Arsenal and Hull City contest the F.A. Cup Final at Wembley on Saturday. The Gunners are aiming to take the famous trophy for the 11th time, whilst Hull are making their maiden appearance in the F.A. Cup Final. To warm you up for the big day, here are some stats, facts and some miscellany over the F.A. Cup records of the two teams.
- Arsenal have played 17 F.A. Cup Finals and won the cup ten times in total. Hull City have never appeared in the final before.
- Arsenal did not progress beyond the first round proper of the competition for the first time until 1901, when they were knocked out in the 2nd round.
- The Gunners record F.A. Cup win came in October 1893 in a first qualifying round tie. Arsenal beat nearby Kent rivals Ashford United 12-0, with goals from Elliott (3), Booth (2), Heath (2), Crawford and Powell. It remains Arsenal’s record victory in an F.A. Cup fixture.
- Hull City’s previous best performance in the competition came in 1930 when they reached the semi-final. They took a 2-0 lead against Arsenal at Elland Road in that semi, only for the Gunners to force a replay, which they won 1-0.
- The Tigers have also reached the Quarter Final four times, the most recent of which saw them defeated 2-1 at Emirates Stadium by Arsenal in 2009. Hull also reached the last 8 in 1971, a year when Arsenal won the cup, under the stewardship of 28 year old player manager Terry Neill, who would later manage Arsenal to three consecutive finals between 1978-80, winning one.
- Hull’s record home attendance came in an F.A. Cup 5th round tie with Manchester United at Boothferry Park in 1950, a year that also saw Arsenal prevail in the final. 55,019 packed in that day.
- Since reaching the final for the first time in 1927, Arsenal’s longest absence from the showpiece spans 19 years, between 1952 and 1971.
- Arsenal’s first ever F.A. Cup tie saw them defeat Lyndhurst 11-0 in October 1889.
- The Gunners’ record defeat in the competition is a 6-0 loss, an undesired occurrence that has befallen them three times, against Sunderland in 1893, against Derby County in 1899 and again against West Ham United in 1946.
- Arsenal have appeared in 27 F.A. Cup semi-finals, a tournament record that they share with Manchester United.
- This will be Arsenal’s 45th Wembley appearance and Arsene Wenger’s 13th. He is the only Arsenal manager to have won the cup more than once, having taken it in 1998, 2002, 2003 and 2005.
- Gedion Zelalem is the youngest player ever to appear for Arsenal in the competition, he came on as a substitute in January’s 4-0 win over Coventry City aged 16 years and 363 days.
- George Graham and Pat Rice have both won F.A. Cups at Arsenal as player and coach. Joe Mercer later won the cup as manager of Manchester City in 1969.
- Freddie Ljungberg scored the first ever F.A. Cup Final goal to be scored outside of England in the 2001 Final against Liverpool at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium.
- Arsenal lost the 1927 Final to Cardiff City. It remains the only time a non-English side has won the cup.
- The 1930 F.A. Cup Final between Arsenal and Huddersfield was King George V’s first public appearance for 18 months due to illness.
- The 1936 F.A. Cup Final between Arsenal and Sheffield United was the only one attended by King Edward VIII. He abdicated the throne later that year.
- Arsenal were fined £250 by the Football League for playing weakened teams in the league in the build up to that final.
- In the 1932 F.A. Cup Final between Arsenal and Newcastle United, Arsenal became the first side to open the scoring in the cup final and not win it.
- The 1950 F.A. Cup Final saw Arsenal don a special edition gold kit. Liverpool wore an unfamiliar white and black strip for that match. However, in 1936, both Arsenal and Sheffield United wore red and white for the match.
- The 1993 F.A. Cup Final replay between Arsenal and Sheffield Wednesday was delayed by 30 minutes due to an accident on the M1. It was the first cup final not to kick-off on time since the ‘white horse final’ of 1923. At 62,267 it was also the lowest attendance ever recorded at a Wembley F.A. Cup Final.
- Pat Rice became the first player ever to appear in 5 F.A. Cup Finals for the same club, representing Arsenal at Wembley in 1971, 1972, 1978, 1979 and 1980. He was captain for the latter three. Ray Parlour equalled the feat by playing in the 1993, 1998, 2001, 2002 and 2003 finals. Tony Adams has captained Arsenal in 4 finals, a feat no other skipper has matched.
- By scoring in the 2001 and 2002 finals, Freddie Ljungberg became the first player since Tottenham’s Bobby Smith (1961 and 1962) to score in consecutive finals.
Arsenal’s F.A. Cup Final captains are as follows:
1927 – Tom Parker
1930 – Tom Parker
1932 – Tom Parker
1936 – Alex James
1950 – Joe Mercer
1952 – Joe Mercer
1971 – Frank McLintock
1972 – Frank McLintock
1978 – Pat Rice
1979 – Pat Rice
1980 – Pat Rice
1993 – Tony Adams
1998 – Tony Adams
2001 – Tony Adams
2002 – Tony Adams
2003 – David Seaman
2005 – Patrick Vieira
- Aaron Ramsey is the only player in either squad that has played in an English F.A. Cup Final, coming on as a substitute in Cardiff City’s 1-0 defeat to Portsmouth in 2008.
- Per Mertesacker missed the 2009 DfB Pokal final in Germany in 2009 through injury as Werder Bremen beat Bayer Leverkusen 1-0. Mesut Ozil scored the winner that day. Both Ozil and Mertesacker played in the 2010 DfB Pokal final for Bremen as they went down 4-0 to Bayern Munich.
- Thomas Vermaelen played for Ajax in both the 2006 KNVB Cup Final, when Ajax defeated PSV Eindhoven 2-1, and in 2007, when Ajax prevailed against AZ Alkmaar on penalties. Vermaelen converted his spot kick in that shootout.
