Aston Villa beware: Five FA Cup finalists who also got relegated

Aston Villa

Tim Sherwood may be the toast of Birmingham after a 2-1 semi-final victory over Liverpool, but Aston Villa remain five points off the relegation zone.

Known for his love of ratios and statistics that paint him in the best light possible, the only numbers that mattered to Tim Sherwood this past Sunday were the ones that read: Liverpool 1 Aston Villa 2.

Yet the morning after the night before and the Villans gaffer may want to consider another notable figure: five.

That’s the number of points separating the Midlands outfit from the Premier League’s bottom three, and with just five games left to play it’s one worth keeping in mind for Sherwood.

After all, while Villa have excelled in the FA Cup this season, their campaign could yet be a miserable one if they walk out at Wembley as one of the top-flight’s three relegated sides.

They would not be the first team to achieve this unenviable feat either – here are five of the most notable sides to do this rather unfortunate double.

1. Leicester City – 1969

The Foxes went to Wembley in 1969 as something approaching outsiders for the drop, despite some decidedly dodgy form in the first division.

But after putting up a valiant fight to lose 1-0 to an impressive Manchester City side in the FA Cup final, a miserable run of results followed with Leicester ultimately going down after picking up just one point fewer than fellow strugglers Coventry City.

2. Brighton & Hove Albion – 1983

The already-relegated Seagulls gave a Manchester United team captained by Bryan Robson an almighty scare at Wembley 32 years ago with a performance that defied their finishing position as the basement club of the old First Division.

Drawing 2-2 with the Red Devils in extra-time, United goalkeeper Gary Bailey denied Gordon Smith late on to rescue a replay for the favourites. The Red Devils won 4-0.

3. Middlesbrough – 1997

Boro pulled off the remarkable feat of reaching two cup finals in the 1996-97 campaign as well as suffering relegation from the Premier League.

Beaten by Leicester City in a replayed League Cup final, Middlesbrough were docked three points in the Premier League after postponing a fixture against Blackburn Rovers at short notice, citing injury and illness.

It proved costly with Boro finishing two points behind Coventry and Southampton and subsequently going down. The FA Cup final was their last hope of salvaging something but Roberto Di Matteo gave opponents Chelsea the lead after 42 seconds and they lost 2-0.

4. Portsmouth – 2010

Financial issues put paid to Portsmouth’s Premier League existence with the club finishing bottom of the table having been deducted nine points after going into administration.

There was better news in the FA Cup though, with Pompey dispatching fellow top-flight sides Sunderland, Birmingham and most notably Tottenham en route to Wembley, where they were beaten by Chelsea in a tense 1-0 defeat that featured penalty misses from both teams.

5. Wigan Athletic - 2013

The most recent addition to the line-up of teams that were relegated and made the FA Cup final, Wigan remain the only side to make it all the way to Wembley and win but also drop down a division in the same campaign.

Facing off against a star-studded Manchester City, the Latics were the best team throughout with captain Ben Watson heading in an injury-time winner.

Despite the triumph, Wigan failed to make an immediate return to the top-flight, losing to QPR in the play-offs the following year before a miserable run in the 2014-15 campaign has them on the brink of dropping down into League One.

Register for ASTON VILLA team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch