1996–97 FA Cup

1996–97 FA Cup
Country England
Champions Chelsea
Runners-up Middlesbrough

The 1996–97 FA Cup was the 116th season of the world's oldest knockout cup competition, The Football Association cup or FA Cup. The tournament started in August 1996 for clubs from non-league football and the competition proper started in October 1996 for teams from the Premier League and the Football League. The tournament was won by Chelsea with a 2-0 victory over Middlesbrough in the final at Wembley stadium.


Round Initial Matches New Entries Clubs
Preliminary Round Saturday 31 August 1996 340 574 → 404
First Round Qualifying Saturday 14 September 1996 118 404 → 260
Second Round Qualifying Saturday 28 September 1996 none 260 → 188
Third Round Qualifying Saturday 12 October 1996 none 188 → 152
Fourth Round Qualifying Saturday 26 October 1996 20 152 → 124
First Round Proper Saturday 16 November 1996 52 124 → 84
Second Round Proper Saturday 7 December 1996 none 84 → 64
Third Round Proper Saturday 4 January 1997 44 64 → 32
Fourth Round Proper Saturday 25 January 1997 none 32 → 16
Fifth Round Proper Saturday 15 February 1997 none 16 → 8
Sixth Round Proper Saturday 8 March 1997 none 8 → 4
Semi-Finals Sunday 13 April 1997 none 4 → 2
Final Saturday 17 May 1997 none 2 → 1

First round proper

For the qualifying rounds, see 1996–97 FA Cup Qualifying Rounds.

The First Round featured those non-league teams who had come through the qualifying rounds and the teams from the third and fourth tiers of the English football league system. The matches were played on 16 November 1996. There were thirteen replays, with two ties requiring a penalty shootout to settle them.

Tie no Home team Score Away team Date
1Ashford Town2–2Dagenham & Redbridge16 November 1996
ReplayDagenham & Redbridge1–1Ashford Town25 November 1996
Ashford Town won 4–3 on penalties
2Blackpool1–0Wigan Athletic16 November 1996
3Chester City3–0Stalybridge Celtic16 November 1996
4Chesterfield1–0Bury16 November 1996
5Burnley2–1Lincoln City16 November 1996
6Preston North End4–1Altrincham16 November 1996
7Wisbech Town1–2St Albans City16 November 1996
8Woking2–2Millwall15 November 1996
ReplayMillwall0–1Woking26 November 1996
9Gillingham1–0Hereford United16 November 1996
10Boreham Wood1–1Rushden & Diamonds16 November 1996
ReplayRushden & Diamonds2–3Boreham Wood26 November 1996
11Northwich Victoria2–2Walsall16 November 1996
ReplayWalsall3–1Northwich Victoria26 November 1996
12Macclesfield Town0–2Rochdale16 November 1996
13Crewe Alexandra4–1Kidderminster Harriers16 November 1996
14Shrewsbury Town1–1Scarborough16 November 1996
ReplayScarborough1–0Shrewsbury Town26 November 1996
15Wrexham1–1Colwyn Bay16 November 1996
ReplayWrexham2–0Colwyn Bay26 November 1996
16Hednesford Town2–1Southport16 November 1996
17Stockport County2–1Doncaster Rovers16 November 1996
18Brentford2–0Bournemouth16 November 1996
19Bristol Rovers1–2Exeter City16 November 1996
20Northampton Town0–1Watford17 November 1996
21Bromley1–3Enfield16 November 1996
22Plymouth Argyle5–0Fulham16 November 1996
23Carlisle United6–0Shepshed Dynamo16 November 1996
24Scunthorpe United4–1Rotherham United16 November 1996
25Mansfield Town4–0Consett16 November 1996
26Cardiff City2–0Hendon16 November 1996
27Runcorn1–4Darlington16 November 1996
28Torquay United0–1Luton Town16 November 1996
29Boston United3–0Morecambe16 November 1996
30Peterborough United0–0Cheltenham Town16 November 1996
ReplayCheltenham Town1–3Peterborough United27 November 1996
31Colchester United1–2Wycombe Wanderers16 November 1996
32Leyton Orient2–1Merthyr Tydfil16 November 1996
33Sudbury Town0–0Brighton & Hove Albion16 November 1996
ReplayBrighton & Hove Albion1–1Sudbury Town26 November 1996
Sudbury Town won 4–3 on penalties
34Whitby Town0–0Hull City17 November 1996
ReplayHull City8–4Whitby Town26 November 1996
35Cambridge United3–0Welling United16 November 1996
36Swansea City1–1Bristol City16 November 1996
ReplayBristol City1–0Swansea City26 November 1996
37Farnborough Town2–2Barnet16 November 1996
ReplayBarnet1–0Farnborough Town26 November 1996
38Hartlepool United0–0York City16 November 1996
ReplayYork City3–0Hartlepool United26 November 1996
39Stevenage Borough2–2Hayes16 November 1996
ReplayHayes0–2Stevenage Borough26 November 1996
40Newcastle Town0–2Notts County17 November 1996

Second Round Proper

The second round of the competition featured the winners of the first round ties. The matches were played on 7 December 1996, with four replays and one penalty shootout required.

