Moving away from the distraction of David Moyes replacing Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, three weeks ago, I noted:
The cup finals in England, Spain and Italy this season all involve two clubs from the same city/metropolitan area – all Madrid final in Spain, all Rome final in Italy and all Greater Manchester final in England.
Double checked, and Wigan is part of the Greater Manchester metropolitan county, but not part of the Greater Manchester urban area.
After I learnt that this season’s Belarusian Cup Final was between FC Minsk and Dinamo Minsk, I added:
An all Minsk final in Belarus as well. Madrid, Manchester and Minsk. Rome is the odd one out.
This is the fourth all-Greater Manchester FA Cup Final. Bolton Wanderers played in all of the previous three:
|1904||Manchester City||v||Bolton Wanderers||1-0|
|1926||Bolton Wanderers||v||Manchester City||1-0|
|1958||Bolton Wanderers||v||Manchester United||2-0|
This is Wigan’s first FA Cup Final, but they have reached the League Cup Final before, 7 years ago in 2006, where they lost to Manchester United 0-4, in the only other major all-Greater Manchester final. The total of 5 major all-Greater Manchester finals equals that for the West Midlands, achieved much earlier:
|1887||Aston Villa||v||West Bromwich Albion||2-0|
|1892||West Bromwich Albion||v||Aston Villa||3-0|
|1895||Aston Villa||v||West Bromwich Albion||1-0|
|1931||West Bromwich Albion||v||Birmingham City||2-1|
|1963||Birmingham City||v||Aston Villa||3-1(h)||0-0 (a)||=3-1|
Also 4 in the FA Cup and 1 in the League Cup.
For the West Midlands, the first three, in the late 19th century, all involved Aston Villa and West Bromwich Albion. The subsequent two, including the one in the League Cup, both involved Birmingham City.
The 5 finals for Greater Manchester and the West Midlands is less than the 7 for London (5 in the FA Cup, 2 in the League Cup) but more than the 3 for Merseyside (all Liverpool) (2 in the FA Cup, 1 in the League Cup). The only other final involving clubs from the same city/urban or metropolitan area/region (ignoring controversies over how these are defined) is the all-East Midlands FA Cup Final between Nottingham Forest and Derby County back in 1898.
As a Greater Manchester club will win the FA Cup this season, that will bring the total number of FA Cup wins for Greater Manchester to 23, second only London which is on 30. London clubs have reached the finals 49 times, compared to 38 for Greater Manchester (including this season).
If the League Cup is included, London clubs have won 41 times and reached the final 72 times. After the final today, Greater Manchester clubs would have won 29 times and reached the final 54 times.
If Wigan Athletic win the FA Cup and are relegated from the top flight, they will be the first club to do both in the same season. Five clubs have previously reached the finals of the FA Cup and been related from the top flight in the same season:
- Manchester City, in 1926, losing 0-1 to Bolton Wanderers.
- Leicester City, in 1969, losing 0-1 to Manchester City.
- Brighton & Hove Albion, in 1983, losing 0-4 to Manchester United in a replay after a 2-2 draw.
- Middlesbrough, in 1997, losing 0-2 to Chelsea.
- Portsmouth, in 2010, losing 0-1 to Chelsea.
Also, if Wigan Athletic win the FA Cup, the winners of both the FA Cup and the League Cup this season would be clubs that had not previously reached even the semi-finals of that particular competition before.