Sport

May 2014

FA Cup Final

17.05.14
Wembley Stadium, London

Association Football's oldest ever cup competition has long been associated with drama ever since its inception in the 1871-72 season.

Then 15 teams took part, while today over 700 sides from every level of the English League system are eligible to compete - leading to the David v Goliath romance of the lowliest clubs facing their millionaire-packed rivals in the Premier League.

With no seeding system in place, there are chances for major clubs to be eliminated in the early rounds of this knockout competition. Teams are drawn from a bag, with the first side picked entitled to play at home. In fact, part of the appeal of the Cup is watching a club more used to gracing the manicured pitches of the top flight struggling to adapt to the half-waterlogged, hole-ridden and hilly pitches some of their lower league counterparts must put up with.

Since 1923, the final has been traditionally held at Wembley. That first Wembley final was won by Bolton Wanderers, while last year Portsmouth carried home the Cup.

However, despite the chances of lower-league opposition winning the final, it tends to be the big guns who prevail: Manchester United currently hold both records for most wins (11) and most appearances (18). The 2012 Cup Final was contested by Chelsea and Liverpool, with Chelsea defeating their rivals 2-1.

What is true, though, is that in no other English football competition are fans more passionate about their team.

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