Arsenal in the FA Cup; change of rules, change of name, the heritage, the records

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
Arsenal 12 1930 2015 7 19
Man Utd 12 1909 2016 7 19
Tottenham 8 1901 1991 1 9
Aston Villa 7 1887 1957 4 11
Chelsea 7 1970 2012 4 11
Liverpool 7 1965 2006 7 14
Blackburn 6 1884 1928 2 8
Newcastle 6 1910 1955 7 13
Everton 5 1906 1995 8 13
Man City 5 1904 2011 5 10
Wanderers 5 1872 1878 0 5
WBA 5 1888 1968 5 10

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…

Name Winners Club(s) Winning Years
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

Date Round Opponent Venue Result
04.01.2015 r3 Hull City home W2-0
25.01.2015 r4 Brighton and Hove A away W3-2
15.02.2015 r5 Middlesbrough home W2-0
09.03.2015 r6 Manchester United away W2-1
18.04.2015 sf Reading Wemb W2-1 AET
30.05.2015 fn Aston Villa Wemb W4-0

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…

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

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

3 Replies to “Arsenal in the FA Cup; change of rules, change of name, the heritage, the records”

  1. An Arsenal vs Man Utd final for the all time FA win record ? Would they even consider it ? It’ll be like the American’s World Series .

  2. I’m glad of one thing – Alex Ferguson, whose team was the darling of the referees, and who cheated us out of the 50th match in our unbeaten run, can never catch up with Arsene Wenger’s record of Cup wins.

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