Against All the Predictions: 6 of the Biggest English Footballing Upsets of All Time

Football. It's magic. And while the top tier teams will often consistently perform, on the odd occasion there's an upset to remember. Here are 6 of our favourite footballing upsets in English football history.


Football. It’s anyone’s game.

Except, most of the time, it isn’t is it?

As a general rule, in many games at the professional level, we can predict reasonably comfortably who will win. But certainly not all the time. And what keeps us hooked is the big upsets. The FA Cup magic days that see minnows thrash former Champions, the very rare reason that Leicester wins the league, the days you expected your team to take a hammering but they come out victors.

With that in mind, we’ve pulled together a list of the top 6 English footballing upset, the ones that defied the football predictions and left fans absolutely jaw dropped.

Crawley Town Hammer Leeds in the FA Cup 3rd Round (2020/2021 Season)

Going into the game, 62 league positions separated Crawley from Leeds. But you’d have been forgiven for thinking it was Crawley who were the higher ranked side, given their 3-0 stuffing of Leeds.

An FA Cup Fixture to remember.

Wigan Beat Manchester City to Win the FA Cup (2012/2013)

With one of the most expensive teams in history taking on opposition about to be relegated from the Premier League, all football predictions saw a straightforward win for Manchester City.

But Wigan had other ideas and went on to win their first major trophy in, at that point, their 81 year history.

Sadly, the side was also relegated from the Premier League just days later.

Oldham Knock Liverpool Out of the FA Cup (2012/13)

Despite being relegated from the football league entirely at the end of the 2021/22 season, Oldham were actually one of the founding members of the Premier League. But harder times had hit the club since, and when Liverpool visited Boundary Park to take on the then League One strugglers, you’d have been forgiven for predicting a simple win for the Reds.

But Oldham had different ideas and went on to beat Liverpool 3-2.

In the 5th round, Oldham went on to earn a replay with a draw against Everton at Boundary Park. But it was the end of the line as they eventually lost their replay 3-1.

Luton Knock Norwich Out of the FA Cup (2012/13)

Another piece of magic from the 2012/13 FA Cup. Non league Luton became the first non League side to send top flight opposition packing since 1989!! A hard fought game saw Luton battle out a 1-0 victory and left Norwich cheeks red! Not one the Luton fans will forget in a hurry.

Sunderland Beat Leeds in the 1973 FA Cup Final

As the 1973 FA cup final rolled around, Sunderland were a lowly division 2 side and Leeds were something of an English league powerhouse. So you’d have been forgiven for expecting the West Yorkshire side to absolutely trounce Sunderland.

But it wasn’t to be and Sunderland pulled off one of the most memorable FA Cup final victories in history, battling out a 1-0 to lift the trophy.

Bournemouth Knock Manchester United out of the FA Cup (1983/84)

In the 1983/84 season, Bournemouth were a tier three team. Meanwhile Manchester United were a top flight team who had won the FA Cup in the before.

With a third round FA cup tie against Bournemouth, United fans were probably already counting on their fourth round spot in a bid to defend the trophy. But Bournemouth, who at the time had a young Harry Redknapp amongst its team, beat them 2-0!

The Magic of a Big Upset

For fans of the big teams on the receiving end of an upset, it’s a bad day at the office. But for the ardent followers of non league football clubs trapsing across the country in anticipation of defeat (but desperate hopes of the opposite) the big upset days are the ones they talk about for years and years to come.

The magic of football, eh?


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