Arsenal’s proud record in the history of the FA Cup (Part Two) 1953 – 1993

Arsenal’s proud Cup record part 2. by Charles Veritie

The last line of part one reads: ‘To be continued’.

By 1953 we had been cup winners 3 times and three times losing finalists, and semi-finalist 9 times and League champions 7 times, runners up 3 times

There was no reason for supporters to think that ‘Forward Arsenal’ would not continue rolling along into the future and that it would come to a sudden stop. But history shows us, that is exactly what happened.

1954 came and went and was a nothing year and was to be followed by more and more ‘nothing years’ You can imagine the despair of the fans: Why aren’t we winning?’ or in modern parlance ‘We want our Arsenal back’.

It was to be 21 years before we won Cup number 4 and 18 years before we won League number 8. The years have become known by some as the: ‘The Long Sleep’.

In my opinion it wasn’t a long sleep, it was a ‘Never ending nightmare’ especially for the fans living in the vicinity of THFC. (The Horrible Football Club) Only once did we get as far as the Quarter Final of the Cup and 3rd was our highest in the League. With all of Arsenal in despair. THFC became the North London team to beat.

For them the highlight was 1961. We had to wait until 71 for revenge oh so sweet. The last game of the season on their pitch we headed the league championship winning goal and then headed off to Wembley and it ended 2-1 to the Arsenal against Liverpool.

The long sleep – the nightmare was over, or was it?

In 72 we were back at Wembley and another 1-0 cup final defeat, this time to Leeds. 73 saw a semi-final defeat to Sunderland and we fell back to the nightmare.

The story of 1971 is well covered, but there is one aspect I have never seen referred to. In order to make this clear, then we need to know/remember that Don Howe was the coach of the Double Team and that he was preceded by Dave Sexton.

Sexton had left his coaching position at Arsenal to become manager at Chelsea.

Much is made of THFC being our nearest neighbour, but Leyton Orient are just as close if not closer. This year they won the Second division title. They were our opponents in a semi-final in 1978. We won 3-0 and it was on to our 9th and first of three consecutive finals and another 1-0 loss this time to Ipswich.

1979 and we were back at Wembley facing Man United. The game was coming to a natural end with a certain 2-0 win for Arsenal, when the game exploded in the last 5 minutes with Man U scoring 2 goals. In what has become part of the Arsenal tradition in the last minute we scored the winning goal, and the game has become known as the ‘Five Minute Final’. Terry Neill was our cup winning manager and our coach Don Howe. The manager of Man. Utd – Dave Sexton.

In our 3rd consecutive semi-final, we played Liverpool, we played Liverpool, we played Liverpool, we played Liverpool 0-0. 1-1. 1-1 and 1-0 to Arsenal, can you imagine 3 replays today? We lost 1-0 to West Ham in the final.

As far as the League goes, we were still in our second nightmare.

In 1983 in a semi-final game, Man Utd had revenge for that Cup final defeat with 2-1 win over us. And we slumbered on.

When our next semi-final appearance came along, we were well awake having broken the heart of the Liverpool manager Dalgleish and the Liverpool hearts in the last minute of the season 89. But you know all this.

1991 and disaster hits us with a 3-1 semi-final defeat to THFC,

1993 and we are in the semi-final again and its THFC time again. This time it was a traditional 1-0 to the Arsenal and onto Wembley. A second triumphant last-minute win followed this time against Sheffield Wednesday.

To understand the impact of what happened next, we should note what happened in the 1987 cup final that was no direct concern of Arsenal at the time except that THFC lost to Coventry.

At that time, the star of THFC was Glen Hoddle. After the losing cup final Glen hoofed it over to France (Then a 2nd tier national team) and played for Monaco, where he won his only league champions medal and another cup winner’s medal. The manager of Monaco was Arsene Wenger.

To be continued.

Charles Veritie

Tags FA Cup History


  1. With Man City and Pep all Arsenal have is a history of winning to fondly remember- they won’t win a big trophy again.
    I’ve read several times that they have entered the race for Rice. That was nice while it lasted 🙁

  2. ausgooner – the bloke probably didn’t even wait for a response and high-tailed immediately.
    What does “cumguts” mean ? I’ve never heard that one before. Is it Antipodean for something gruesome ?
    Ashes soon – more Pommie bashing to come perhaps ? I’m looking forward to the series.

  3. I have never seen a situation where, in the space of five minutes, one section of the Wembley ground went from ecstacy to despair to ecstacy (take out the first ecstacy for the manure supporters 😂😂)!!

    That final against them was a cruise until the 85th minute and I remember so clearly the flags and banners being waved from their end and then, in the blink of an eye, they disappeared and we were all jumping around like bloody maniacs – such great memories and Liam Brady was superb that day.

    I’m winding up for part three and (I assume) four Charles??

    1. Mr K
      I was fortunate enough to attend all 3
      Despair, joy, Despair
      Paid over the odds on the first ticket from a ticket shop in the archway 2nd and 3rd decided to collected all the program vouchers … they were the days
      Went to both the Wednesday finals and saw tony Adam drop stevie marrow… butter fingers
      Standing room only please in those days.

  4. It has always annoyed me that the 1979 Cup Final is known as the ‘ five minute final ‘…people forget how well we played up to 85 minutes and we have never got the credit for playing so well, we completely dominated Utd and I couldn’t believe we conceded those 2 goals. I said to my mate at the time that it would be a travesty if we lost this. We were sitting level with the goalline and when that cross came over , from Rix I think, I could see that Bailey had misjudged it and Sunderland slid in and put it away. Everyone around us just went crazy.

    1. Marty
      I cannot believe you at that time would have turned to your mate and said travesty
      Let’s be honest now 😂

      1. Haha…..yeh perhaps I didn’t use the word travesty, there might have been the odd swear word as well.

  5. Base on our history, we may due to lay our hands on some sort of big mug now, we have been sleeping.for many moons.

  6. Domestically AFC is at the PINACLE of both major cups ie. league & FA cup wrt accomplishments. Having won the most FA cups & still the only club to have gone through a season undefeated, nobody can deny this fact. No wonder there are so many Gooner haters out there.

    Most certainly stems from their admiration & jealously.

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