Arsenal v Reading: Arsène Wenger extends his FA Cup record

By Tony Attwood

It’s getting a bit boring talking about our record of WWWWWWWWWWW or whatever it is these days so I thought I might try and fill in a bit of time this week by building up to the little ol’ game at Wemberleeee on Saturday.

Meanwhile, and speaking of which, although the press have finally managed to recognise that we are winning games quite a bit, they have missed the fact that by getting ourselves into the semi-final, Arsenal secured their 28th FA Cup semi-final in a record dating back to the days of Woolwich Arsenal, who reached the semis in 1906 and 1907.  28th is the highest number of semis any club has achieved.

But more, this appearance also secured another place in history for Arsène Wenger.  He had already had more semi-finals to his name than any other manager (10) and now by a process of addition that reaches 11 this weekend.  His nearest rival, Sir Alex F word, only achieved nine, and that entity of course is no longer managing.

And there is a record for Arsenal too.

Before the quarter final match on 9 March 2015 both clubs had 27 semi-finals each – it was the defeat of Manchester Utd at Old Trafford that took us ahead and into the lead.  This weekend we go ahead with 28.

A similar proximity arises when one looks at actual appearances in the final: before that game both clubs had won 18 and lost 9 of their semi-finals.

Of the finals competed, Arsenal have won 11 and lost 7 – exactly the same as Manchester Utd.  So a win in the semi-final would beat that record too.

Sadly Black Sheep didn’t get a ticket this year for the semi-final, what with their being such a pathetic number of tickets available for Arsenal, but Andrew and I did so we’ll be there, doing out bit at representing the older section of the community.  And Untold.

Thinking of Reading, we’ll all immediately think of the couple of times we played them in games that had BIG scores…

Reading 5 Arsenal 7

This was so jolly we wrote it up twice.

A repeat of that score would go down well, but preferably with the fact of Reading being 4-0 up with 37 minutes not part of the deal.   We got back, you may recall, to 4-4 in stoppage time and then scored three more in extra time as Reading crumbled.

There’s another couple of the old time Untold pieces you might like to note

But there is more to us and Reading than this.  In fact there is a very curious coincidence which I stumbled upon when I put together a list of Arsenal’s semi-finals for publication on the Arsenal History Society site.

For I noticed that our third semi-final (1927) was also the year of the only Reading semi-final.   We missed each other that semi, and with Arsenal winning to make their first ever appearance in the final, and Reading losing, the two clubs didn’t meet.

So, for want of anything else to do I looked up how it all went 88 years ago.

Arsenal in 1927 were managed by Herbert Chapman.  He’d come in, in 1925, and not won anything yet.  He said it would take five years to win things, and when he didn’t win anything after five years he resigned.  His resignation was thankfully rejected by Sir Henry Norris.  And then the winning started.

So to put it all in context, when the 1927 Cup came around Arsenal had never won a major trophy, but had just recorded their best ever appearance in the League – coming second in 1926, and the team was obviously building.

The method of running the FA in 1927 was much the same as now, with the non-league teams playing in the qualifying rounds, the third division (formed in 1921 and from 1922 divided into north and south sections) entering in the 1st round proper.  The first and second division clubs entered in round 3.

So how did it go in 1926/7?

1st round: Reading drew 4-4 with Weymouth and then beat them 5-0, with both games at home presumably because of the smallness of the Weymouth ground.

2nd round: Reading beat Southend 3-2 at home.

3rd round: Reading beat Man U 2-1 after two drawn games while Arsenal beat Sheffield U 3-2 away

4th round: Reading beat Portsmouth 3-1 at home while Arsenal beat Port Vale 1-0 at home after a 2-2 draw away.

5th round: Reading beat Brentford 1-0 at home while Arsenal beat Liverpool 2-0 at home.

6th round: Reading beat Swansea away 3-1 while Arsenal beat Wolverhampton 2-1 at home

So in the cup semi-final of 1927 we could have met Reading but didn’t.  Instead it was Cardiff 3 Reading 0 at Molineux, while it was Arsenal 1 Southampton 0 at Stamford Bridge.

We’ll have more oddities from Arsenal against Reading in due course.

Some early Arsenal anniversaries…

14 April 1923: John “Alex” Mackie played his first international for Ireland at the age of just 20.  Forever condemned to be known for the false story about demanding a monkey as a signing on fee he was actually very talented and played over 100 games for Arsenal.

14 April 1933: Despite winning the league Arsenal only got one 60,000 crowd – on this day for Arsenal 4 Sheffield W 2 (Hulme 2, Lambert and Bastin).  Arsenal scored 13 in the first three league games of April.

