners-up||Total final appearances|
And we can also have a look at the winning managers’ list – again because you won’t find it published in too many other blogs or media outlets.
George Ramsey is equal with Mr Wenger but we should note that his victories included years such as 1887 when 124 teams entered. In that year seven of the games in the first round were declared either a “walkover”, or “void” because of technical irregularities like having 12 men on the pitch, or a team was kicked out (for playing a professional player).
Five of the first round matches had one team scoring ten or more goals (and that was when three defenders plus the keeper had to be between the man receiving the ball and the goal, to avoid being offside), and another 11 teams scored five or more. The top score was Notts County 15 Basford Rovers 0.
In that season the Scottish club Rangers got through to the semi-final and ultimately Villa beat WBA 2-0 in the final. This season by comparison 736 clubs entered.
Mr Wenger has taken 17 years to win his six FA Cups, George Ramsay took 33 years, although to be fair that only included 29 FA Cup seasons. Here are the details…
|Arsène Wenger||Arsenal||1998, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2014, 2015|
|George Ramsay||Aston Villa||1887, 1895, 1897, 1905, 1913, 1920|
|Thomas Mitchell||Blackburn Rovers||1884, 1885, 1886, 1890, 1891|
|Alex Ferguson||Manchester United||1990, 1994, 1996, 1999, 2004|
|John Nicholson||Sheffield United||1899, 1902, 1915, 1925|
|Charles Foweraker||Bolton Wanderers||1923, 1926, 1929|
|Bill Nicholson||Tottenham Hotspur||1961, 1962, 1967|
Interestingly in that list we find Thomas Mitchell who was also an Arsenal manager. Despite having great success on the pitch with his Woolwich Arsenal team he fell out with the club’s management (the notorious Committee which often seemed to have a weird view of the world) and left the club before he could give Arsenal their first trophy.
That first trophy came with Herbert Chapman who took Arsenal to their first final in 1927 and then won the Cup for the first time in 1930. He only won the Cup once, as did his long term successor (George Allison) and his successor Tom Whittaker. Indeed not only did each with the Cup once, they also all won the league twice. (The other league title of the era was won by Joe Shaw as manager).
Anyway, times change and move on and now it seems we are not going to watch the Sixth Round of the Cup tomorrow but rather the Quarter Final – an innovation for this year. And there will be no replays as there used to be in the sixth round. It will be the match, plus extra time, plus penalties.
And here’s another bit of history changing. If the game goes into extra time then the teams can use a fourth substitute if they wish.
For those of us who took pleasure in Arsenal’s last trophy the run through looked like this
|25.01.2015||r4||Brighton and Hove A||away||W3-2|
That tie on 9 March in what was the sixth round in those days, was one that we were expected to lose. Man U and Arsenal were very close in the table but Man U had a very strong home record with 11 wins in the league thus far. The league table at the time showed…
Last season we lost to Watford at home in the sixth round, a game we were expected to win, and many of us hoped could be the next stage to winning the FA Cup three times running – something not done since the days of The Wanderers and a very strong Blackburn team.
By the day of the match the table looked like this…
|5||West Ham United||7||5||2||22||14||6||5||4||23||19||+12||49|
|11||West Bromwich Albion||6||4||5||19||20||4||5||5||11||16||-6||39|
Which just goes to show that quite a lot can go wrong in the FA Cup – which is why our record and Mr Wenger’s record remains the envy of most other clubs.
The latest from the Arsenal History Society
We are currently 90% of the way through the most detailed review of Arsenal in the 1930s (the era that made Arsenal into one of the greatest teams) ever written. The latest articles are
- Arsenal in October 1938: the champions stagnating in mid-table
- August/September 1938. The start of the end.
- George Hunt: the first ever player to move from Tottenham Hotspur to Arsenal
- Arsenal in the summer: 1938. The Nazi salute; the world record signing.
The Arsenal History Society publishes numerous series of articles exploring different aspects of Arsenal’s history. You can find an index to all the series to date on the Society’s web site