When was Fulham’s last “fun” cup draw?

Sammy James 10th January 2022
© Jon Hall

After Fulham’s latest drab cup draw, Sammy looks at how long its been since a knock-out tie that really got Fulham fans excited.

Oh why do we do it to ourselves? After Fulham’s fortuitous win over Bristol City on Saturday, a game that quite frankly none of us would have lost any sleep over if we lost, I found myself primed in front of the TV on Sunday afternoon for the fourth round draw.

With teams such as Boreham Wood, Kidderminster and Cambridge in the mix, something in my blood felt like this was Fulham’s time for an iconic FA Cup tie that would get our hearts racing.

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After maybe the world’s most innane conversation between the presenter, David James and Leah Williamson (“do you like the FA Cup?”, “Oh yes, I love the FA Cup”) the draw commenced.

One by one, the exciting ties disappeared, and Fulham were down to the final few balls. Out comes Manchester City away, and there’s only three teams left. After a scrabble around the bowl by Leah and even a dropped ball out of her grasp, like a moth to a flame, up comes Fulham for the most steaming turd of an FA Cup draw that could be envisaged.

For years, I feel like I’ve been saying on the podcast that Fulham never get fun cup ties, so I thought I’d put my theory to the test. To do this, I’m going to have to be slightly scientific, so I’ve drawn up the following criteria. If a game meets all of them, it’s a certified “fun” tie.

  1. A team at least two divisions apart from Fulham
  2. A team that Fulham have not played within five years of the game
  3. Away from home (and not behind closed doors)

League Cup

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First of all, let’s start with the League Cup (Carabao Cup, Milk Cup, whatever you want to call it)

SeasonTeamTwo Divisions Apart?Not played within 5 years?Away from home?
21/22Leeds Utd
21/22Birmingham City
20/21BrentfordN/A
20/21Sheff WedN/A
20/21IpswichN/A
19/20Southampton
18/19Man City
18/19Millwall
18/19Exeter
17/18Bristol Rovers
17/18Wycombe
16/17Bristol City
16/17Middlesbrough
16/17Leyton Orient

So actually, not too bad in the League Cup. That trip to Leyton Orient in 2016 definitely counts as a plum draw, especially given the proximity for most.

Wycombe in 2017 nearly counts, but is ruled out because we had played them in another League Cup tie at Adams Park only two years before.

FA Cup

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Let’s have a look at the FA Cup…

SeasonTeamTwo Divisions Apart?Not played within 5 years?Away from home?
21/22Bristol City
20/21BurnleyN/A
20/21QPRN/A
19/20Man City
19/20Aston Villa
18/19Oldham
17/18Southampton
16/17Tottenham
16/17Hull
16/17Cardiff
15/16Sheff Wed
14/15Sunderland
14/15Wolves
13/14Sheffield Utd

So there we have it, eight years since an FA Cup tie that you can officially count as “fun” as defined by my criteria above. A 1-1 draw at Bramall Lane in January 2014.

Annoyingly, I’m not particularly satisfied with the result, as Sheffield United doesn’t exactly feel like a noteworthy FA Cup tie, even though they were in League One at the time and it had been seven years since we played them.

Therefore, I went back a bit further to find a result that I think truly reflects a “fun” tie. Going back through, I would count the trip to Accrington Stanley in 2010 as the real result in my personal opinion.

However, rules are rules, and by the letter of the law I laid out – it’s eight years and counting.

Unless we pull off the impossible against Pep’s second string, that’s probably going to go up to at least nine.