Sir Alex Ferguson holding the FA Cup trophy.

Tales and trivia from United's FA Cup history

Friday 24 January 2020 16:40

Manchester United are one of the most successful sides in FA Cup history.

United have lifted the trophy on 12 occasions, most recently in 2016, and we've also come runners-up a further eight times.

Think you know everything about the Reds and our relationship with the world’s oldest cup competition? These facts may force you to reconsider...


United’s first FA Cup triumph in 1909 led to an almighty row about the trophy – and meant that three FA Cups were soon in existence! After that victory, United commissioned a replica of the FA Cup in celebration. The FA objected, saying that the FA Cup had to be unique, and had another different trophy made. United then handed the duplicate to the FA and the FA in turn presented the original Cup to Lord Kinnaird, who had played in nine of the first 11 finals.

Lingard's FA Cup winner against Palace Video

Lingard's FA Cup winner against Palace

Jesse's extra-time strike won us the FA Cup in 2016, etching his name into the history books 🏆


David Herd’s goal in the FA Cup third-round tie versus Bolton Wanderers on 6 January 1962 was the start of a remarkable run for the striker. The goal came on his FA Cup debut and Herd went on to score on his debut in four subsequent cup competitions: the Cup Winners’ Cup (1963), the Fairs Cup (1964), the European Cup (1965) and the League Cup (1966). Herd didn’t quite complete the set – his first league goal for United came in his second appearance.


Sir Bobby Charlton played a record 75 consecutive FA Cup ties for United between 1958 and 1973… an incredible unprecedented run that will surely never be beaten…


The second half of the 1990s was a golden era for Manchester United… and not just on the pitch. The FA Cup squads of 1994, 1996 and 1999 all stormed the pop charts: 1994’s Come On You Reds, recorded with Status Quo, was in the charts for a remarkable 15 weeks and remains the only club football side single to reach number one. 1996’s hitmakers recorded Move Move Move (The Red Tribe) which enjoyed four weeks in the charts peaking at number 50. 1999’s Lift It High (It’s All About Belief) hit number 11 and remained in the charts for six weeks.


The FA Cup win of 1996 provided a piece of Cup history: the first time that a non-British or Irish player had captained a winning side. The man? Eric Cantona, of course.


The FA Cup final has been played at Old Trafford three times: 1911 when Bradford City beat Newcastle; 1915 when Sheffield United beat Newcastle; and 1970 when it hosted the replay between Chelsea and Leeds United, which Chelsea won 2-1.

Eric Cantona was the first overseas player to lift the FA Cup as captain.


For all his achievements in the game, George Best never appeared in an FA Cup final.


United’s most regular FA Cup opponents have been Liverpool, who we’ve met 17 times in the competition. They’re closely followed by north London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham, who we’ve played 16 times each in the Cup.


United could be considered fortunate during that first Cup triumph in 1909, as the Reds were within 18 minutes of losing a quarter-final tie to Burnley when a sudden snowstorm caused the game to be abandoned and then replayed. The referee who abandoned the game, Herbert Bamlett, later became United’s manager. The Reds won the second fixture 3-2.


United have been drawn against Sunderland in the FA Cup four times… but there have been nine FA Cup matches between the teams! Each tie has required a replay (and in 1964 two replays). United have progressed to the next round each time.

Surprisingly, George Best never appeared in an FA Cup final.


United first entered the FA Cup in 1886/87, when the club was still known as Newton Heath. The Heathens suffered the (self-inflicted) indignity of being eliminated from the tournament without actually losing a game, refusing to play extra-time after the match with Fleetwood Rangers had ended 2-2. Fleetwood progressed to the next round by default.


Sir Matt Busby won an FA Cup winners’ medal as a player – with Manchester City in 1934. Of course, he won it twice with United as a manager, in 1948 and 1963.


United have played FA Cup semi-finals at 10 neutral grounds: Bramall Lane, Hillsborough, Villa Park, Highbury, the City Ground, Burnden Park, Maine Road, Goodison Park, Wembley and the Millennium Stadium.


Sir Alex Ferguson is one of only two men to have managed teams to Scottish and English FA Cup wins. He won four with Aberdeen (1982, 1983, 1984, 1986) and five with United (1990, 1994, 1996, 1999, 2004). The only other man to achieve this feat was Jimmy Cochran, who won Cups with Kilmarnock (1929) and Sunderland (1937).


Two sets of brothers have represented United in FA Cup finals, Jimmy and Brian Greenhoff in 1977, and Gary and Phil Neville in 1996 and 1999. It’s obviously a lucky formula, as United won all three games. Jimmy and Sandy Turnbull, who both were in the FA Cup-winning team of 1909, were unrelated!

Gary and Phil Neville played together in two FA Cup finals.


United are the only club to have appeared in a final in every decade since the 1940s. Can we reach one in the 2020s at the very first attempt?


Billy Meredith is the only player to have been a Cup winner with both United (1909) and Manchester City (1904). Carlos Tevez won everything else with the Reds but he didn't win the FA Cup until he was a Blue, in 2011.


The oldest player to score for United in the FA Cup is Ryan Giggs, who was aged 39 years, one month and 29 days when he opened the scoring in our 4-1 fourth-round win over Fulham in January 2013. He took the record from Bryan Robson, who was 37 when he netted in the Reds' 4-1 semi-final replay triumph against Oldham in 1994.

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