Tie no Home team Score Away team Date
1Enfield1–1Peterborough United7 December 1996
ReplayPeterborough United4–1Enfield17 December 1996
2Blackpool0–1Hednesford Town7 December 1996
3Chester City1–0Boston United7 December 1996
4Chesterfield2–0Scarborough7 December 1996
5Barnet3–3Wycombe Wanderers7 December 1996
ReplayWycombe Wanderers3–2Barnet17 December 1996
6Bristol City9–2St Albans City7 December 1996
7Preston North End2–3York City7 December 1996
8Watford5–0Ashford Town7 December 1996
9Walsall1–1Burnley7 December 1996
ReplayBurnley1–1Walsall23 December 1996
Burnley won 4–2 on penalties
10Notts County3–1Rochdale7 December 1996
11Luton Town2–1Boreham Wood7 December 1996
12Wrexham2–2Scunthorpe United7 December 1996
ReplayScunthorpe United2–3Wrexham17 December 1996
13Plymouth Argyle4–1Exeter City6 December 1996
14Hull City1–5Crewe Alexandra7 December 1996
15Carlisle United1–0Darlington7 December 1996
16Mansfield Town0–3Stockport County7 December 1996
17Cardiff City0–2Gillingham7 December 1996
18Leyton Orient1–2Stevenage Borough7 December 1996
19Sudbury Town1–3Brentford7 December 1996
20Cambridge United0–2Woking7 December 1996

Third round proper

The third round of the season's FA Cup was scheduled for Saturday, 4 January 1997, although fourteen matches were postponed until later dates. This round marked the point at which the teams in the two highest divisions in the English league system, the Premier League and the Football League First Division (now known as the Football League Championship). There were nine replays, with none of these games requiring a penalty shootout to settle it.

Tie no Home team Score Away team Date
1Chesterfield2–0Bristol City14 January 1997
3Watford2–0Oxford United21 January 1997
4Reading3–1Southampton4 January 1997
5Gillingham0–2Derby County21 January 1997
6Leicester City2–0Southend United15 January 1997
7Notts County0–0Aston Villa14 January 1997
ReplayAston Villa3–0Notts County22 January 1997
8Nottingham Forest3–0Ipswich Town4 January 1997
9Blackburn Rovers1–0Port Vale4 January 1997
10Sheffield Wednesday7–1Grimsby Town4 January 1997
11Wolverhampton Wanderers1–2Portsmouth4 January 1997
12Crewe Alexandra1–1Wimbledon14 January 1997
ReplayWimbledon2–0Crewe Alexandra21 January 1997
13Middlesbrough6–0Chester City4 January 1997
14Luton Town1–1Bolton Wanderers21 January 1997
ReplayBolton Wanderers6–2Luton Town25 January 1997
15Everton3–0Swindon Town5 January 1997
16Wrexham1–1West Ham United4 January 1997
ReplayWest Ham United0–1Wrexham25 January 1997
17Hednesford Town1–0York City13 January 1997
18Wycombe Wanderers0–2Bradford City5 January 1997
19Queens Park Rangers1–1Huddersfield Town4 January 1997
ReplayHuddersfield Town1–2Queens Park Rangers14 January 1997
20Barnsley2–0Oldham Athletic14 January 1997
21Brentford0–1Manchester City25 January 1997
22Coventry City1–1Woking25 January 1997
ReplayWoking1–2Coventry City4 February 1997
23Manchester United2–0Tottenham Hotspur5 January 1997
24Norwich City1–0Sheffield United4 January 1997
25Plymouth Argyle0–1Peterborough United4 January 1997
26Carlisle United1–0Tranmere Rovers14 January 1997
27Crystal Palace2–2Leeds United14 January 1997
ReplayLeeds United1–0Crystal Palace25 January 1997
28Chelsea3–0West Bromwich Albion4 January 1997
29Charlton Athletic1–1Newcastle United5 January 1997
ReplayNewcastle United2–1Charlton Athletic15 January 1997
30Arsenal1–1Sunderland4 January 1997
ReplaySunderland0–2Arsenal15 January 1997
31Stoke City0–2Stockport County15 January 1997
32Birmingham City2–0Stevenage Borough4 January 1997

Fourth Round Proper

The Fourth Round ties were played with the thirty-two winners of the previous round. The matches were originally scheduled for Saturday, 25 January 1997, although six matches were not played that weekend. There was only one replay.

Tie no Home team Score Away team Date
1Leicester City2–1Norwich City25 January 1997
2Blackburn Rovers1–2Coventry City15 February 1997
3Bolton Wanderers2–3Chesterfield4 February 1997
4Hednesford Town2–3Middlesbrough25 January 1997
5Derby County3–1Aston Villa25 January 1997
6Everton2–3Bradford City25 January 1997
7Newcastle United1–2Nottingham Forest26 January 1997
8Manchester City3–1Watford5 February 1997
9Queens Park Rangers3–2Barnsley25 January 1997
10Portsmouth3–0Reading25 January 1997
11Manchester United1–1Wimbledon25 January 1997
ReplayWimbledon1–0Manchester United4 February 1997
12Carlisle United0–2Sheffield Wednesday25 January 1997
13Chelsea4–2Liverpool26 January 1997
14Arsenal0–1Leeds United4 February 1997
15Peterborough United2–4Wrexham4 February 1997
16Birmingham City3–1Stockport County25 January 1997

Fifth Round Proper

The Fifth Round matches were scheduled for Saturday, 15 February 1997. There was, again, only one replay.

