Tottenham: Club With A Tradition As A Cup Team – The Reality


Looking at some stats following last Saturday’s FA Cup Final brought home to me the reality of Tottenham’s tradition/reputation as a ‘Cup team’.

Another season has finished and once again Tottenham haven’t managed to add to their total of wins in the FA Cup. It is now 23 years since Spurs last reached the FA Cup Final. Tottenham has always been regarded as a club with a Cup tradition and especially in the FA Cup but that reputation has been wearing rather thin over the past two decades. At the start of every season, I think, perhaps this will be the year when Spurs will win the FA Cup but another season has passed without any hint of success in the competition that means so much to the fans with a trip to Wembley at the end of the season.

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In 1991 when Tottenham defeated Nottingham Forest at Wembley it was their 8th FA Cup Final success, making Spurs the club with the most wins in the competition, moving ahead of Manchester United who had won the trophy 7 times. At that time Liverpool and Arsenal had 4 wins each and Chelsea had 1 FA Cup success to their name.

Having not won the FA Cup in 23 years, it is surprising that Spurs are still 3rd in the list of FA Cup winners but in that period of time Arsenal’s win on Saturday was their 7th taking them level with United who have added 4 wins since 1991. Liverpool and Chelsea are now on 7 each, closing in on Spurs.

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FA Cup Success

Tottenham’s tradition in the FA Cup started back in 1901 as a non-League club defeating Sheffield United in a replay. It was another 20 years before they won it for a second time against 2nd Division Wolverhampton Wanderers. The third success came with the ‘Double’ team 40 years later in 1961 and it was over the next three decades that Spurs built up their reputation as a Cup team with further successes in 1962, 1967, 1981, 1982 and 1991 to bring our total of FA Cup wins to 8, where it remains.

The club’s tradition as a Cup team was further strengthened in that period with 2 League Cup successes and lifting 3 European trophies but since 1991, two League Cup triumphs in 1999 and 2008 is all that we have to look back on with fond memories.

Tottenham became regarded as a team who couldn’t sustain a season-long challenge for a league title but who with the players available to them could pull together for the 6 or 7 games required to win a Cup.

Since the last Wembley triumph Spurs have reached the semi-finals on 6 occasions without making it to the Final:

1993 Arsenal (Wembley) Lost 0-1
1995 Everton (Elland Road) Lost 1-4 Klinsmann (p)
1999 Newcastle United (Old Trafford) Lost 0-2 (aet)
 2001 Arsenal (Old Trafford) Lost 1-2 Doherty
2010 Portsmouth (Wembley) Lost 0-2 (aet)
2012 Chelsea (Wembley) Lost 1 – 5 Bale

In some of those semi-finals Spurs were on the wrong end of some debatable refereeing decisions but the biggest disappointments were probably in 1995 when Everton ruined what looked set to be a successful season with Jurgen Klinsmann and Teddy Sheringham in tandem and the 2010 defeat by Portsmouth. If, however, Spurs had made it to Wembley that season, they may have missed out on a Champions League finish and the excitement that particular campaign generated.

Since Spurs Last Win in 1991

  • Arsenal have won the FA Cup 7 times
  • Chelsea have 6 FA Cup wins
  • Ashley Cole has 7 FA Cup winners medals
  • Portsmouth and Wigan Athletic have won the Cup
  • Hull City, Stoke City, Cardiff City, Millwall, West Ham United, Southampton, Middlesbrough, Sheffield Wednesday (twice) and Sunderland have all been in the Final.

Hope Springs Eternal

For a club with a reputation as a Cup team, it’s about time they had another Wembley success. Being realistic, we know that currently Tottenham aren’t going to win the Premier League but with the players they have had in recent years Spurs should have been capable of lifting the FA Cup. A challenge for the Cup shouldn’t beyond them with the necessary application and ambition on the part of both players and management.

There’s always next season.

Come On You Spurs!

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