To follow are all my FA Cup facts and stats that were included in the 2018 FA Cup Final programme, plus as many again that could not be accommodated.
If you would like to use any of these facts & stats in your club’s own programme then please seek permission from @FACupFactfile on Twitter beforehenad
Seven hundred and thirty-seven clubs participated in the 2017-18 FA Cup. An unusually odd number of entries caused by Bostik Isthmian League One South side Guernsey opting out of participating so they could ‘focus on the league’. As a consequence there were an odd number of ties in the Extra Preliminary Round, too, 185 in total. And the last club drawn out of the hat in that odd 185th tie? None other than the appropriately named Toolstation Western League Premier Division club Odd Down!
In the Extra Preliminary Round Berkhamsted ran riot and won 12-1 at fellow Spartan South Midland Premier Division side Stotfold. That result is the largest margin of victory away from home in the FA Cup in the 21st Century. Six different players were on the scoresheet for the Comrades that day. Skipper Jon Munday and Stacey Field both netted hat-tricks, alongside a brace apiece from Alex Campana and Tom Carter and goals from Dan Jones and Frankie Jowle.
Flackwell Heath beat fellow Uhlsport Hellenic Premier Division side Burnham 5-0 in the Extra Preliminary Round with Liam Tack scoring their opening goal. The significance of that goal? Well it was timed at 7.51pm on the 4th August, and is the earliest in any season an FA Cup goal has ever been scored, beating the record set just last season on the 5th August by Thame United’s Lynton Goss.
Goals from Charlie Browne and Danny Finnigan (in extra time) gave Toolstation Western League Premier Division club Shaftesbury a 2-1 victory at Exmouth Town of the Carlsberg South West Peninsula League Premier Division in the Extra Preliminary Round. The goals earned the Dorset club its first FA Cup victory for 67 years. The Queen was still known as Princess Elizabeth the last time Shaftesbury won a game in the FA Cup!
Just Like Buses
You wait 130 years or more to play your first FA Cup match and then two come along at once. Chipping Sodbury Town of the Toolstation Western League were formed in 1885 and Framlingham Town of the Thurlow Nunn Eastern Counties League were formed in 1887. Both clubs entered the FA Cup for the first time in 2017-18, and both won their respective opening ties 3-1, to then play again in the competition just two weeks later in the Preliminary Round.
No Victor Victoria
Hallmark Security North West Counties League Premier Division side Northwich Victoria were knocked out of the FA Cup in the Extra Preliminary Round for the first time ever in their 109th campaign. To rub salt into the wound the exit came at the hands of local league rivals 1874 Northwich in a replay.
A 3-2 loss at Combined Counties Premier Division side Farnham Town means it is now six FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round defeats for Fawley of the Sydenhams Wessex League Division One in the six FA Cup campaigns they have had. They are now second in the list of clubs who have failed to go beyond the Extra Preliminary Round in any of their FA Cup campaigns. Five seasons ahead of them, with the all-time record of 11 Extra Preliminary Round defeats in just 11 FA Cup campaigns, is a Birmingham based club named Headingly, who achieved their record run of consecutive losses in the 1920s/30s.
Several players scored four goals in one FA Cup match this season but Ollie Pitt, of Uhlsport Hellenic Premier Division outfit Brimscombe and Thrupp, had the stand-out four-bagger. In his side’s 4-0 Extra Preliminary Round victory over Sun Sports of Spartan South Midlands Premier Division, he scored all his four goals in a 12 minute blitz, between the 12th and 23rd minutes of the first half!
Wood You Like to Call
When the two captains joined the referee for the toss of the coin and pre-match handshake ahead of an FA Cup Preliminary Round tie he could have been forgiven for doing a double-take. Twenty-nine year old Shane Wood was the captain of Spartan South Midlands Premier Division side Leverstock Green whilst his younger brother Jack Wood, twenty-five, was captain of Aylesbury United of the Evo-Stik Southern League Division One South East. It was the younger sibling who ended up with the family bragging rights in the end, as the Ducks of Aylesbury won 4-1 in a replay.
