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New Military Coins from The Royal Mint
ENGRAVED IN HISTORY
New Military Coins from The Royal Mint
ENGRAVED IN HISTORY

The FA Cup in Five Stories

The FA Cup in Five Stories

Since its inception in 1871, The FA Cup has enthralled and delighted fans in the United Kingdom and across the globe. Today, it is world football’s longest-running knockout competition and a competition like no other. But what is it that makes The FA Cup so special?

Giant-killings

The concept of giant-killing is a central facet of The FA Cup and one of the main driving forces behind the excitement that builds around the competition each year. No other competition in world football offers teams comprising players with everyday jobs, where football is a hobby or at best a semi-professional occupation for them, the opportunity of overturning the giants of the Premier League.

Throughout its 150-year history, The FA Cup has delivered some monumental upsets. In 1894, Notts County beat Bolton, which made them the competition’s first winners from the Second Division. Almost 40 years later, First Division Arsenal, who were on their way to a hat-trick of league wins, were brought back down to earth by Walsall of the Third Division (North). Continuing the beloved tradition of giant-killing, the Saddlers went on to beat the Gunners in the 1933 FA Cup tie.

The Second World War only served to stimulate football’s popularity rather than quench it and the 1949 FA Cup provided yet another David versus Goliath story in the fourth round of the competition. Yeovil of the Southern League pulled off a tremendous upset after beating Sunderland, a team then known as the ‘Bank of England’ club due to their vast expenditure.

More recently, the competition has spawned upsets that are even more memorable. In 2003, bottom of the Football League Shrewsbury Town pulled off a shock victory over the Everton team that included a young Wayne Rooney in its ranks. Two years later, a classic, third-round upset took place, when Burnley beat Liverpool 1–0 thanks to an own goal delivered by Djimi Traore, and if you fast forward to 2019, Newport County of the fourth tier knocked Leicester City – the winners of the 2016 Premier League title – out of the competition.

The FA Cup in Five Stories

Wembley Stadium

Wembley Stadium hosts a number of great sporting events and has become synonymous with The FA Cup Final. Then known as the Empire Stadium, it hosted its first FA Cup Final in 1923. Built specifically for the competition, in order to satisfy the nation’s growing appetite for the coveted event, the stadium was completed just four days before the Final in which Bolton Wanderers were due to play West Ham United. Officially, a crowd of 126,407 fans attended the game but it is widely believed that more than twice that number were actually inside the stadium.

Since then, the Brazilian footballing legend Pele has branded Wembley a ‘cathedral of football’ and today, the stadium remains a modern-day Colosseum with a 90,000 capacity, which is always packed come the day of The FA Cup Final.

The FA Cup in Five Stories

Unforgettable Goals

The FA Cup Finals have produced 402 goals to date, including countless classics. These include Stan Mortensen’s hat trick in the 1953 Final, which saw Blackpool fight back and overcome Bolton, and Ricky Villa’s weaving and jinking run in the replayed Final against Manchester City in 1981 to name a few.

In 2009, Everton player Louis Saha scored the fastest goal in an FA Cup Final, taking just 25 seconds to score against Chelsea. The Toffees went on to lose the Final but it is nevertheless remembered for that record-breaking goal. The Ivorian Didier Drogba also holds a notable record, as he is the only player to have scored in four different FA Cup Finals and, with five in total, Ian Rush – the former Welsh international and Liverpool legend – holds the record for the most goals scored at FA Cup Finals.

The FA Cup in Five Stories

Match Days

It doesn’t matter if it is a freezing Tuesday evening during the middle of January or a blisteringly hot afternoon in May – the atmosphere and build-up to an FA Cup tie is simply unbeatable. ‘The road to Wembley’, as it has been coined, begins well before the day of the Final itself, yet that day is a sublime experience for fans of the competing sides. People flood to the stadium in droves to cheer on their team and a sense of anticipation floods through the air in hope of what’s to come. Each Final comes with its own sense of eminence and earns its place in the rich and ever-growing legacy of The FA Cup.

The FA Cup in Five Stories

Royal Connections

From George V being the first monarch to watch an FA Cup Final in 1914 right through to His Royal Highness The Duke of Cambridge, who became President of The Football Association in 2006 and presented the trophy to the winning captain in 2019, the competition has a history of royal attendance.

The Duke of Cambridge has taken an active role in using his position to spearhead the Heads Up mental health campaign alongside his wife Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge and his younger brother, The Duke of Sussex. The campaign looks to tackle the stigma attached to mental health issues and – using one of the world’s most popular sports – it aims to get more people talking about their mental health in whatever shape or form they choose.

His Royal Highness has met with England Head Coach Gareth Southgate and has even been on the popular That Peter Crouch Podcast, raising awareness of the Heads Up campaign and its mission.

The FA Cup

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