Manchester City just beat Manchester United in the 2023 FA Cup final. But which teams have the most FA Cup wins to their name in the history of the competition?
Manchester City’s quest for the European treble is well and truly on. Just Inter in the Champions League stand in their way of completing a historic treble after they beat rivals Manchester United in the 2022-23 FA Cup final.
The two Manchester clubs are among the 44 different winners of the oldest competition in world football, but who holds the record for winning the most FA Cup titles?
Arsenal: 14 Wins
Arsenal are the most successful club in FA Cup history, having won the competition 14 different times.
They won their first FA Cup in 1930 in a 2-0 victory over Huddersfield Town under the stewardship of Herbert Chapman, who kickstarted a dominant period for the club in the 1930s, with the Gunners scooping up five league titles and another FA Cup win in 1936.
But Arsenal’s real period of FA Cup success has come in more recent years with the north London side winning the competition eight times between 1998 and 2020, with seven of those trophies coming under the management of Arsene Wenger. With those seven wins, Wenger is the most decorated manager in the competition and is the only Arsenal boss to have won the competition on more than one occasion.
Wenger’s first triumph came in 1998 against Newcastle, before he guided Arsenal to the showpiece event three years later where they were beaten by Liverpool.
But from then on, Arsenal have won seven consecutive FA Cup finals and their unbeaten finals streak is the joint-longest in history (tied with Tottenham who went seven unbeaten up between 1901 and 1987).
Arsenal’s most recent win came in 2020 under Mikel Arteta when they defeated Chelsea 2-1 behind closed doors at Wembley. Having won the competition twice as a player, this was Arteta’s first trophy with Arsenal.
Manchester United: 12 wins
Manchester United have won the FA Cup 12 times. With a final appearance in 2023, they equalled Arsenal’s record for the most FA Cup finals played in (21).
Unfortunately for United fans, they’ve lost more FA Cup finals (nine) than any other club.
Five of those 12 wins came under Sir Alex Ferguson, while their last win came in Louis Van Gaal’s final game in charge in 2016 – a 2-1 extra-time victory over Crystal Palace. Aside from that victory against Palace, United have finished as runners-up in four of their last five FA Cup finals.
Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur: 8 wins
English Premier League giants Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham follow close behind with eight FA Cup wins each.
Chelsea have an exceptional recent record of getting to FA Cup finals. Prior to 2022-23, they had appeared in five of the previous six. Winning them, however, has proven difficult of late.
The Blues hold the unwanted record for the most consecutive finals lost in FA Cup history, losing three in succession between 2020 and 2022.
Chelsea’s first FA Cup honour came back in 1970, with a 2-1 victory over Leeds United at Old Trafford. A barren spell followed but was finally ended in 1997 with Ruud Gullit leading them to victory against Middlesborough.
A further six FA Cups have arrived since then, four of them coming in a six-year period between 2007 and 2012. Chelsea and Arsenal full-back Ashley Cole was present in the Chelsea squad for each of those four victories, and together with three trophies he won under Wenger at Arsenal in the early noughties, he has seven FA Cup trophies to his name – the most of any player in history.
Liverpool are the current FA Cup holders, with their penalty-shootout win against Chelsea in the 2022 final their eighth FA Cup title in the club’s history. Prior to that, their last FA Cup win came back in 2006 against West Ham, in a game that’s become known as ‘The Gerrard Final’. Liverpool’s ex-skipper scored twice, including a 91st-minute equaliser to salvage the game for the Reds, before also scoring his penalty in the shootout.
Former Liverpool legend Ian Rush holds the record for the most FA Cup final goals. The striker scored two against Everton in 1986, got another brace against the Toffees in 1989 before scoring once against Sunderland in 1992.
Tottenham haven’t appeared in the FA Cup final in over 30 years now, with their last appearance coming in 1991 against Nottingham Forest. Spurs have a fantastic record in finals though, winning eight out of the nine they have appeared in (89%). Defeat to Coventry City in 1987 is their only FA Cup defeat.
Tottenham’s best period of FA Cup dominance came in the early 1980s when they won back-to-back cup finals against Manchester City and Queens Park Rangers.
Aston Villa, Manchester City: 7 Wins
Manchester City have dominated English football since Pep Guardiola joined the club in 2016-17, so it might be surprising to learn his tenure so far has only yielded two FA Cup trophies. The first came in 2019, as City crushed Watford 6-0 in the final. That six-goal victory equalled the biggest FA Cup final victory in history (tied with Bury’s 6-0 over Derby in 1903). That FA Cup win saw City complete a domestic treble in England, alongside winning the Premier League and League Cup.
In 2023, they won Pep Guardiola’s second FA Cup, and their seventh overall, with a 2-1 victory over rivals Manchester United. Guardiola has now won all six of his domestic finals in charge at the club.
City arguably should have won the trophy in 2013 but suffered one of the biggest FA Cup final upsets in history, going down 1-0 to Wigan Athletic.
It may surprise some to see Aston Villa this high on the list but, come on, football did exist before 1992. Villa won their seven FA Cup honours in the late 1800s and 1900s, and haven’t won the trophy since 1957, when they beat Manchester United. It took another 43 years for Villa to reach the final after that, where they lost to Chelsea thanks to a Roberto Di Mateo strike.
Villa’s last final appearance came in 2015 where they were easily beaten 4-0 by Arsenal.
Newcastle United, Blackburn Rovers: 6 Wins
Blackburn Rovers’ six FA Cup wins so far all came in a 44-year period between 1884 and 1928. In fact, between 1884 and 1891, Blackburn won five of the eight finals contested, including winning three in a row between 1884 and 1886. Three consecutive wins is the joint-most in the history of the FA Cup, tied with Wanderers in the late 1870s.
Newcastle won their first FA Cup in 1910 at the fourth attempt, having previously lost in each of the 1905, 1906 and 1908 finals. Numbers two and three followed in 1924 and 1932, before another mini-era of success dawned in the early 1950s. Newcastle won back-to-back trophies in 1951 and 1952 under Stan Seymour, before winning their sixth, and most recent, trophy in 1955 – defeating Man City 3-1 in the final.
Newcastle also played their part in perhaps the biggest non-league giant-killing in the Cup’s history, where they were beaten by non-league Hereford United. Hereford were trailing 1–0 with less than seven minutes to go in the Third Round proper replay, when Ronnie Radford scored a famous equaliser. Hereford’s Ricky George then won the game in extra-time.
Multiple Times FA Cup Winners:
Everton, West Bromwich Albion, Wanderers: 5 wins each
Wolves, Bolton Wanderers, Sheffield United: 4 wins each
Sheffield Wednesday, West Ham United: 3 wins each
Preston North End, Old Etonians, Portsmouth, Sunderland, Nottingham Forest, Bury: 2 wins each