Tomorrow Arsenal plays Hull City in their record eighteenth FA Cup Final appearance; they are tied with Manchester United. Hull City will be making their first appearance.
Here is a brief accounting of our Cup Final appearances.
1926-1927 – Arsenal vs Cardiff City
Arsenal’s first final, but sadly we lost 0-1 and it’s the only time the FA Cup left England.
This was also the first time that there was community signing at a FA Cup Final.
The tradition of signing “Abide with Me” which was written in 1847 by a vicar from Devon also had its debut performance.
1929-1930 – Arsenal vs Huddersfield Town
Our first FA Cup victory, and first ever trophy, we won 2-0 on goals by Alex James and Jack Lambert. This was the start of one on our most successful decades, we were led by Herbert Chapman undoubtedly the greatest Manger of his time and arguably Arsenal’s best ever Manager. The Final was interrupted by a fly over of the German airship Graf Zeppelin.
1931-1932 – Arsenal vs Newcastle United
Our second loss we were beaten 1-2 with Bob John scoring our only goal.
In the thirty eighth minute with Arsenal winning 1-0 Newcastle attacked down the right wing, a long pass appeared to go over the line but it was hooked into the middle and they scored an easy equaliser. The linesman was ninety feet away and the referee sixty feet but the referee still gave Newcastle the goal. Newsreel confirmed that the ball had crossed the line.
1935-1936 – Arsenal vs Sheffield United
Our second victory we won 1-0 with Ted Drake scoring our goal.
Having won the League Championship three seasons in a row we now added our second FA Cup to our trophy collection. Herbert Chapman had died suddenly two years earlier and George Allison was now our manager. It was our sixth success in League and Cup in seven seasons.
1949-1950 – Arsenal vs Liverpool
Our third victory we won 2-0 with Reg Lewis scoring both goals.
This was the era of the Compton brothers, Denis and Leslie, both were famous footballers and cricketers. They played in both sports for England with Leslie not making his football debut for England until he was thirty eight years old.
1951-1952 – Arsenal vs Newcastle United
Our third loss we were beaten 0-1.
Newcastle became the second club to win the Cup in successive years after Blackburn Rovers in 1890 and 1891. Arsenal was down to ten men in the thirty fifth minute after Wally Barnes was injured, Newcastle scored the only goal of the game six minutes from time. Winston Churchill made the Cup presentation to Newcastle; he is the only Prime Minster to have made the presentation at Wembley.
1970-1971 – Arsenal vs Liverpool
Our fourth victory we won 2-0 with goals by Eddie Kelly and Charlie George.
This was indeed Red Letter day for Arsenal, having won the League Championship at White Hart Lane the victory secured our first League and Cup double. We were drawn away in every round of the competition and needed a replay to beat Leeds United in the semi-final. Charlie George scored his unforgettable winning goal from twenty five yards out in the twenty first minute of extra time.
1971-1972 – Arsenal vs Leeds United
Our fourth loss we were beaten 0-1.
This was a disappointing day for Arsenal but it set up the first stage of the “Double” for Leeds. They went to Wolverhampton just forty eight hours later needing only a draw to clinch the League Championship but to their disappointment they lost 2-1.
1977-1978 – Arsenal vs Ipswich Town
Our fifth loss we were beaten 0-1.
This was the fiftieth Cup Final and Arsenal was the odds on favourites to win their fifth FA Cup but Ipswich, managed by Bobby Robson, had other thoughts. They reduced Arsenal to nothing more than a supporting role and won the game with a goal in the seventy sixth minute but they also hit the post or bar on three other occasions.
1978-1979 – Arsenal vs Manchester United
Our fifth victory we won 3-2 with goals by Brian Talbot, Frank Stapleton and Alan Sunderland.
The game was described as the “Five Minute Final” a routine heavy weight bout with a finish that matched the “Matthews Final” in raw excitement. Arsenal led 2-0 with less than five minutes remaining when Manchester United scored two goals in 115 seconds. Extra-time appeared inevitable until Liam Brady, who was the architect of Arsenal’s first two goals picked up the ball straight from the re-start. He passed to Graham Rix, on the left, who centered to Alan Sunderland and he slid the ball into the net for the winning goal.
