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Manchester United's Marcus Rashford (left) and Reading's Thomas Ince battle for the ball during the Emirates FA Cup fourth round match at Old Trafford, Manchester. Picture date: Saturday January 28, 2023.

Breaking down Man Utd’s remarkable run of being televised in the FA Cup

Eighty-three of Manchester United’s last 84 outings in the FA Cup have been broadcast live on television in the United Kingdom.

Given the viewing figures that United regularly draw in, it’s no surprise that the broadcasters almost always make the choice to televise the Red Devils.

However, the decision to always show their FA Cup matches – particularly the more forgettable and routine fixtures in the early rounds – has often drawn criticism for taking up a slot at the expense of a side lower down the footballing pyramid in England.

“When we beat Cardiff City here in the third round, the scenes at our stadium were magnificent and a giant-killing could be on the cards again. No disrespect, but is Manchester United playing Fulham more attractive to a football purist?” said former Macclesfield Town chief executive John Harris back in January 2013.

“For us, that money, £135,000, would be massive, it would save our season after relegation to the Conference, which was a huge blow. If David Gill [United’s chief executive] is feeling generous one morning and wants to divert that money down the A34 to Macclesfield, it would be very welcome.”

“We understand the rationale for our games being chosen,” responded a United spokesperson. “It also allows many more of our fans to see the matches than would otherwise be the case.”

The one United match in the FA Cup not picked up by UK broadcasters in the last 18 years was a third-round clash at home to Derby County back in 2018. Late goals from Jesse Lingard and Romelu Lukaku secured Jose Mourinho’s Red Devils a 2-0 win against Gary Rowett’s Championship Rams.

Since then normal service has been resumed, with the rest of United’s run to the Wembley final against Chelsea that season picked up by the BBC and BT Sport. The club are now into a run of 25 successive FA Cup matches being selected for broadcast.

Prior to that Derby match, the last United match in the FA Cup not to be selected for UK broadcast was a 0-0 draw at home to non-league Exeter City in the third round. The replay, a 2-0 away win at St. James’ Park, was shown on the BBC, and with it began a remarkable run.

Here’s Manchester United’s full list of FA Cup fixtures going back to 2005:

