The Road to Wembley

In this football language post we explain the phrase ‘The Road to Wembley‘ which describes how teams made it to the FA Cup (or League Cup) final. Don’t forget we have hundreds more explanations of football language in our football glossary and we also have a page full of football cliches. If you have questions or comments about this or any other phrase then email us at:

Football Language: The Road to Wembley

The FA Cup final takes place at the end of the season featuring the two last sides to remain in the oldest club knockout tournament in the world. In order to get to the final, teams have to defeat other sides over a series of rounds – there are 7 for Premier League and Championship sides, 9 for the other professional teams in the Football League, while a team could play up to 13 rounds if the were to enter at the preliminary round stage in August and make it to the final. This series of matches to reach the final is known as the ‘road to Wembley’ and refers to how a team qualifies for the FA Cup (or League Cup) finals – Wembley, of course, is where the final takes place. When TV commentators or pundits talk about the Road to Wembley they usually refer to how a team has qualified for the final – what teams they knocked out on the way there. The Road to Wembley could be fairly straightforward if a team has a lot of home matches (draws) against lower-league sides or it could be more complicated as they face teams from a higher league or maybe have to replay games due to draws. The Road to Wembley.

Example: Youngsters impress in early rounds on Arsenal’s road to latest Wembley final (Islington Gazette, August 2020)

Example: EFL Cup final: Manchester United v Southampton road to Wembley (Sky Sports, April 2019)

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Football ClichesEpisode 930