- Tomas Rosicky played for Borussia Dortmund in the 2003 DfB Pokal final as they went down 4-2 to Hamburg.
- Lukas Podolski was a 69th minute substitute for Bayern Munich in the 2008 DfB Pokal final as Bayern defeated Borussia Dortmund 2-1 after extra time.
- Mesut Ozil played for Real Madrid in the 2011 Copa del Rey final as Madrid defeated Barcelona 1-0 and also played in the 2013 final on the losing side, as Atletico Madrid beat Real 2-1.
- Mathieu Flamini was left out of the squad for Arsenal’s 2005 F.A. Cup Final win over Manchester United and experienced the same fate for A.C. Milan in 2011, as he was left out of their 2011 Coppa Italia final with Inter.
- Kim Kallstrom played for Lyon in the French cup finals of 2008 (a 1-0 win over Paris Saint Germain) and 2012 (a 1-0 win over Quevily). He also played in the 2002 Svenska Cupen Final for Djurgardens as they defeated AIK 1-0.
- Hull’s Allan McGregor won 3 Scottish F.A. Cups with Glasgow Rangers, playing in all three finals.
- Nikica Jelavic won the Croatian Cup in 2003.
- Steve Harper was an unused substitute for Newcastle as they lost to Manchester United 2-0 in the 1999 Final.
- Abdoulaye Faye was an unused substitute for Stoke City in the 2011 F.A. Cup Final as they lost 1-0 to Manchester City.
- Boss Steve Bruce won the competition as a player with Manchester United in 1990, 1994 and 1996 and was a losing finalist in 1995.
- The 1927 Final between Arsenal and Cardiff was the first to ever be broadcast by radio. George Allison was one of the commentators that day. He would manage Arsenal to F.A. Cup success in 1936.
- For the 1936 Final, the BBC experimented with having two commentators for the first time. One of them, Ivan Sharpe, was a mutual friend of Herbert Chapman and Samuel Hill Wood and was instrumental in initiating first contact between the two in 1925.
- The referee of the 1952 F.A. Cup Final between Arsenal and Newcastle United was one Arthur Ellis, who later became a famous adjudicator on the popular 70s gameshow ‘It’s A Knockout.’
- Eddie Hapgood only learned that he was not to captain Arsenal in the 1936 Final on the morning of the match. Alex James was club captain but had been injured for much of the season, leaving Hapgood as stand in skipper. Hapgood’s mother was gravely ill in hospital so Allison never had the chance to meet the two men and come to a firm decision as to who should lead the team out at Wembley. James was elected captain because Hapgood had been at his mother’s bed side on the morning of the final. Hapgood read of the decision in a newspaper on the way to the match.
- Cameras were banned from the 1936 F.A. Cup Final due to a dispute between Wembley stadium bosses and broadcast company Gaumont. Would be broadcasters flew above the stadium in autogyros to film the game from a bird’s eye view instead.
- In 1896, Arsenal were forced to play two games on the same day, against Loughbrough Town in the league and against Leyton in the F.A. Cup. Arsenal played a full strength side against Loughbrough and lost 8-0, Arsenal’s record defeat. The Gunners sent the reserves to play Leyton who performed notably better, winning 5-0.
- Herbert Chapman famously sacked his physio George Hardy following a 4th round tie with Port Vale in 1927. Hardy leapt from the bench to yell instructions at the Arsenal strikers without Chapman’s consent. Chapman sacked him for his insolence and appointed Tom Whittaker in his stead.
- Ray Daniel almost had to miss the 1952 F.A. Cup Final with a broken wrist after a collision with Blackpool’s Stan Mortensen. Mortensen was so wracked with guilt that he offered Daniel one of his past winners’ medals to atone should he miss the match. Mortensen damaged his knee cartilage in the same collision and made the offer to Daniel from his hospital bed. Daniel eventually played but broke his arm in the final anyway.
- Steve Morrow missed the 1993 F.A. Cup Final with Sheffield Wednesday after captain Tony Adams hoisted the Irishman onto his shoulders in the immediate aftermath of the League Cup Final in April and dropped him. Morrow suffered a badly broken collarbone and missed the remainder of the season.
- Alan Smith was booked in the 1993 F.A. Cup final replay. It was the only booking he received in his entire professional career.
- The Queen accidentally gave Joe Mercer a losers’ medal as he went up to collect the cup in 1950. Mercer was so nervous that he didn’t notice. King George VI noticed the error and rectified it.
- Unfortunate keeper in the 1927 Final, Dan Lewis, was so distraught after the match that he accidentally dropped his losers’ medal on the pitch. Teammate Bob John recovered it for him.
- In 1971 and 1972 Arsenal reached the final without having been drawn at home.
- In 1950, Arsenal won the competition without playing a tie outside of London. A feat Arsenal would repeat with victory on Saturday.
- Arsenal’s opening goal in the 1930 F.A. Cup Final from Alex James was actually choreographed on the team bus some 3 hours before kick-off. James colluded with Bastin that, should Arsenal win a free kick near the touchline, James would pass to Bastin on the flank, Bastin would draw the defender and move it straight back inside to James who would then have space to shoot. That is indeed exactly how James opened the scoring.
- On the morning of the F.A. Cup 3rd round tie with Sheffield Wednesday in 1950, Leslie Compton cleaned the windows of his Hendon home. Deciding this was a good luck charm, he proceeded to carry out the same ritual on the morning of every F.A. Cup tie until the final.
- The last three times Sheffield United have been beaten semi-finalists prior to this year, Arsenal have won the cup (1993, 1998, 2003).