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Jan 25 15 6:07 PM

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English 3rd-tier Bradford City made headlines yesterday with an impressive comeback win to beat Chelsea 4-2 away in the FA Cup, with some pundits calling it 'the greatest FA Cup upset of all time'. My opinion is that it was just 'one of', and to call it 'the greatest' is instant hyperbole at work. So here is a thread to debate the issue, FA Cup games or otherwise, matching the one in the international section (just minus the 'rankings' angle).

Early suggestions:
Sutton United 2-1 Coventry City, FA Cup 3rd Round, 1989
Wrexham 2-1 Arsenal, FA Cup 3rd Round, 1992
AD Alcorcon 4-0 Real Madrid, Copa Del Rey Round of 32 1st Leg, 2009
Portland Timbers 0-1 Cal FC, US Open Cup, 2012

And for overall seasons with league/cup runs: Calais, US Quevilly, Kaiserslauten, US Luzenac,... Bradford City.
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#1 [url]

Jan 25 15 7:14 PM

AZ'67 2-2 IJsselmeervogels on 13-03-1975, Dutch FA Cup. IJsselmeervogels won after penalties. AZ'67 Eredivie, IJsselmeervogels 3rd level in Holland.
PSV 1-6 Wageningen on 21-12-1977, Dutch FA Cup. Take notice PSV won the UEFA Cup later that season. Wageningen was 2nd level in Holland.

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#2 [url]

Jan 25 15 10:19 PM

In a league context another great shock was Werder Bremen 1-5 MSV Duisburg in the 1993/94 Bundesliga - reigning champions Werder Bremen, who had won the Cup Winners' Cup the year before, crashed spectacularly against a recently-promoted team.

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#3 [url]

Jan 25 15 11:47 PM

I may be biased but Everton's loss against Shrewsbury has to be up there.

Everton were 5th in the Premier Division after 22 games.
Shrewsbury were 18th in Division 3 after 24 games (and finished 24th - last overall in the football league)

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#4 [url]

Jan 26 15 10:41 AM

In 1984, Leventis United of Nigeria, a Third Division club, won the domestic Cup beating Abiola Babes (First Division club).

Source


In Italy, this kind of result is not very frequent. A coup de théâtre happened over the 1983-84 Coppa Italia, when Bari (playing in Serie C1, that is to say the Third level) eliminated Juventus, which that season won the Cup Winners Cup.


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TheRoonBa

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#5 [url]

Jan 26 15 10:40 PM

I think 3rd or 2nd level beating 1st level is an 'average shock'. For example, Sutton beating Coventry was 5th level beating 1st level at that time. Luton also beat Norwich away from home in 2013 (again, 5th level beating 1st level). Ripensia Timișoara (5th level) beat Universitatea Craiova (1st level) in the 2013/14 Romanian Cup. Also in England, Hereford (sadly recently ceased to exist) beat Newcastle in 1972 before the pyramid system was introduced equivalent of 5th level beating 1st level).

Last Edited By: TheRoonBa Jan 26 15 10:52 PM. Edited 2 times.

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#6 [url]

Jan 27 15 1:27 AM

It shouldn't be only about the difference in levels though. There are bigger gulfs between say top level and third level, compared to 3rd to 5th levels.

Bradford beating Chelsea has all possible degrees of difficulty. An away match against the top team in the country, in good form, with an almost invincible home record, fielding a strong team, without the help of very muddy pitch or some other external factor. And they came back from 2-0 down.

Almost all the other "classic" FA Cup shocks fail on at least one of the above measures. The one measure against the Bradford game is that they aren't a small club by cup upset standards, they took a large support to Chelsea which helped them a lot in the 2nd half.

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#7 [url]

Jan 27 15 10:50 AM

TheRoonBa wrote:
I think 3rd or 2nd level beating 1st level is an 'average shock'.

But is it an average shock when a 2nd level team beats the 1st level leaders 6-1 away as it happened in 1977? Like PSV 1-6 Wageningen?

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TheRoonBa

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#8 [url]

Jan 27 15 12:24 PM

Fast Midfielder wrote:
TheRoonBa wrote:
I think 3rd or 2nd level beating 1st level is an 'average shock'.

But is it an average shock when a 2nd level team beats the 1st level leaders 6-1 away as it happened in 1977? Like PSV 1-6 Wageningen?
The margin of victory is a shock.  But, for example, if it was PSV 1-2 Wageningen or even 1-3, the shock would be considered average.  If PSV had lost 1-2 at home to a 5th level team, the shock would have been greater than the 1-6 against a 2nd level team, in my opinion.

For Chelsea-Bradford, there are 50 places between the 2 teams.  It was more of a shock for the reasons Neil pointed out above, rather than Bradford being particularly lowly (they are challenging for promotion to the 2nd level and have recent cup pedigree, as mentioned).

For Sutton-Coventry in 1989,  for example, the league position gap was much greater.  At the end of the season, Coventry finished 7th in the top flight, and 97 places ahead of Sutton, who were only a mid-table Conference (5th level) team.