Seven Mins Four Pens
When Southern Counties East League side Erith Town went 2-0 up at home in their Preliminary Round replay against their higher level opponents, Whyteleafe of Bostik Isthmian League One South, thanks to a Ryan Golding penalty in the 38th minute of the first half, no-one could have anticipated what would come next. Three more penalties would be awarded and all three would be scored before half time! Two converted by Sam Clayton of Whyteleafe to level things up before Sam Golding slotted home his second spot-kick to give the home side a 3-2 lead. Of course Whyteleafe eventually equalised causing the tie to require even more penalties to resolve it. Erith Town triumphed 4-1 on penalties, meaning Whyteleafe actually scored more penalties in normal time than they did in the shoot-out!
Before the 2017-18 FA Cup had begun Kettering Town of the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division held the record for most FA Cup goals scored (870) and most number of different clubs faced in FA Cup matches (175). Unsurprisingly the Poppies added to their record goals tally (now 879) but more surprisingly they remarkably managed to be drawn against four teams they’d never faced in the competition before. Evo-Stik Northern Premier League One South side Romulus were beaten 3-0 in the First Qualifying Round. Then Kidsgrove Athletic from the same division were defeated 2-0 in the next round and fellow league members Basford United beaten 3-2 in the round after that. Finally Kettering Town lost 1-0 in a replay at another new opponent, Nantwich Town from the Premier Division of the same league.
You’re having a Wath
Evo-Stik Northern Premier League One North side South Shields beating York City of Vanarama National League North by four goals to two is one of the FA Cup upsets of the season. However, for the Minstermen of York City the shock is even greater than just that defeat itself. It is the first time the former Football League club has been knocked out of the FA Cup at the Third Qualifying Round stage of the competition since they lost 4-1 at Wath Athletic in the 1925-26 season!
Long Way from Home
When you are involved in a regional FA Cup draw you don’t expect to have to endure a 670 mile round trip. But that is exactly what happened to AFC Sudbury of Bostik Isthmian League One North in the Third Qualifying Round when they were paired with Truro City of Vanarama National League South. To make matters worse they were on the wrong end of a 4-1 defeat. Sky Bet League Two side Carlisle United had a similar distance to travel in the Second Round ‘Proper’ when facing Gillingham of League One. A one-all draw required the Gills to have to make the same trip but in mid-week, and a late night return after a 3-1 defeat would have been less than enjoyable. Only League Two side Grimsby Town had a more miserable longer journey with 211 fans having seen their side lose 1-0 at League One Plymouth Argyle in the First Round in between two 346 mile journeys.
Cornish Pass Tie
Vanarama National League South side Truro City became the first club from the county of Cornwall to reach the FA Cup First Round ‘Proper’ for 48 years, and only the second ever club to do so. Noah Keats scored the historic goals that won the match at League rivals Hampton and Richmond Borough in the Fourth Qualifying Round. Tyler Harvey then scored the White Tigers first ever FA Cup ‘Proper’ Round goal but unfortunately they were beaten 3-1 at Sky Bet League One side Charlton Athletic.
1874 Northwich of Hallmark Security North West Counties League Premier Division played the most amount of football in this season’s FA Cup. Having been involved in four replays in the five rounds they competed in, the club were on the pitch in the FA Cup for a total of 840 minutes (14 hours), eventually losing 6-5 on penalties in their ninth match at Ossett Town of Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Division One North.
Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division side Slough Town lost 4-1 against Sky Bet League One club Rochdale in the FA Cup Second Round. It was the seventh time out of seven Second Round appearances that the Rebels had been thwarted at that stage of the competition. No other club has lost so many times at that stage without ever making it through to the Third Round.
The Non-League No Show
When Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division side Hereford lost 2-0 at home to Sky Bet League One Fleetwood Town in a Second Round replay on 14th December 2017, the loss was felt much wider than within the hordes who follow that phoenix club. The whole of the world of non-league football was in mourning, as not only were Hereford the last non-league club standing in the FA Cup, their defeat meant that only ‘English Football League’ and ‘Premier League’ clubs would be involved in the Third Round. This became the first season since 1950-51 that there were no non-league teams in the Third Round of the FA Cup, and was in stark contrast to the record breaking runs of Sutton United (5th Round) and Lincoln City (Quarter Finals) in the competition just last season.
