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Reds v Blues: The enduring rivalry in numbers

Monday 05 May 2014
Wembley and the Bobby Moore statue gets the Reds v Blues treatment

The FA's historian David Barber leafs through the history books for details of football's oldest rivalry.

1 Of all the FA Cup winners at Wembley, old and new, 25 have worn red and 25 have worn blue. Arsenal, Fabrice Muamba’s first professional club, could put the reds in front when they take on Hull City in this season’s Final.

2 Ashley Cole has picked up the most FA Cup winners’ medals in history – three for red Arsenal and four for blue Chelsea.

3 Royal Engineers, who played in the first-ever FA Cup Final and won it three years after that wore red and blue hooped shirts.

4 Barcelona, Champions League winners three times in the past eight years, are the most famous red and blue team in the world. They have worn those colours since 1900. When Malcolm Allison became Crystal Palace’s manager, he changed their colours to red and blue in deference to Barca and gave them Benfica’s nickname of ‘The Eagles’.

5 Red is the most successful colour in English football’s top flight, with the three most successful title-winning teams all wearing it – Manchester United (20), Liverpool (18) and Arsenal (13).

6 England wore red shirts when they won the World Cup Final at Wembley in 1966, changing from their usual white to avoid clashing with their West German opponents. England have rarely worn blue shirts but had them for an embarrassing defeat to USA in their first Finals in 1950.

7 England are the only World Cup winners to have worn red shirts. Ten winners have worn blue.

8 Belgium, one of this year’s World Cup Finalists, are known as ‘The Red Devils’ and their red strip reflects their nickname. Nine countries wear red as their first choice, with four in blue. USA wear a combination of red and blue.

9 Carlos Tevez swapped the red of Manchester United for the blue of Manchester City and the late Gary Ablett won The FA Cup in both the red of Liverpool and the blue of Everton.

10 It is an established medical fact that the human eye finds red to be the easiest colour to recognise. You see red before you see blue!

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By David Barber FA Historian