I think if we can find a greater difference than 97 league places, that would definitely be considered a shock.  For the aforementioned PSV-Wageningen, the difference in league positions between PSV and Wageningen at the end of the 1977-78 season was only 23.  If we consider any victory by a lower team as a shock, and don't pay attention to margin of victory, this would not qualify as a great shock.  But as I said, considering margin of victory certainly makes it a major shock.



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#9 [url]

Jan 27 15 3:43 PM

TheRoonBa wrote:
For the aforementioned PSV-Wageningen, the difference in league positions between PSV and Wageningen at the end of the 1977-78 season was only 23.  If we consider any victory by a lower team as a shock, and don't pay attention to margin of victory, this would not qualify as a great shock.  But as I said, considering margin of victory certainly makes it a major shock.



I think we also have to consider if this happens in a big or a small country. In England or Germany the gap between the #1 and #24 teams is not as big as in Holland, not to mention San Marino (if they have 24 teams).

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#10 [url]

Jan 27 15 6:10 PM

Is there an easy list of cup upsets ranked in order of league places between the teams? I would think that Sutton's 97 could be beaten by something like Chasetown or another early rounds minnow.

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#11 [url]

Jan 27 15 8:29 PM

Wow, that Hereford United winding-up thing completely slipped by me (I knew they were in financial difficulty, but those things 'usually' have a way of working themselves out). Fan-owned club Hereford FC will begin next season apparently.


And as easy as it is to use them for comparison, I reckon tiers alone should not be the full extent of the discussion. Some clubs in England's 5th-tier/non-league nowadays are fully professional (even the 9th tier and below have some semi-pro setups in place), France has amateur clubs from tier 3 downwards. Other factors to consider should be the size of the win, home team advantage, form, history, importance of the game, etc...

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#12 [url]

Feb 19 15 12:04 AM

It seems as though Serie B in Italy has a few contenders for a surprise season right now, but apparently they might get rejected for promotion through the ideas of one petty Lazio owner. Could Luca maybe shed some light on these disgraceful comments (http://www.football-italia.net/62590/lotito-phonecall-controversy) and whether this guy actually has the power to follow through or influence such a decision?

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#13 [url]

Feb 20 15 10:00 AM

The worst aspect is that he is not only Lazio president, but also an important councillor of FIGC!!
It's all about the money: Carpi and Frosinone are two "minnows" that represent two small towns, so if they reached Serie A next season, TV companies would buy the rights for small sums, and obviously FIGC profits would be quite exiguous. So he hopes bigger clubs can conquer the promotion, so that TV companies invest a higher sum of money to buy them.

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#14 [url]

Feb 20 15 9:39 PM

Luca wrote:
It's all about the money.
Don't think that part needed to be explained a lot smiley: wink. Looking at the current teams in each division, surely having a name like Carpi would be of more interest to a foreign viewer than, say, Empoli? In England, most neutrals would rather Bournemouth or Brentford have their first season in the top tier over someone like Middlesbrough who have been there many times, especially if Bournemouth have earned their spot through performance. Sassuolo have of course proved they can compete in Serie A over the last 2 seasons. Lotito should remember this isn't the NFL...

On that note, I hate how certain leagues/cups have minimum 'stadium requirements' that force smaller teams to either move or pay for upgrades before they can take part (despite upgrades, Eibar's stadium at least looks fairly modest). Fine to an extent for international football (so at least one venue per country can have standardised facilities), but part of the magic for a team playing in a competition 'above them' smiley: eyes is to host their opponents at their own tiny packed home, not the nearest empty-looking bowl that has an extra number of VIP boxes.

Although if it is their own choice in order to accommodate more fans (or for certain Ukranian clubs right now, not wanting to be in a warzone), then fair enough...

Last Edited By: mattsanger92 Feb 20 15 9:42 PM. Edited 1 time.

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#15 [url]

Feb 22 15 10:09 AM

In the midst of all, a terrible financial crisis is killing a glorious minnow: Parma Football Club. In the 1990s, Parma was one of the most exciting teams in Europe, winning 2 UEFA Cups, 1 Cup Winners Cup and 1 European Super Cup.
Not bad for a town of just 185,000 inhabitants.

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TheRoonBa

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#19 [url]

Feb 24 15 9:20 AM

nfm24 wrote:
Also Ipswich in the old UEFA Cup.


Yes, in 1981, Ipswich's population was only around 125,000. Their opponents in the final, AZ Alkmaar, came from a town with fewer than 100,000 people. I wonder if this was the record for the lowest combined population in a European club final... And of course, Monaco, who have never won a European competition but have reached the champions league final, with a population of around 30,000.

Last Edited By: TheRoonBa Feb 24 15 9:23 AM. Edited 1 time.

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#20 [url]

Feb 24 15 10:28 AM

It depends what we mean by "European club final". UEFA does consider the Intertoto Cup as an official club competition, so one of the 1996 finals was between Silkeborg and Segesta. Silkeborg and Sisak are two towns of approximately 40,000 inhabitants.

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