Merseyside rivals Everton and Liverpool were drawn to face each other in the FA Cup Third Round at Anfield. It was the eighteenth season the two clubs would meet in the FA Cup, including two memorable FA Cup Finals, a record high for the competition ‘Proper’. Liverpool had won 10 of their previous encounters, but this would be the first season the Reds would be victorious in a Merseyside derby in the FA Cup at home, having been held to a draw on all four previous occasions.
When Sky Bet Championship side Norwich City lost to Premier League Chelsea 5-3 on penalties in their FA Cup Third Round replay it was the fifth successive season that the Canaries had failed to win an FA Cup match. That put the club level with the current winless FA Cup run for fellow Championship side Queens Park Rangers who lost 1-0 at home to Milton Keynes Dons from the league below. It is the second longest winless run in the competition of all 92 League clubs. The good news for Canaries’ fans is that it is also the second longest run without an FA Cup victory in East Anglia! The holder of that particular current record is Championship side and arch rivals Ipswich Town. Their 1-0 home defeat to Sheffield United means it is now eight consecutive seasons without an FA Cup win.
Premier League Swansea City hosted Sky Bet League Two side Notts County in a Fourth Round replay and went on the rampage winning the match 8-1, equalling the club’s highest ever win in the FA Cup, last achieved in the 1913-14 season against Caerleon Athletic in a Qualifying Round tie. The result also equalled Notts County’s worst ever FA Cup defeat last suffered in the 1926-27 season at Newcastle United. Six different players scored for Swansea City in the rout but Sam Clucas was not among them. That was surprising given the last time a club won 8-1 in the FA Cup (Mansfield Town 8-1 St Albans City, four years ago), Sam Clucas scored four of the goals!
When this season’s Quarter Final tie between Premier League sides Leicester City and Chelsea ended one apiece after 90 minutes the game went into extra time rather than what historically would have happened and gone on to a replay. However, even though the ‘no replay’ rule only came into fruition last season, it wasn’t the first time an FA Cup Quarter Final game had utilised extra time to try to settle the tie at the first time of asking, but it had been 70 years since it last happened. Following the end of World War Two vital resources such as fuel were scarce and so clubs were encouraged to play extra time in all rounds rather than go straight to a replay if the scores were level after 90 minutes. The last time this happened in a Quarter Final tie was in the 1947-48 season when Queens Park Rangers and Derby County drew one-all. Unfortunately an extra 30 minutes proved futile and a replay was required anyway. Derby won the replay then, and Chelsea won this season without the need of penalties. That’s a stat for future FA Cup competitions!
Not So Gr8
Premier League Tottenham Hotspur were beaten 2-1 by Manchester United in this year’s FA Cup Semi-Final. It was the eighth consecutive FA Cup Semi-Final Spurs had lost since beating Arsenal in the 1990-91 last four. That is a very unwanted record of eight straight Semi-Final defeats!
♫ Will Griggs on Fire, Jack Midson’s Higher ♫
The top individual goal-scorer in the ‘Proper’ Rounds of this season’s FA Cup is Will Griggs of Sky Bet League One side Wigan Athletic. He has fired in seven goals in total including the winner against Premier League Manchester City, a victory that meant Wigan Athletic were only the second club ever from the third tier to knock out three top-flight clubs in the same FA Cup run. Realistically only Romelu Lukaku of Manchester United is in a position to potentially pass Will Griggs’ total, but he would need to be only the fourth person ever to score an FA Cup Final hat-trick in order to do so. However, there is one player who has already been more prolific in front of goal in the FA Cup this season, but only if taking Qualifying Round matches into account. Jack Midson of Bostik Isthmian League Premier Division side Leatherhead has hit the back of the net a dozen times in total, although only four of them came in ‘Proper’ Round matches.