1. January 19, 2005 Third round replay vs Exeter City (A) 2-0
2. January 29, 2005 Fourth round vs Middlesbrough (H) 3-0
3. February 19, 2005 Fifth round vs Everton (A) 2-0
4. March 12, 2005 Sixth round vs Southampton (A) 4-0
5. April 17, 2005 Semi-final vs Newcastle United (Millennium Stadium) 4-1
6. May 21, 2005 Final vs Arsenal (Millennium Stadium) 0-0 (lost 4-5 on penalties)
7. January 8, 2006 Third round vs Burton Albion (A) 0-0
8. January 18, 2006 Third round replay vs Burton Albion (H) 5-0
9. January 29, 2006 Fourth round vs Wolverhampton Wanderers (A) 3-0
10. February 18, 2006 Fifth round vs Liverpool (A) 0-1
11. January 7, 2007 Third round vs Aston Villa (H) 2-1
12. January 27, 2007 Fourth round vs Portsmouth (H) 2-1
13. February 17, 2007 Fifth round vs Reading (H) 1-1
14. February 27, 2007 Fifth round replay vs Reading (A) 3-2
15. March 10, 2007 Sixth round vs Middlesbrough (A) 2-2
16. March 19, 2007 Sixth round replay vs Middlesbrough (H) 1-0
17. April 14, 2007 Semi-final vs Watford (Villa Park) 4-1
18. May 19, 2007 Final vs Chelsea (Wembley) 0-1
19. January 5, 2008 Third round vs Aston Villa (A) 2-0
20. January 27, 2008 Fourth round vs Tottenham Hotspur (H) 3-1
21. February 16, 2008 Fifth round vs Arsenal (H) 4-0
22. March 8, 2008 Sixth round vs Portsmouth (H) 0-1
23. January 4, 2009 Third round vs Southampton (A) 3-0
24. January 24, 2009 Fourth round vs Tottenham Hotspur (H) 2-1
25. February 15, 2009 Fifth round vs Derby County (A) 4-1
26. March 7, 2009 Sixth round vs Fulham (A) 4-0
27. April 19, 2009 Semi-final vs Everton (Wembley) 0-0 (lost 2-4 on penalties)
28. January 3, 2010 Third round vs Leeds United (H) 0-1
29. January 9, 2011 Third round vs Liverpool (H) 1-0
30. January 29, 2011 Fourth round vs Southampton (A) 2-1
31. February 19, 2011 Fifth round vs Crawley Town (H) 1-0
32. March 12, 2011 Sixth round vs Arsenal (H) 2-0
33. April 16, 2011 Semi-final vs Manchester City (Wembley) 0-1
34. January 8, 2012 Third round vs Manchester City (A) 3-2
35. January 28, 2012 Fourth round vs Liverpool (A) 1-2
36. January 5, 2013 Third round vs West Ham (A) 2-2
37. January 16, 2013 Third round replay vs West Ham (H) 1-0
38. January 26, 2013 Fourth round vs Fulham (H) 4-1
39. February 18, 2013 Fifth round vs Reading (H) 2-1
40. March 10, 2013 Sixth round vs Chelsea (H) 2-2
41. April 1, 2013 Sixth round replay vs Chelsea (A) 0-1
42. January 5, 2014 Third round vs Swansea City (H) 1-2
43. January 4, 2015 Third round vs Yeovil Town (A) 2-0
44. January 23, 2015 Fourth round vs Cambridge United (A) 0-0
45. February 3, 2015 Fourth round replay vs Cambridge United (H) 3-0
46. February 16, 2015 Fifth round vs Preston North End (A) 2-0
47. March 6, 2015 Sixth round vs Arsenal (H) 1-2
48. January 9, 2016 Third round vs Sheffield United (H) 1-0
49. January 29, 2016 Fourth round vs Derby County (A) 3-1
50. February 22, 2016 Fifth round vs Shrewsbury Town (A) 3-0
51. March 13, 2016 Sixth round vs West Ham (H) 1-1
52. April 13, 2016 Sixth round replay vs West Ham (A) 2-1
53. April 23, 2016 Semi-final vs Everton (Wembley) 2-1
54. May 21, 2016 Final vs Crystal Palace (Wembley) 2-1
55. January 7, 2017 Third round vs Reading (H) 4-0
56. January 29, 2017 Fourth round vs Wigan Athletic (H) 4-0
57. February 19, 2017 Fifth round vs Blackburn Rovers (A) 2-1
58. March 13, 2017 Sixth round vs Chelsea (A) 0-1

59. January 5, 2018 Third round vs Derby (H) 2-0 – NOT TELEVISED IN UK
60. January 26, 2018 Fourth round vs Yeovil Town (A) 0-4
61. February 17, 2018 Fifth round vs Huddersfield (A) 0-2
62. March 17, 2018 Quarter-final vs Brighton (H) 2-0
63. April 21, 2018 Semi-final vs Tottenham (Wembley) 2-1
64. May 19, 2018 Final vs Chelsea (Wembley) 0-1
65. January 5, 2019 Third round vs Reading (H) 2-0
66. January 25, 2019 Fourth round vs Arsenal (A) 1-3
67. February 18, 2019 Fifth round vs Chelsea (A) 0-2
68. March 16, 2019 Quarter-final vs Wolves (A) 2-1
69. January 4, 2020 Third round vs Wolves (A) 0-0
70. January 15, 2020 Third round replay vs Wolves (H) 1-0
71. January 26, 2020 Fourth round vs Tranmere (A) 0-6
72. March 5, 2020 Fifth round vs Derby (A) 0-3
73. June 27, 2020 Quarter-final vs Norwich (A) 1-2
74. July 19, 2020 Semi-final vs Chelsea (Wembley) 1-3
75. January 9, 2021 Third round vs Watford (H) 1-0
76. January 24, 2021 Fourth round vs Liverpool (H) 3-2
77. February 9, 2021 Fifth round vs West Ham (H) 1-0
78. March 21, 2021 Quarter-final vs Leicester (A) 3-1
79. January 10, 2022 Third round vs Aston Villa (H) 1-0
80. February 4, 2022 Fourth round vs Middlesbrough (H) 1-1 (lost 7-8 on penalties)
81. January 6, 2023 Third round vs Everton (H) 3-1
82. February 28, 2023 Fourth round vs Reading (H) 3-1
83. March 1, 2023 Fifth round vs West Ham (H) 3-1
84. March 19, 2023 Quarter-final vs Fulham (H) – Score TBC


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