Let’s start with the history of the FA, which is English football’s governing body. Formed in 1863, the football game that we have all come to know and love dates from that time. London solicitor, Ebenezer Morley, formed Barnes FC in 1862 and he could be considered as the ‘father’ of the Football Association.
The first Football Association Challenge Cup tournament (aka the FA Cup) kicked off in November 1871. The following year, Wanderers became the first winners of the trophy, beating Royal Engineers 1-0 at The Oval. It is the oldest existing football competition in the world.
This year’s FA Cup final takes place at Wembley Stadium on Saturday 19th May – most likely with a 5.30pm kick off to avoid any clash with the Royal Wedding, which takes place on the same day. This will be the 12th year that the final has been hosted at the new iteration of Wembley, with last year’s winners, Arsenal, not in contention for this year’s trophy.
About the FA Cup
The competition encompasses the top 10 levels of the English football leagues and saw 737 teams battling it out on the pitch in the 2017-2018 tournament.
Consisting of 12 rounds, followed by the semi-finals and the final, the first six rounds are for teams below League Two level, with teams from the top four flights coming in later in the competition. It’s a tournament that’s loved by neutrals, thanks to its potential for ‘cupsets’: top flight teams being knocked out of the competition by teams from the divisions below. The 2017 FA Cup is the first time since the Football League’s foundation in 1888 that two non-league clubs have reached the fifth round.
Arsenal has the most wins in the tournament’s history with 13, and the Gunners also hold the record for the most appearances in a final. This year the club didn’t make the semis.
The 2018 FA Cup final
The semi-finals of this year’s competition were played at Wembley over the weekend of 21st and 22nd April. Manchester United secured their place in the final, beating Tottenham Hotspur 2-1.
Bookmakers had Spurs down as favourites to win the semi-final. The likes of Harry Kane, Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli are all having a huge impact on the team’s performance this season, which has seen them not only reach the FA Cup semi-finals, but also in with a good chance of finishing in the top four (if not the top three) in the Premier League. Alas, the FA Cup is not to be this year!
Mourhino saw his team triumph over Southampton in Sunday’s game – Southampton face potential relegation from the Premier League at the end of this season.
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