By Tony Attwood
It is sometimes said by statisticians that no one really remembers FA Cup semi-finals, and the media will undoubtedly be quick to forget the hype they made about the inevitability of Liverpool getting to the 2015 final so Gerrard could play on his birthday, and undoubtedly score the winning goal in his final match in the style of Roy of the Rovers or, come to that Tony Adams with the “would you believe it” goal.
But records there were, and are, surrounding the 2015 FA Cup final, and they are falling to Arsenal.
I’ve mentioned before that the 2015 semi-final was Arsenal’s 28th, an all time record for any club, and for also for any manager, with Arsène Wenger at that point gaining more semi-finals (11) than any manager in history.
But now we move onto the finals.
Of the finals completed Arsenal had won 11 and lost 7 – exactly the same as Manchester Utd. But with the 2015 final Arsenal become the most successful club in the history of the FA Cup with 19 finals. Let’s hope that works out at 12 FA Cup wins.
Here is the list so far…
|1979–80||West Ham United||1–0||Arsenal|
|1992–93||Arsenal||1–1 *||Sheffield Wednesday|
|1992–93(R)||Arsenal||2–1 *||Sheffield Wednesday|
|2013–14||Arsenal||3–2 *||Hull City|
The * shows extra time and the cross in 2005 shows penalties.
Mr Wenger has competed in six finals, and won five. One more win will put him equal with the all-time top winner of finals George Ramsey who won six finals with… Aston Villa between 1887 and 1920. But although it is of course right to remember that Ramsey did win these trophies, we also have to remember that some of the early FA Cups were nothing like the cup today.
In 1887, for example Villa’s winning run included beating Wednesbury Old Athletic 13-0, Derby Midland 6-1, getting a “bye” in the fourth round because various clubs had dropped out, beating Horncastle in the 5th round 5-0, and beating non-league Darwen in the 6th round. And non-league actually meant non-league – they didn’t play in a league at all.
My point is not to denigrate Villa – they were one of the great teams of the early days of football, but rather to point out that the winning of the cup in those days was not quite what it is now.
Arsenal’s run of four finals in five years between 2001 and 2005 was also a record, although Newcastle did achieve five finals in seven years before the first world war. Newcastle’s record is however a little less impressive when one notes that they only won one of those finals.
If we look at the top six clubs for FA Cup success we find both Arsenal and Aston Villa included (I’ve not added in the 2015 final appearance). But Aston Villa are very much old school.
Arsenal’s last victory in the FA Cup final is not too hard to remember, but Aston Villa’s needs a bit of looking up. It was against Man U, and is remembered because of a collision between Ray Wood in the Man U goal and Peter McParland of Villa. Wood was removed from the pitch unconscious, and found to have a broken cheekbone.
But this was the 50s when men were men, and medical staff were either ignorant or stupid or bullied by their managerial boss. Ray Wood returned as an outfield player, and then went back in goal for the last part of the game.
Aston Villa won 2-1, and it was their first major trophy for 37 years.
In the 58 years since 1957 Aston Villa have won the Third Division in 1972, the First Division in 1981, the European Cup in 1982, the Intertoto Cup twice, and the League Cup five times.
As for our successes – they are all in the Anniversary Files.