The third round of the FA Cup, the world’s largest and oldest football competition, kicks off in the first week of January 2024, some 152 years since its inception.
Manchester City beat their city rivals United in last season’s final and here is your guide to some of the key records and facts from all those years as the big guns enter the fray in search of glory at Wembley on Saturday 25th May.
Arsenal hold the record for FA Cup wins with 14, the last of which came in 2020. Manchester United won their 12th in 2016 while Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham have all won the trophy eight times.
Manchester United have been runners-up in the FA Cup a record nine times, the last of which was their defeat to Manchester City in the 2023 final. Chelsea’s defeat to Liverpool in 2022 was the most recent of their eight final defeats, while Everton have also fallen just short on eight occasions.
Two teams have won the FA Cup in three successive seasons. Wanderers, who won the first FA Cup in 1872, triumphed each year between 1876 and 1878, while Blackburn won it in three successive years from 1883 to 1885.
Arsenal were the last team to successfully defend the FA Cup when they beat Aston Villa in the 2015 final.
The record score for an FA Cup match came in 1887 when Preston beat Hyde 26-0. The highest score in a final was 6-0 which has occurred twice - in 1903 when Bury beat Derby and in 2019 when Manchester City beat Watford.
Chelsea and Arsenal full-back Ashley Cole holds the record for FA Cup final appearances with eight. He won seven of them, losing in 2001 when playing for the Gunners against Liverpool. His former boss Arsene Wenger holds the record for wins as a manager, having triumphed seven times between 1998 and 2017.
Notts County’s Harry Cursham has scored the highest number of FA Cup goals with 49 for the Magpies between 1877 and 1891. Ian Rush scored 44 between 1979 and 1988 and has scored five in FA Cup finals, which is a record.
There have been three hat-tricks in the FA Cup final, the first of which was from William Townley who did in it Blackburn’s 6-1 win over Sheffield Wednesday in 1890. Jimmy Logan repeated the feat four years later when Notts County beat Bolton 4-1 and Blackpool’s Stan Mortensen was the last player to do it in 1953 in the Matthews final when the Seasiders edged Bolton 4-3.
The fastest FA Cup final goal came in 2023 when Ilkay Gundogan gave Manchester City the lead against Manchester United after just 13 seconds. That beat the 25 seconds it took Louis Saha to score for Everton against Chelsea in 2009.
The fastest goal in the FA Cup proper came in the fifth round in 2010 when Reading’s Jimmy Kebe scored after nine seconds against West Brom.
The youngest player to score in the FA Cup was Evander Grubb who netted for Bristol Manor Farm against Cadbury Heath in 2020 when he was 16 years and 54 days old.
Millwall’s Curtis Weston became the youngest finalist in 2004 when he was 17 years and 119 days old, while Manchester United’s Norman Whiteside became the youngest scorer in an FA Cup final when he scored his team’s second goal in their 4-0 1983 replay victory over Brighton at 18 years and 18 days old.
The oldest player to feature in a FA Cup final was Billy Hampson who was 41 years and 257 days old when he helped Newcastle beat Aston Villa in the 1924 final.
The record number of goals for an FA Cup game was Preston’s 26-0 win over Hyde in 1887.
Tottenham hold the post-war record with a 13-2 win over Crewe in 1960, while the modern-day record was set in the first round in 1995 when Shrewsbury beat Marine 11-2.
Manchester United’s Kevin Moran became the first player to be sent off in an FA Cup final when the Red Devils beat Everton 1-0 after extra-time in 1985. Five players have been shown a red card in the showpiece since - Jose Antonio Reyes (2005), Pablo Zabaleta (2013), Chris Smalling (2016), Victor Moses (2017) and Mateo Kovacic (2020).
The biggest FA Cup attendance was for the 1923 final between Bolton and West Ham, which was the first game played at Wembley Stadium. The official attendance was 126,047 but the crowd was estimated to be more than double that as the pitch had to be cleared of spectators before the match took place.
They stood close to the touchline throughout and saw Bolton triumph 2-0.