Listening Report: The FA Cup in Numbers – Part II

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FA Cup in numbers

It’s a new year, and that means for football fans in England it’s FA Cup third round time. This week’s listening report looks at this competition with some key numbers. This is our second ‘FA Cup in Numbers, and you can read Part I here. This listening report is a shortened version of the regular weekly podcast. You can listen to the report by clicking on the link above and you can read the tarnnscript below with key vocabulary explained at the bottom of the post.

The FA Cup in Numbers – Part II

The third round of the FA cup is when the teams from the first and second tiers of the football league pyramid join the competition. Traditionally, this is the round where minnows meet the big teams, and fans hope for giant killings and upsets. Languagecaster takes a look at the competition through 5 numbers – each explaining a part of the competition’s story.


The FA Cup is a competition that has at its heart the fact that even amateur teams can join. There is the chance for small teams to do well. However, although we all talk about the romance of the cup, no team from outside the Premier League has won the FA cup since West Ham United, who beat Arsenal in 1980.


But before we get too gloomy about the chances of the minnows, how about Guernsey FC, who made it to the Second Qualifying Round of the FA Cup after winning twice before losing to Dover Athletic. They scored eight goals in their three games and became the first team from outside England ,Wales, Ireland or Scotland to take part in the competition. Guernsey is of course part of the Channel Islands, which are British Crown Dependencies.


This year’s tournament will be the 133rd. The FA cup has been held most years since 1871, although World Wars One and Two interrupted this run.


This year, there have been 737 entrants. The first year the competition was held in the 1871-72 season only 17 teams entered. The first games for this season’s FA Cup were held last year in August, and the first tie was between Darlington Railway Athletic from the 10th tier of the football pyramid against Newton Aycliffe from the ninth – the latter won convincingly 5-1 in front of 82 spectators.


The Cup has romance and glory, but not so much money. 1.8 million is the prize money in pounds that will be given to the winner of the FA Cup. This compares with £10.5 million for the Champions League. Of course the domestic cup will be less valuable than an international competition, but if you add the £60 million that a Champions League winning team can expect to receive from TV deals, then the difference becomes very clear indeed. Also, where you finish in the Premier league can mean wining or losing millions of pounds. Each place higher in the league last season was worth roughly £750,000. No wonder many managers in the Premier League focus most of their attention on staying in the division or trying to get into the Champions League rather than attempting to win glory in the FA Cup.

Football vocabulary and phrases used in this week’s listening report

tier: Level; division; rank

giant killing: When a small, less famous club defeats a club from a higher division

the romance of the cup: A cliche that many pundits use to talk about why the FA Cup is special

tie: Match; fixture; game

spectator: Fan; ;supporter; member of the audience

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I was born and brought up near Chester in the north west of England. I have always loved playing and talking about sport, especially football!
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