Classic FA Cup replays: Man United vs. Arsenal, Spurs vs. Man City

Why many English clubs will feel 'let down' by scrapping of FA Cup replays (1:10)

Nedum Onuoha reacts to the decision to scrap replays in the FA Cup from the 2024-25 season. (1:10)

Having been a staple feature of the competition since the 1870s, England's Football Association announced this week that FA Cup replays will be scrapped as of next season.

Replays were removed from semifinal and final matches in the 1999-2000 season, from the quarterfinals in 2016-17 and from the fifth round onward in 2019-20. Now in a further bid to reduce the number of games played in the competition, the FA is removing replays from the first round onward for the 2024-25 season.

The changes have come as part of a new, six-year deal between the FA and the Premier League that will overhaul the domestic football calendar in order to facilitate the ongoing expansion of several European competitions.

The deal has proved understandably controversial, not only due to the eradication of a longstanding FA Cup tradition, but also because it would appear that the FA neglected to consult with any Football League, non-league or grassroots clubs before waving it through -- precisely the teams that benefit most from the replay system. Earning a second game against a more illustrious opponent from higher up the league pyramid can be highly lucrative for smaller clubs due to the additional gate receipts and broadcast revenue and can often be the catalyst for investment in that club's future or even securing their very existence.

This means that the final-ever replay in the long and storied history of the FA Cup will be Southampton's victory over Watford in this season's fourth round, in which Saints powered to a 3-0 win at St Mary's in February, a week after the two sides had registered a 1-1 draw at Vicarage Road.

So with replays set to be abandoned entirely after 150 years of service, it feels like a good time to look back at some of the classic ties we've witnessed -- matches full of tension, drama and some of the most abiding moments in FA Cup folklore.

- Stream on ESPN+: FA Cup, LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (U.S.)

Chelsea 2-1 Leeds United (April 29, 1970)

It took a replay for Chelsea to win the FA Cup for the first time when they hammered out a tempestuous 2-2 draw with Leeds at Wembley before reconvening at Old Trafford for a replay later in the month.

Tempers flared, aggressive tackles flew in, punches were thrown and headbutts were attempted (though only one yellow card was produced) as the Blues slugged their way to bruising victory via a brilliant diving header from club legend Peter Osgood.

Hereford United 2-1 Newcastle United (Feb. 5, 1972)

Perhaps the archetypal FA Cup giant-killing, at least for fans of a certain vintage, and the game in which Ronnie Radford wrote his name into English football pantheon. Radford's moment of magic came after Hereford, a team of part-time players, had forced Newcastle of the First Division into a third-round replay after tussling to a 2-2 draw at St James' Park.

The ensuing replay was staged on a near turf-less bog of a pitch at Edgar Street and seemed to have been settled in Newcastle's favour when they went 1-0 up with less than 10 minutes remaining. However, a spontaneous 30-yard wonder strike from Radford sent the tie into extra time (and sparked a premature pitch invasion) before fellow Hereford hero Ricky George jabbed home the shock winner in the 103rd minute.

Tottenham Hotspur 3-2 Manchester City (May 14, 1981)

After requiring a replay to see off Wolverhampton Wanderers in the semis, Tottenham again went the distance in the final where they came up against Manchester City. The final finished 1-1 with City midfielder Tommy Hutchinson scoring both goals: the opener for his side in the 30th minute and an unfortunate own goal in the 79th minute to draw Spurs level.

The replayed final was then staged at Wembley just five days later, on a Thursday. The two sides traded blows and found themselves level at 2-2 until the 76th minute, when Spurs hero Ricky Villa received the ball outside the City area, waltzed past four defenders and slid a finish past the goalkeeper to wrap things up in style. Villa's iconic FA Cup-winning goal was later voted Wembley Goal of the Century in 2001.

Everton 4-4 Liverpool (Feb. 20, 1991)

A chaotic eight-goal thriller that was the first of two replays between Everton and Liverpool in the fifth round of the 1990-91 FA Cup. The original tie ended goalless, leading to a replay which saw Liverpool take the lead four times and still somehow manage not to win as Graeme Sharp and Tony Cottee both scored two goals apiece for Everton.

The Merseyside rivals then met again for a second replay on Feb. 27, but only after Kenny Dalglish had resigned as Reds boss. Everton finally managed to secure a 1-0 victory in what was the last-ever FA Cup tie to go to multiple replays before the rules were changed soon thereafter.

Manchester United 2-1 Arsenal (April 14, 1999)

After the original tie had ended in a fairly ordinary goalless draw, Manchester United and Arsenal came face-to-face at Villa Park in what was the last-ever FA Cup semifinal to go to a replay. David Beckham opened the scoring for United before Dennis Bergkamp levelled things up in the second half. Arsenal then had a goal disallowed, United had a man sent off (no prizes for guessing it was Roy Keane) and Bergkamp failed to score a penalty in the final few minutes to send the game into extra time.

It was in the 109th minute that Ryan Giggs pounced on a loose ball in midfield and proceeded to scamper all the way into the opposing penalty area to score one of the competition's greatest goals -- a fabulous solo strike that sent United into the final and, ultimately to the treble.

Tottenham Hotspur 3-4 Manchester City (Feb. 4, 2004)

Some 10 days after the initial fourth-round tie finished in a 1-1 draw, Tottenham and Manchester City faced each other again at White Hart Lane in a match that produced one of the FA Cup's most incredible comebacks.

Things looked to be over after Spurs raced into a commanding 3-0 lead by half-time but, despite being brink of elimination (and a man down following Joey Barton's dismissal), City had other plans. Indeed a remarkable second-half slog saw Kevin Keegan's team fight all the way back to parity before Jon Macken weighed in with a 90th-minute winner.