Premier League Tottenham Hotspur are the current top scorers in the ‘Proper’ Rounds of this season’s FA Cup having scored 18 goals en route to the Semi-Finals. It would require a record breaking FA Cup Final scoreline for either of Manchester United or Chelsea to outgun them, necessitating beating the 6-0 win posted by Bury when beating Derby County in the 1902-03 Final. However, three Bostik Isthmian League clubs did already score more goals than Spurs throughout the whole competition this season. Premier Division Leatherhead netted 20 times. Division One North Heybridge Swifts hit the back of the net 24 times. But top goal-scorers in the whole competition are Premier Division champions Billericay Town with 25 goals.
This season’s FA Cup Final could quite easily be brought to you by the Number 13 in the style of kid’s TV programme Sesame Street. Chelsea are into the Cup Final for the thirteenth time. Amazingly this is their seventh visit in just 18 years of the 21st Century. They only managed six Finals in the 95 years since forming in the last century. It is also the thirteenth different season that Manchester United and Chelsea will face each other in the FA Cup, with the Red Devils holding an eight to four win ratio against the Blues in the past. And Manchester United are vying to lift the Trophy for a record equalling thirteenth time. They are already equalling a record just by reaching Wembley, with this season being their 20th appearance in an FA Cup Final.
Who’s No. 1?
The record for most FA Cup Final wins (13) is currently held by Arsenal, who are also the joint holders of the most FA Cup Final appearances (20). However, if Manchester United were to lift the Trophy this season for a 13th time, who out of the two would be regarded as the best FA Cup club of all time? Their stats are remarkably similar even outside of Cup Finals. Both clubs have 29 FA Cup Semi-Final appearances to their names. And both clubs have appeared in the Quarter Finals 43 times each. However, by virtue of having appeared in four more Fifth Round matches, Arsenal would remain the No. 1 FA Cup club even if Manchester United were to be triumphant this year. If they did win it, there’s quite a nice symmetry in the fact that Arsenal won their 13th FA Cup Final by beating Chelsea last season and Manchester United could do the same by beating the same opponents this year.
Haven’t We Met Before?
This is the third time that Manchester United and Chelsea will contest the FA Cup Final having both been victorious once each in past clashes. Manchester United won 4-0 in the 1993-94 Final (Eric Cantona becoming the only player to date to score two penalties in one Final), and Chelsea gained revenge in 2006-07 with Didier Drogba scoring the only goal late in extra time. This is only the fourth time that the same two teams will meet in an FA Cup Final for the third time. Aston Villa and West Bromwich Albion were the first to do so way back in the 19th Century (Villa ahead two wins to one), then Arsenal and Newcastle United (Newcastle up two-one), and most recently Arsenal and Liverpool (Arsenal ahead two to one).
Repeat, repeat, repeat!
This year will see the third consecutive ‘repeat’ FA Cup Final as Manchester United and Chelsea meet for the third time, following Arsenal versus Chelsea last season and Manchester United versus Crystal Palace the season before that. It is the first time that three successive FA Cup Finals will involve two clubs who have met in the Final before.
Blue or Red is the Colour
Whichever team lifts the FA Cup Trophy this season they will be a club that plays their home matches in predominantly a red or blue kit. It will be the 27th consecutive time a club which wears one or other of those two coloured shirts will win the FA Cup. The last club to be triumphant in an FA Cup Final which didn’t wear red or blue was white-shirted Tottenham Hotspur in 1990-91 when they beat the red-shirted Nottingham Forest.
If Manchester United win the FA Cup this season it will create a new record for the most consecutive number of years with the fewest number of clubs winning the Trophy. Over the past five seasons only Arsenal and Manchester United would have won the FA Cup.
If Manchester United win the FA Cup this season they will equal the record number of FA Cup triumphs along with Arsenal (13). If Manchester United lose in this season’s FA Cup Final they will equal the record number of Cup Final defeats along with Everton (8). Either way, an FA Cup Final record will be equalled this season!