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The FA Cup - 57 Years and Counting

Eddie looks at Bolton's long history with the FA Cup.

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Former Bolton Manager Bill Ridding and Bolton Wanderers legend Nat Lofthouse.
Former Bolton Manager Bill Ridding and Bolton Wanderers legend Nat Lofthouse.
PA Archive/Press Association Images

As a founding member of the Football League, Bolton Wanderers have a long and distinguished history in English football. This includes the Whites' time in the FA Cup. Bolton have reached seven finals, winning four of them.

After losing finals to Notts County in 1894 and Manchester City in 1904, Bolton made it a third final in 1923, coming up against West Ham United. It would be the first game to be played at Wembley Stadium, and due to high demand, it's speculated around 300,000 people came to the game.

Bolton would go on to win the game 2-0. The game is now known as 'The White Horse Final' due to the fact that mounted policemen, including one on a white horse, had to be brought in to clear the crowds from the pitch and allow the match to take place. The match began 45 minutes late as crowds stood around the perimeter of the pitch. You can watch the game here.

Among the scorers that day was club legend David Jack, who also scored the winner in the 1926 FA Cup Final against Manchester City.

SIDENOTE: David Jack was sold to Arsenal in 1928 for £10,890 (a then world record) due to Bolton's financial troubles. Some things never change.

Bolton won their 3rd FA Cup in 1929, a 2-0 win over Portsmouth. The mastermind behind the three FA Cup wins was manager Charles Foweraker, who managed the club from 1919 to 1944. (he managed 912 games!)

Twenty-Four years after the win over Portsmouth, Bolton reached their sixth final, coming up against Blackpool FC. Bolton would go on to lose 4-3. The game is now known as the 'Stanley Matthews Final', due to the wingers impressive performance during the game.

Five years later in 1958, the Lion of Vienna Nat Lofthouse captained Bolton to their 4th FA Cup, beating Manchester United 2-0.

Since that memorable win over Manchester United in 1958, Bolton haven't made it to another FA Cup Final.

In the 90's, Bruce Rioch's arrival brought the 'White Hot' years. Bolton became known for their giant killing prowess. Among the famous wins was a 2-0 victory against Liverpool at Anfield. (At the time, Bolton were a League 1 side.)

The following year, after overcoming the 'difficult' challenge of Gretna FC, (you can read Chris' recollection of that game by clicking here.) White Hot Bolton struck again, beating Everton 3-2 and Arsenal 3-1 away from home.

Bolton would eventually make to the Quarter Finals, losing 1-0 to Oldham Athletic at Burnden Park. Typical.

Following the appointment of Sam Allardyce in 1999, Bolton made it to the Semi-Finals of the FA Cup in 2000, where they played Aston Villa at Wembley. We all know how that one ended.

Bolton would reach the Semi-Finals again in 2011, under the management of Owen Coyle. Bolton would go on to lose 5-0 against Stoke City. However, the best moment of the 2011 cup run came in the Quarter Finals at Birmingham City, when Chungy headed in a beautiful last minute winner to send Bolton to Wembley.

Of the 19 Bolton managers that followed after Bill Ridding, only Allardyce and Coyle reached the Semi-Finals.

This weekend, Bolton's 2016 FA Cup adventure begins. They face the only remaining non-league side, Eastleigh, at the Silverlake Stadium. The last time Bolton were knocked out by lower league opposition was in 2004, when Tranmere Rovers beat Bolton 2-1 in a 3rd round replay at the Reebok.

Bolton haven't made it past the 4th round in last three years.

Will Bolton make it 58 years without an FA Cup? Or will we finally get to celebrate a famous cup win?

Probably the former.