Tie no Home team Score Away team Date
1Chesterfield1–0Nottingham Forest15 February 1997
2Leicester City2–2Chelsea16 February 1997
ReplayChelsea1–0Leicester City26 February 1997
3Derby County3–2Coventry City26 February 1997
4Manchester City0–1Middlesbrough15 February 1997
5Bradford City0–1Sheffield Wednesday16 February 1997
6Wimbledon2–1Queens Park Rangers15 February 1997
7Leeds United2–3Portsmouth15 February 1997
8Birmingham City1–3Wrexham15 February 1997

Sixth Round Proper

The sixth round ties were scheduled for the weekend of 8–9 March. No replays were required.

Chesterfield defeated Wrexham 1-0 in a rare "all third-tier" quarter-final clash, while Middlesbrough's 2-0 win at Derby County moved them a step closer to their first-ever FA Cup final.

9 March 1997
11:30 GMT
Chesterfield 1 – 0 Wrexham
Beaumont  58' Report
Saltergate, Chesterfield
Attendance: 8,735
Referee: Mike Riley

9 March 1997
13:30 GMT
Portsmouth 1 – 4 Chelsea
Burton  82' Report M. Hughes  25'
Wise  43'  86'
Zola  56'
Fratton Park, Portsmouth
Attendance: 15,071
Referee: Jeff Winter

9 March 1997
16:10 GMT
Sheffield Wednesday 0 – 2 Wimbledon
Report Earle  74'
Holdsworth  90+1'
Hillsborough, Sheffield
Attendance: 25,032
Referee: Roger Dilkes

8 March 1997
15:00 GMT
Derby County 0 – 2 Middlesbrough
Report Juninho  39'
Ravanelli  90'
Baseball Ground, Derby
Attendance: 17,567
Referee: Graham Poll


The semi-final ties were played at neutral venues on 13 April 1997. Middlesbrough and Chelsea came through their ties (with Middlesbrough requiring a replay against second division side Chesterfield) to reach the final.

Wimbledon, playing the semi-finals for the first time since they were FA Cup winners nine years earlier, had their hopes of FA Cup glory ended by a semi-final defeat at the hands of Chelsea, who had not played in an FA Cup final for 3 years. This came just weeks after Wimbledon had been eliminated from the League Cup semi-finals.

Middlesbrough, on the other hand, reached the FA Cup final for the first time in their history, but only after a 3-0 replay win over a Chesterfield side that had given them a serious run for their money in the first match with a 3-3 draw after taking a 2-0 lead and having a goal ruled out despite the ball crossing the line, therefore narrowly missing out on being the first "third tier" side to reach an FA Cup final.

13 April 1997
12:00 BST
Chelsea 3 – 0 Wimbledon
Hughes  43'  90'
Zola  64'
Highbury, London
Attendance: 32,674
Referee: Gerald Ashby

13 April 1997
15:00 BST
Middlesbrough 3 – 3 Chesterfield
Ravanelli  64'
Hignett  70' (pen.)
Festa  100'
Report Morris  54'
Dyche  60' (pen.)
Hewitt  119'
Old Trafford, Manchester
Attendance: 49,640
Referee: David Elleray

22 April 1997
19:45 BST
Middlesbrough 3 – 0 Chesterfield
Beck  12'
Ravanelli  57'
Emerson  89'
Hillsborough, Sheffield
Attendance: 30,339
Referee: David Elleray


Main article: 1997 FA Cup Final

The 1997 FA Cup Final took place on 17 May 1997 at Wembley Stadium and was won by Chelsea with a 2–0 victory over Middlesbrough. Di Matteo scored the fastest ever goal in FA Cup Final history 43 seconds after kick-off, beating Jackie Milburn's record from the 1954-1955 final of 45 seconds, which was only beaten in 2009 by Everton's Louis Saha (27.9 seconds). Chelsea were attempting to win their first FA Cup final for 27 years, while Middlesbrough were contesting their first ever final. Chelsea took to the field on the back of something of a renaissance under Dutch manager Ruud Gullit, having recorded their best league finish for a decade. Middlesbrough, on the other hand, began the final having been relegated from the Premiership and also been losing finalists in the League Cup.

It was Chelsea's first major trophy for 26 years, while Middlesbrough had never played in an FA Cup final or won a major trophy before.

Match details

17 May 1997
15:00 BST
Chelsea 2 – 0 Middlesbrough
Di Matteo  1'
Newton  83'
Wembley, London
Attendance: 79,160
Referee: Stephen Lodge (South Yorkshire)

Media coverage

For the ninth consecutive season in the United Kingdom, the BBC were the free to air broadcasters which was their last before ITV took over while Sky Sports were the subscription broadcasters.


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