14 April 1934: Arsenal Reserves v Watford Reserves advertised as “Admission 7d (including tax).”  Approx half a penny in 2015 prices.





36 Replies to “Arsenal v Reading: Arsène Wenger extends his FA Cup record”

  1. When did reaching the semi final become such an achievement? Ok, so we’ve done exceptionally well on our cup run and on current form look likely to go through to the final, but these stats are quite meaningless: a bit like the “fourth place trophy”. Who really is bothered how many semis a club has appeared in?
    Hope the match isn’t as heart attack inducing as the previous cup meeting between our clubs.

  2. Don’t remember Reading crumbling in the 7-5. The Arsenal 4th goal was scored in the 7th minute of the 5 minutes of extra time. The 7th came in the dying seconds at 6-5 withi Reading throwing everything forward for an equaliser. Admittedly class showed through, but there was no crumbling.

  3. @ Tailgunner

    It depends on whether one sees the cup as half empty or half full…….or whether one is just looking for reasons not to be complimentary to the club.

    Do you suppose the club that wins the Championship this season will see it as a failure simply because it is not the Premiership.

    I look for reasons to support the club rather than criticise them………..

  4. I just hope to see Debuchy start that one, and in central defence, Chambers and Kos.

  5. Goonermikey
    I don’t know where you get the idea that I’m criticising the club as I’ve been nothing but complimentary, but if I were in an argument with a United supporter over which of our clubs is the greatest I certainly wouldn’t play the “most semi finals” card.
    I see winning the Chapionship as a worthy accomplishment .

  6. In 1943 Arsenal played Reading in an FA cup semi-final & won 2-1.In the final we played Charlton A.&beat them 7-1.Yes it was only a war-time competition but it was memorable since several of the great 1930s team were playing that day.Reg Lewis scored 4 & Ted Drake 2.My hero Denis Compton got the other one.I saw the Wembley match (90,000 present despite the War) as a reward for having just passed the old 11+ exam.

  7. Tailgunner
    I am with goonermickey on this one, if not being critical as such you are guilty of belittling the clubs achievements. There are many, many clubs who would love to have just one or two ‘fourth place trophies’ to cherish, and ask any of the clubs who regularly get knocked out of the cup competitions in the earlier rounds if they would like to play a couple of semi finals? If you see winning the Championship as the only worthy accomplishment then I feel sorry for you.

  8. When Man Utd were dominant in the premier league, winning it year after year; a negative fan might have said; “well that’s great but we’re not winning the champions league every year”

    Celebrate achievements, however minor. Why not?

  9. I’ve seen sites such as the BBC themselves point out these stats that Wenger and Ferguson are the most successful managers in the FA cup. And they include these stats to reach their conclusions. So there.

    Off topic – but it appears the BBC et al have gone into damage limitation mode re Sterling’s legal high. Some PFA official (what is it with the PFA defending the indefensible when it comes to Liverpool matters?) is said to have said sterling is only human blah blah blah, while the BBC also quotes someone or a study from Liverpool-Moores university (where else) which states that cigarettes and alcohol are more dangerous than legal highs. What message are these two, or three if we include the BBC, sending to our kids??

  10. WRT the FA Cup semi-final, it appears we may be playing against Keown (the one that scored against the U21 yesterday).

    The article talks about split loyalties in the Keown household this weekend. I don’t know, is Martin Keown still supporting Arsenal, or does he support BBC?

    In any event, if you play this weekend Niall, Good Luck and Have Fun. And, I am not hoping that Reading win.

  11. Mike

    Did I say “only worthy achievement”? I don’t think so!
    I said it was “a worthy accomplishment” and stand by that, so please don’t distort what I say by inserting “only”
    Fourth Place Trophy is an insult that is regularly thrown at us and I detest it.

  12. Foresight, in all the stats etc on this site and the Arsenal History Society blog I don’t include the wartime games, not just because they are not included in standard records but because of the issue of guest players. Men who were stationed in England near the grounds of other teams would guest for them, and quite often we would have teams that were substantially consisting of players not from the team they played for.

    Also the selection process was fairly haphazard with many situations in which players didnt turn up because of military duty, and last minute searches going on to find a replacement – once or twice with the most awful consequences of out of training men suddenly playing.

    The games are of course recorded, and gave enormous enjoyment to people such as yourself who went, and I don’t deny the entertainment they gave, nor the need to have them recorded however, and I hopeful we might publish a book on Arsenal in wartime one day.

  13. Everyone to their own, I think. I realised in doing the research that Arsenal and Mr Wenger were record breakers in the FA Cup and so wrote up the piece on the AHS blog – it just seems interesting to me and I like to celebrate the successes of the club. then ran the piece, and then other media picked it up. It meant something to me, and obviously to a few other people, but I’m not trying to suggest everyone has to find it a reason to be cheerful.

