Sunday 6 January 2013

Our dismal cup record since 1947

I had to do it, it's been knawing away at me since the final whistle yesterday.

News that our F A Cup record was perfectly balanced with 82 wins and 82 losses surprised some people and gave a flattering view of things. You could be forgiven for thinking that we have actually been much better than you thought.

Well, you need to consider that for almost the entire history of the competition, you have only been able to lose one match per season because you are then out and you are, of course, able to win more than one per season. On that basis, parity isn't quite so impressive.

However, I know from personal experience since the 1970's that our record has been worse than that so I had to delve deep into the recesses of the loft to satisfy myself. I reckon we have actually won 51, drawn 32 and lost 66 F A Cup matches since we won the competition in 1947. Out of 66 seasons, we have failed to win an F A Cup match in 34 of them, having been knocked out in our only game. In 18 seasons we managed one win before being knocked out and only in 14 seasons have we managed to win two or more ties. 

The fact is, we have had only four "cup runs" in 66 years, namely in 1981 (went out at Ipswich), 1994 (went out at Manchester United), 2000 (went out at Bolton Wanderers) and 2006 (went out Middlesborough). Nothing better than the 6th Round. Tell me who has a less impressive record - no-one in London I bet.

If you aren't convinced, it's no better in the League Cup where we have won 52 and lost 60 since it was inaugurated in 1960 (some seasons the ties are two-legged). In 54 seasons we have gone out in the 4th Round six times and in 2007 reached the heady heads of the 5th Round (Quarter-Final!) when we fell foul to a giant killing act by the Chairboys at the Valley.

My lament yesterday was also because I think our record is only likely to deteriorate given our approach to cups in recent seasons where we have decided to rest players and experiment with the attendant consequences against other clubs who don't.


  1. Dave, do you think it is a deliberate policy to not put as much effort in to the cup, or just the fortunes of war?

    On the face of it BWP deserved a role on the basis of the Derby performance. JJ is injury prone, and probably needed a rest as part of preventative maintenance, but I guess that if wanted a cup run we would have rested him against Blackpool not Huddersfield.

    I've wanted Cook to have a chance for some time, but again this could have been in the league, which isn't one-off.

    i'd have loved a cup run - for the first time in a while promotion hasn't been an imperative.

    Pembury Addick

  2. Agree with you. So frustrated that we fielded such a weakened side given we are not challenging for promotion- as soon as I saw the respective team sheets it was clear we'd be up against it. All the more frustrating when you think we couldn't beat their 10 men with our strongest side a few weeks back.

  3. Your article got me thinking, is there a worse record in the FA Cup? So I did some calculations. Based on current league clubs who have entered more than 70 times, there are 10 clubs who have a negative record (being lost more games than times entered!).

    Only two of these clubs are above League One status, and these are CAFC (0.958%) and Crystal Palace (0.979%).

    As we have won it maybe that puts us above them? Clutching at straws.

    Spare a thought for Rochdale, who have a record which seems unreal bearing in mind they would normally enter in round one, entered 95 times and won 74 matches (0.78%).

    Sorry if this is a bit Statto, but I think it proves a point. We are rubbish in the FA Cup, and lucky to get 6,000 attending!

  4. Hi there, I started the ball rolling on your "Note to Club" and will start again.....Having witnessed a number of Cup failures over the years, I will now be a "Cup Glory boy" and only buy an F A Cup ticket if we draw Premiership opposition and as a season ticket holder I will get preference over the £5/£10 occasional so called supporters

    But a goog review Dave

  5. PA - it looks, smells and tastes like a deliberate policy of not prioritising the cup then that's what I think is happening. Huddersfield approached it as a league game and we didn't. No excuses for not playing Solly and Morrison. I think it's fair enough to blood a youngster in these games but giving Cook the start with Kerkar on the other side was asking for trouble as well. The club needs to communicate very clearly next time around although I think irreparable damage has been done here. If we are going to use these games to experiment, then so be it. As long as we are told then we have the choice. The pricing on saturday was at least discounted - I would have felt even more annoyed if we had been charged £25.

  6. Good but depressing work Dave. By my calculations we won a quarter of as many matches in just two seasons - 1945/6 and 1946/7 - than we did in the next 66!!


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