1979-1980 – Arsenal vs West Ham United
Our sixth loss we were beaten 0-1.
One of the most disappointed Arsenal fans on this day was GunnerN5 – I drove, on my own, four hundred miles through the mountains from Coeur D’Alene, Idaho to Cranbook, British Columbia. I had booked a hotel room in Cranbrook as the game was not being shown in the USA. Even a bottle of Macallan could not mask my disappointment and the return journey, the next day, was one of the longest and loneliest drives of my life.
1992-1993 – Arsenal vs Sheffield Wednesday
Our sixth victory we won 2-1 with goals by Ian Wright, Wright, Wright and Andy Linighan.
Arsenal became the first club to win both the FA Cup and the League Cup in one season but Sheffield United would prefer not to talk about that as they were the team that lost to Arsenal in both Finals. Andy Lineghan headed home the winning goal from a Paul Merson corner kick in the last minute of extra time
1997-1998 – Arsenal vs Newcastle United
Our seventh victory we won 2-0 with goals by Marc Overmars and Nicolas Anelka.
Arsenal finally beat Newcastle in a FA Cup Final having lost to them in both 1932 and 1952. This was Arsene Wengers first full season as Arsenal manager and he ended the season with a fist full of silver after winning both the FA Cup and The League Championship to secure Arsenals second “Double” season.
2000-2001 – Arsenal vs Liverpool
Our seventh loss we were beaten 1-2 with Freddie Ljungberg scoring our only goal.
Arsenal dominated the game but Liverpool came from behind to win 2-1, thus winning the FA Cup for the sixth time. It was the second trophy of their treble-winning season of 2000–01: they had won the Football League Cup in late February and would win the UEFA Cup four days later. As well as being the first FA Cup Final to be staged outside of England, it was also the first in which the managers of both teams were from outside the British Isles – Liverpool’s Gérard Houllier and Arsenal’s Arsène Wenger both coming from France.
2001-2002 – Arsenal vs Chelsea
Our eighth victory we won 2-0 with goals by Ray Parlour and Freddie Ljungberg.
Ljungberg, having also scored in the 2001 final, became the first man to score goals in successive FA Cup Finals since Tottenham Hotspur’s Bobby Smith, who scored in 1961 and 1962. The match took place with one week remaining in the Premier League calendar for the 2001–02 season. Arsenal were in first position, but still needed a point from their final two games to secure the championship, which they achieved in their next match with victory over second-placed Manchester United. It was Arsene Wengers second and Arsenals third League and Cup double.
2002-2003 – Arsenal vs Southampton
Our ninth victory we won 1-0 with Robert Pires scoring the only goal.
The Gunners won their second Cup in 2 years with a dominant performance over Southampton. The gulf in class between the 2 teams was not evident in the score line as Arsenal won by the single goal, a scrambled shot by Robert Pires. The last 7 minutes of the game saw Arsenal retain almost constant possession accompanied by a string of cheers from their supporters. Southampton had a mere 2 chances to score. the last of which came in the dying seconds as Ashley Cole saved the day with a goal line clearance.
2004-2005 – Arsenal vs Manchester United
Our tenth victory we won a penalty shootout 5-4 with Patrick Vieira scoring the decisive penalty.
The game was dominated by Manchester United who did everything but score a goal, Arsenals defence was stubborn to the end and forced the game into a penalty shootout.
Van Nistelrooy took the first penalty for Manchester United, in front of the United fans, and sent Lehmann the wrong way to give United the early advantage. Lauren then converted the next penalty for Arsenal, before Scholes stepped up to take United’s second, only to see it saved by Lehmann, diving low to his right. The next six penalties were all scored – Ljungberg, Van Persie and Cole for Arsenal, Ronaldo, Rooney and Keane for Manchester United – leaving Vieira with the opportunity to win the FA Cup for Arsenal in his last match for the club before moving to Juventus. Although Carroll guessed the correct way to dive, Vieira’s kick was just out of his reach, giving Arsenal their 10th FA Cup. Manchester felt aggrieved to have lost a game where they outplayed Arsenal – but frankly who gives a damn?
2013-2014 – Arsenal vs Hull City
The game is still to be played.
The Cup is still to be raised.
The story is still to be written.