  14. Progress in any competition is financially (££££%$$$$) rewarding. This is the aim of many clubs but it appears some Arsenal fans do not appreciate how difficult getting to semi finals is. It is the last step to the final but pays well as it is in Wembley.

    Not many clubs can get to Wembley but in recent times, many more are given the chance. Play offs etc. all get a decent financial return, perhaps not as much as the outright winners of the leagues but a game at Wembley is special for players.

    Arsenal are a very fortunate club in that we have had the worlds best football economist coach dietician manager in Wenger. He has handled viral media with such grace that only the stupid attempt to demean his intelligence. He has taken Arsenal & English football to a new level. It is Wenger that has attracted the millions of viewers to the EPL. His spats with Fergie & Jose add spice to the game but ultimately it is the football that Arsenal play that really draws the viewer. Jose has had money to burn to create his success but has not been as economical as Wenger. Cost per point & annual profit are stats that will show the difference between the master & the sham.

    The BBC have maintained their corrupt broadcasters despite the abysmal display of nit picking on Wengers zipper. There is no room for common sense in todays’ BBC. Gone are the days of high morals & Queens English.

  15. People are just having a bit of fun with stats. Seeing the positives. Enjoying the records, no matter how small.

    No ones saying it’s winning the CL, but we’re in an FA Cup semi final this weekend, so it is relevant, and it’s something to talk about, and enjoy if nothing else.

    But hay, why not pop the balloon.

    I bet you’re great fun at a party.

    Perhaps you should direct your grumpy demeanour at the likes of Henry Winter.

    We must be the only team that could be on such a good run and yet still Winter seems impelled to write such sad, petty, nasty rubbish.

    It seems if we don’t mention the good things, nobody else will.

    Why not join the fun and try to enjoy the positives, surely there’s enough negativity without being so petty.

    Or maybe that’s just me.

  16. TailGunner
    Lets not nitpick, I qualified my remark with an if at the beginning of the sentence because the Championship was the only one you mentioned as an accomplishment. I am glad to hear their are others. The point is that every game won on the way to the final is an accomplishment to a lesser or greater degree and should be celebrated accordingly. What is wrong with that? A semifinal, win or lose, is a third place achievement. Do you deny an Olympic athlete the right to celebrate a bronze medal for finishing third, I would hope not. Less of an achievement than a gold medal, but an achievement none the less.

  17. @Foresight,
    Sorry to say that your memory of the 1943 Wartime Cup Final is at fault. The crowd limit for the whole of WW2 was 75,000.
    My ticket was high up behind one of the goals and sadly much of the play seemed to take place at the far end of the field. Missed quite a lot of the action.

  18. Mick,

    My good friend can you capitalise the M in your username please? Seeing you as mick instead of Mick is doing my head in.

    Ironically, I am less bothered on occasions when jambug signs in as Jambug 🙂

  19. Mr Attwood, a good piece of research! WHY is your name underlined in RED!

    The mainstay of football, is the small clubs, who will never win anything.

    It is the joy of taking part in the FA Cup. No more need to be said about a “misery guts”

  20. Mick
    One or two people here seem to think I’m not happy that we’re in a semi final, while my point in my first post contradicts that, but like you I was actually agreeing with goonermikey re winning the Championship because it would go on a club’s role of honour.

  21. TailGunner
    OK friend, I am happy you are happy we are in a semi final. Possibly your wording leant itself to misinterpretation.

  22. Tony,
    Thanks for providing the Reading-Arsenal FA Cup history. It goes waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back! That’s why to me the FA Cup will always be important. In twenty to thirty years the Barclay’s Premier League could be the (fill in the blank) Premier League or the First Division again. And, yes, a semi-final in a tough competition is something to be proud of. TailGunner made the relevant and wonderful analogy of the Bronze Medal in the Olympics. Exactly on point.

  23. Goonersince72
    Actually it was Mick who made that analogy, but if it pleases you I’m quite happy to take full credit

  24. TailGunner

    If Bootoomee is going to get into capitalisation of usernames, I will say the mustache your image has is probably better than any other.

    With that and some unknown amount of currency, you can probably buy a good coffee in your (nearest) city of residence.

  25. Memories are always special . Sometimes we laugh by remembering the days we cried , and
    sometimes we cry by remembering the days we laughed. That’s life.

  26. Everything is valuable only twice – 1) before getting it , and 2) after losing it .

  27. TailGunner – thanks for the correction, it was Mick. Great analogy Mick, and TailGunner keep the good stuff coming.

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