FA Cup

Ok this is my first post, after…well…read my name.

I haven’t really followed Football since I stopped travelling to the UK on business a couple years ago, but I am still interested in the FA Cup. I guess the next games are in a couple weeks.

In general, I like the concept of the tourney (any Professional team can compete); however, what it the likely-hood of a non-Premiership club actually winning the whole dang thing? I’ve glanced through the FA cup website (and if I knew what I was doing, I would link to it :smack: ) but I don’t see anything detailing the last non-Premiership winner.

I get the sense that it is really just a tourney between Premiership teams. Sure the others get to compete, but the final four teams are usually going to be from the Premiership. Am I missing something?

It’s up to the semis stage, with Arsenal due to play Blackburn, and Manchester United against Newcastle.

The likelihood of a non top flight team winning these days is very low, and lower than it used to be, as there is so much more cash available to Premiership teams (largely as a result of TV). If they put in their strongest squads, the field is further narrowed, with the Big 3 (Arse, ManU, Chelsea) likely to win 7 years out of 10. This year Wenger and Fergie have nothing much else left to play for (in terms of pots - they are of course desperate to grab the automatic non-qualifying second European Cup place behind Chelsea), and so they’ll be putting out their best teams. The players will want to impress, so it would be a bit of a shock if either team come unstuck in the semis.

The last team outside the top flight to win the thing was West Ham in 1980 (against Arsenal). Before that Southampton did it in 1976 (against Manchester), and Sunderland did it in 1973 (against the “mighty” Leeds United). You can see how much more commonplace it was before the days of SKY and ESPN.

The last club from outside the top division to reach the FA Cup Final were Millwall, who manged it last year after being drawn against fellow second flight side Sunderland in the semis. Strangely, Sunderland were the last team before them to get to the Cup final, going down to Liverpool in 1992.

It’s possible for a “minnow” to win it, as it is randomly drawn they can face quite light opposition up to he semi finals, and with a bit of luck can go all the way. However it really isn’t very likely as the big teams have such depth in their squads that even if they play their second string side they will usually be too good for a lower division team.

There’s more liklihood of a lower division team winning the League Cup as the really big teams don’t take it seriously.

The great thing about it is sometimes a tiny, tiny little team gets to play one of the big teams, something that would never happen otherwise. It must be amazing to go and play at a big stadium, when you’re used to having 15 fans standing by the touchline.

And, with the FA cup, the teams split the ticket money, so the little teams really hope they get to play away at a premiership side.

Thanks for all the information. I can see how it would be beneficial for the minnows to play the big clubs.

Putting it in terms an american can understand, every pro baseball team would love to play the Yankees, no matter how bad a beating they took.

Was Wimbledon in the top division when they beat Liverpool?

Very much so, though the romantics would like to have it otherwise.

They’d finished in their highest ever position in the League (6th in Division 1) the previous season and were a good, if rather “physical” team, with a tremendous team spirit engendered by Dave “Harry” Bassett. Bassett had actually moved on before the Dons’ greatest triumph, and they were led out at Wembley in 1988 by a man with perhaps the ugliest eyebrows in football, Bobby Gould.

Although often billed, especially in retrospect, as a David-Goliath type confrontation, Wimbledon were actually riding high once again that season - they finished 7th. The main reason why everyone thought Liverpool were unbeatable is that they had already been crowned League Champions, running away with it with a 9 point margin, losing only twice in the process.

I looked up Wimbledon’s opponents on the road to Wembley and they had quite an easy run of it. West Brom (Div 2), Midland powerhouse Mansfield Town (Div 3), Newcastle (Div 1), Watford (Div 1 - but relegated that season), and Luton Town (Div 1) in the semis.