Which Team Has Won The Most Women’s FA Cups?

The Women’s FA Cup (formerly the Women’s FA Challenge Cup, though the name has changed a few times over the years), is a baby compared to the male equivalent, having been founded in 1970, 99 years after the more famous men’s competition. Even so, with over 50 years of history, it is very well established and has seen some wonderful finals over the years.

At the time of writing the draw for the quarter finals of the 2023/24 Women’s FA Cup has recently been made and has thrown up a number of juicy-looking ties. Several big teams from the Women’s Super League (WSL) are among the last eight, with leaders Chelsea set to face Everton, Man City travelling to Spurs, Brighton welcoming Man United, and Liverpool, currently fifth, hosting seventh-placed Leicester.

The final stages of this year’s cup, which began with almost 500 teams, promise to be captivating, but who will get their name on the trophy? There is a fair chance that we will see a new name on the FA Cup this year, with several of the quarter finalists never having won it before. But who has won the WFA Cup before and which side has won it the most?

Arsenal are Record Winners of the Women’s FA Cup

Arsenal Women Logo“Arsenal are the record winners of the FA Cup and have won it 14 times” is a statement that, for at least another whole season, can be applied to both the men’s and women’s games. In a nice piece of symmetry, the female and male Arsenal teams have both lifted their respective FA Cup a record 14 times. There really must be something in the water in that part of north London.

The achievement of the women’s team is all the more remarkable given the relatively short history of their version of the FA Cup. The men won their first tournament in 1930, whereas the women didn’t even have an FA Cup to enter until much later and didn’t claim their first title until 1992/93. Yes, that’s right, Arsenal Women have won the FA Cup 14 times since 1993! That’s some serious dominance. In addition, they have made the final a further three times and we can see a full list of their FA Cup final appearances in the table below.

Arsenal Women FA Cup Final Appearances

Final Year Result Opponent Score
1 1993 Won Doncaster Belles 3-0
2 1995 Won Liverpool 3-2
3 1998 Won Croydon 3-2
4 1999 Won Southampton Saints 2-0
5 2001 Won Fulham 1-0
6 2004 Won Charlton Athletic 3-0
7 2006 Won Leeds United 5-0
8 2007 Won Charlton Athletic 4-1
9 2008 Won Leeds United 4-1
10 2009 Won Sunderland 2-1
11 2010 Lost Everton 3-2 (AET)
12 2011 Won Bristol Academy 2-0
13 2013 Won Bristol Academy 3-0
14 2014 Won Everton 2-0
15 2016 Won Chelsea 1-0
16 2018 Lost Chelsea 3-1
17 2021 Lost Chelsea 3-0

As we can see, the Gunners have been staggeringly dominant over the last 30 years. That era of supremacy peaked between 2004 and 2016 when they made the final 10 times, winning on nine occasions. They have been by far and away the best side in women’s football for most of the 21st century. However, the table above shows how things are changing, with Chelsea having replaced the Gunners as the team to beat.

Over the past 10 years or so, more and more big (“men’s”) clubs have lent their support to the women’s club. Previously there may have been no link at all between them beyond a shared name, or at best a small degree of financial and logistical help. Increasingly the women’s team is seen as a full part of the broader club in more and more cases, with women even playing matches at the main club ground.

This has brought Arsenal’s golden era to an end but it wasn’t always like this and, in fact, when we look at other multiple winners of the Women’s FA Cup, we see some very unexpected names on the list. This is because, for a long time many established clubs didn’t even have an official women’s side at all!

Multiple Winners of the WFA Cup

The table below shows all teams that have won the Women’s FA Cup twice or more.

Team Wins Total Finals
Arsenal 14 17
Southampton Women’s 8 10
Doncaster Belles 6 13
Chelsea 5 7
Croydon/Charlton Athletic 3 7
Man City 3 4
Leasowe Pacific/Everton 2 6
Fulham 2 3
Millwall Lionesses 2 2

As we can see, the Gunners are well clear of the rest but the teams just behind them are names that may surprise some. Southampton won the first Women’s FA Cup and were by a country mile the best women’s team in the country during the 1970s. They made the final in each of the FA Cup’s first nine seasons, winning seven of those.

Doncaster Belles took over from Southampton in the 1980s and 1990s, winning the FA Cup in 1983, 1987, 1988, 1990, 1992 and 1994. In addition, they lost the final in 1984, 1985, 1986, 1991, 1993, 2000 and 2002.

Other Teams to Have Won the WFA Cup

There are eight further clubs that have managed to get their hands on the Women’s FA Cup and most of those are not names that will be familiar to the average football fan, even to those who have followed women’s football closely in recent years. They are:

  • St Helens – won in 1980, runners-up in 1981, 1983 and 1987
  • QPR – won in 1977, runners-up in 1976 and 1978
  • Friends of Fulham – won in 1985, runners-up in 1989 and 1990
  • Lowestoft Ladies – won in 1982, runners-up in 1979
  • Fodens – won in 1974
  • Howbury Grange – won in 1984
  • Norwich City – won in 1986
  • Birmingham City – won in 212, runners-up in 20017