There are 18 clubs currently in the Premier League and Championship who have yet to win the FA Cup. Brighton are already among those to come close.
Forty years since Brighton reached their first FA Cup final, the south coast outfit have another chance at glory if they can find a way past Manchester United – the very team that bested them back in 1983.
The Seagulls are one of 18 sides from England’s top two tiers to have never lifted the famous trophy. Here’s how far those clubs have gone in the cup.
Bournemouth – quarter-final
The Cherries have reached the last eight of the FA Cup twice, first losing out to eventual runners-up Manchester United back in 1957, when they were still known as Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic, and again in 2021, with their run ended by Southampton.
Brentford – quarter-final
Brentford made three quarter-final appearances out of six tournaments 80 years ago but the Bees then had to wait until 1989 to reach the last eight again. Thomas Frank has yet to guide his side past the fifth round since his appointment in 2018.
Brighton – runners-up
Brighton took Manchester United to a replay in the final of 1983, but were blown away 4-0 by the Red Devils five days later. The Seagulls have reached the semis once since then, with a 1-0 loss to Manchester City in 2019. Potential for two tales of revenge at Wembley this year.
Crystal Palace – runners-up
While there’s no love lost between Brighton and Crystal Palace, the two rivals do share the experience of agonising defeats to Manchester United in FA Cup finals. The Eagles suffered a replay loss in 1990, as Alex Ferguson picked up his first trophy with the Red Devils, then an extra-time Jesse Lingard winner prevented the spectacle of Alan Pardew jigging up the Wembley steps in 2016.
On what would have been finals day at Wembley, we're talking all things FA Cup on Saturday's Football Focus!
And thanks to @josh_Denzel1 we even got @jesselingard to do *that* Pardew dance 😆
— Match of the Day (@BBCMOTD) May 22, 2020
Fulham – runners-up
World Cup hero Bobby Moore’s last appearance at Wembley ended in defeat, with his Fulham side losing out in the 1975 FA Cup final to West Ham, a club where the England icon enjoyed a legendary career. It was the furthest the Cottagers have ever gone in the competition, reaching the semis just once since.
Birmingham City – runners-up
Aston Villa picked up the most recent of their seven FA Cups way back in 1957, a year after their local rivals Birmingham City lost out to Manchester City in the final, with Citizens ‘keeper Bert Trautmann famously keeping the opposition at bay with a broken neck. It was the second time the St. Andrew’s outfit finished as runners-up, after defeat to West Brom in the final of 1931.
Bristol City – runners-up
1909 saw two teams squaring off for a maiden win in the competition, as Bristol City faced a Manchester United side featuring superstar winger of the era Billy Meredith. The original Welsh wizard put in a man-of-the-match performance as the Red Devils triumphed, picking up the first of twelve FA Cups. Meanwhile, The Robins have only reached one semi and one quarter-final since.
Hull City – runners-up
2-0 up against Arsenal after just eight minutes in 2014 seemed like a dream for Hull fans but Aaron Ramsey ended the Tigers’ fairy tale with a strike in extra-time to make it 3-2 after Santi Cazorla and then Laurent Koscielny got the Gunners level.
Luton Town – runners-up
Arsenal were on the wrong end of a 3-2 scoreline in the 1988 League Cup, losing out to Luton Town after Brian Stein’s instinctive finish in the last minute. It was a form of Wembley redemption for the Hatters, nearly 30 years after they’d suffered defeat at the hands of Nottingham Forest in their only FA Cup final appearance.
Middlesbrough – runners-up
FA Cup final defeat, League Cup final defeat and Premier League relegation by two points after receiving a three-point deduction for failing to fulfil a fixture. 1997 was quite the time to be a Middlesbrough fan.
Millwall – runners-up
Millwall reached the semis of both the 1900 and 1903 tournaments (strangely both won by Bury), but had to wait over a century before making the final. Overcoming Manchester United proved to be a step too far for the Lions, as Cristiano Ronaldo and Ruud van Nistelrooy found the net at the Millennium Stadium to add another cup to Ferguson’s collection.
Norwich City – semi-final
No FA Cup final appearance for Norwich City but they have reached the last four on three occasions. Beating the Canaries in the semis has proved to be a bad omen, with Luton (1959), Everton (1989) and Sunderland (1992) all subsequently finishing as runners-up.
QPR – runners up
Second-tier QPR took holders Tottenham Hotspur to a replay in the final of 1982, but a Glenn Hoddle penalty in the second game was enough to keep the cup at White Hart Lane. The Hoops haven’t gone further than the last eight since.
Reading – semi-final
Reading have yet to reach the final but there have been two semis for the Royals. A 1927 defeat to Cardiff City and an extra-time loss to cup specialists Arsenal in 2015.
Rotherham United – fifth round
Rotherham United managed to reach the inaugural League Cup final back in 1963, narrowly losing out to Aston Villa over two legs. However, the Millers have never gone further than the fifth round of the FA Cup and even that hasn’t happened since 1968.
Stoke City – runners-up
Desperate to end the 35-year trophy drought that was very publicly celebrated by their local rivals, Manchester City went into the final of 2011 as clear favourites ahead of Stoke City, with the Potters reaching the last two for the first time in their history. Yaya Toure scored the only goal of the game to give the Citizens the win and send the famous banner at Old Trafford into retirement.
Swansea City – semi-final
Swansea City became the first and only side to take the League Cup out of England after their triumph in 2013, but fierce rivals Cardiff City had already achieved the same feat in the FA Cup some 86 years earlier, with a 1-0 victory over Herbert Chapman’s Arsenal in 1927. The Swans came close to doing it first, having made the semis a season earlier; that’s an accomplishment they’ve only repeated once since.
Watford – runners-up
1983 saw Watford finish as shock runners-up in the First Division, their maiden campaign in England’s top flight. Graham Taylor’s men then reached the FA Cup final in 1984, losing out to an Everton side that would go on to win two out of the next three league titles. It wasn’t such a golden era for the Hornets 35 years later. After a record-equalling 6-0 thrashing at Wembley to moneybags Manchester City in 2019, they suffered relegation from the Premier League the following season.
James Wiles – whose Instagram has a plenty more interesting stuff