Many clubs these days do not take the FA Cup quite as seriously as they used to, but its prestige and illustrious history are undeniable. The final at Wembley remains a special day in the English football calendar, and the list of recent finalists shows that the biggest clubs in the country are still keen to win the trophy.
In this article, we have picked out the 12 most successful teams in FA Cup history.
Wanderers’ place on this list really emphasises just how old the FA Cup is: the club was dissolved in 1887. The London-based team dominated the early years of the competition, though, winning five of the first seven editions (Royal Engineers and Oxford University triumphed in the other two). Wanderers beat the Engineers 2-0 in the inaugural final at The Oval in 1872.
Everton got their hands on the FA Cup for the first time in 1906, when they overcame Newcastle United at Crystal Palace. That was their third appearance in the final, and they have now made it through to the showpiece 13 times – their eight runners-up finishes is a joint-record. Everton also won the tournament in 1933, 1966, 1984 and 1995.
West Bromwich Albion (5)
West Brom reached three consecutive finals in the 1880s and finally emerged triumphant in the last of them, beating Preston North End in 1888 after losses to Blackburn Rovers and Aston Villa. The Baggies got their revenge on Villa in the 1892 final, before also going all the way in 1931, 1954 and 1968.
Newcastle United (6)
Most Newcastle fans alive today have not seen their team win silverware. The club’s last trophy came in 1955, when the northeast outfit beat Manchester City at Wembley to win the FA Cup. The Magpies were also victorious in the competition in 1910, 1924, 1932, 1951 and 1952, and have reached three finals post-1955 without winning any of them.
Manchester City (6)
With a 6-0 victory over Watford in 2019, Manchester City equalled the widest margin of victory in an FA Cup final. It was only the second time the club have lifted the trophy since their takeover by the City Football Group 12 years ago, having also come out on top in 2011. City’s first victory came in 1904, before further FA Cup wins in 1934, 1956 and 1969.
Blackburn Rovers (6)
Blackburn are the earliest winners of the FA Cup among the clubs that are professional today. Their victory in 1884 came after Old Etonians, Blackburn Olympic, Clapham Rovers, Old Carthusians, Wanderers, Oxford University and Royal Engineers had all lifted the trophy. Rovers proceeded to win the next two FA Cups as well, and also scooped the prize in 1890, 1891 and 1928. Their last appearance in the final came in 1960.
Liverpool have won the Champions League and the Premier League in the last couple of seasons – the two biggest prizes available to them. However, they have not lifted the FA Cup since beating West Ham United in a thrilling final in 2006. The Reds were also triumphant five years earlier, having previously won the tournament in 1965, 1974, 1986, 1989 and 1992.
Aston Villa (7)
Aston Villa have only reached two FA Cup finals (losing both) in the last half-century, yet they remain among the six most successful sides in the tournament’s history. That is down to their success in the last 1890s and early 1900s: Villa came out on top for the first time in 1887 and also went all the way in 1895, 1897, 1905, 1913 and 1920. Their most recent victory came with a 2-1 defeat of Manchester United in the final of 1957.
Chelsea have been one of the most successful teams in the FA Cup in the Premier League era, having won the tournament seven times since the top flight was rebranded in 1992. The Blues added the trophy to their cabinet in 1997, 2000, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2018, with their only previous victory coming in 1970 when they beat Leeds United in the final.
Tottenham Hotspur (8)
Tottenham, by contrast, have not won the FA Cup in the Premier League era but remain one of the most successful teams in the competition’s history. Spurs last claimed the trophy in 1991, before which they also came out on top in 1901, 1921, 1961, 1962, 1967, 1981 and 1982. That first victory makes them the earliest winners among teams from London that are in professional existence today.
Manchester United (12)
Manchester United won the FA Cup for the first time back in 1909, but they had to wait until 1948 for their second success. They triumphed again in 1963 and 1977, before quickly rising up the list of all-time winners in the 1980s and 1990s – United were the victors in 1983, 1985, 1990, 1994, 1996 and 1999. In the 21st century, the Red Devils have come out on top only twice, in 2004 and 2016.
Arsenal are the most successful club in FA Cup history, having won the tournament no fewer than 13 times. Their maiden triumph came under Herbert Chapman in 1930, before the Gunners also went all the way in 1936 and 1950. The 1970s brought two more trophies in 1971 and 1979, before another victory in 1993. Arsenal’s next seven FA Cup wins (in 1998, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2014, 2015 and 2017) came under Arsene Wenger, giving him more triumphs than any other manager.