2003–04 FA Cup
|Champions||Manchester United (11th title)|
|Top goal scorer(s)||Ruud van Nistelrooy
The FA Cup 2003–04 was the 123rd staging of England and the world's oldest football competition, the Football Association Challenge Cup, or FA Cup.
The competition began on 23 August 2003, with the lowest-ranked of the entrants competing in the Extra Preliminary round. The FA Cup 3rd Round was the first time that clubs from the Premiership and Division One competed in the competition.
The semi-finals were staged at neutral venues and, like the final, would not be replayed in the event of a draw. The competition culminated with the cup final at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff for a fourth year in a row, since Wembley Stadium was still in the rebuilding process. The cup was won by Manchester United for a record 11th time, with a 3–0 victory over Millwall from Division One.
|Round||Date (weekend of)||Matches||Clubs||Prize money|
|Extra Preliminary Round||Saturday 23 August 2003||73||661 → 588||£500|
|Preliminary Round||Saturday 30 August 2003||182||588 → 406||£1,000|
|First Round Qualifying||Saturday 20 September 2003||124||406 → 282||£2,250|
|Second Round Qualifying||Saturday 27 September 2003||84||282 → 198||£3,750|
|Third Round Qualifying||Saturday 11 October 2003||42||198 → 156||£5,000|
|Fourth Round Qualifying||Saturday 25 October 2003||32||156 → 124||£10,000|
|First Round Proper||Saturday 8 November 2003||40||124 → 84||£16,000|
|Second Round Proper||Saturday 6 December 2003||20||84 → 64||£24,000|
|Third Round Proper||Saturday 3 January 2004||32||64 → 32||£40,000|
|Fourth Round Proper||Saturday 24 January 2004||16||32 → 16||£60,000|
|Fifth Round Proper||Saturday 14 February 2004||8||16 → 8||£120,000|
|Sixth Round Proper||Saturday 6 March 2004||4||8 → 4||£300,000|
|Semi-finals||Saturday 3 April 2004||2||4 → 2||£900,000|
|Final||Saturday 22 May 2004||1||2 → 1||£1,000,000|
First round proper
This round is the first in which Football League teams from League One and League Two compete with non-league teams. Luton's Adrian Forbes and Sheffield Wednesday's Adam Proudlock netted hat tricks. Shildon AFC, of the Arngrove Northern League (level 9 on the football league pyramid), were the lowest ranked team left in the competition in the first round.
- Ties were played over the weekend of 8 November 2003.
Second round proper
Ties were played over the weekend of 6 December 2003. Mansfield's Liam Lawrence showed how interested Championship and premiership clubs were with him by netting a hat trick.
Third round proper
This round marks the first time Championship and Premier League (top-flight) teams play. Matches were played on the weekend of Saturday, 3 January 2004, with replays on 13 January and 14 January.
Fourth round proper
Ties played during the weekend of 24 January 2004, with replays on 3 February and 4 February.
|Tie no||Home team||Score||Away team|
|3||Nottingham Forest||0–3||Sheffield United|
|4||Wolverhampton Wanderers||1–3||West Ham United|
|5||Luton Town||0–1||Tranmere Rovers|
|9||Manchester City||1–1||Tottenham Hotspur|
|replay||Tottenham Hotspur||3–4||Manchester City|
|10||Northampton Town||0–3||Manchester United|
|11||Coventry City||1–1||Colchester United|
|replay||Colchester United||3–1||Coventry City|
|16||Swansea City||2–1||Preston North End|
The match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City was particularly notable. Tottenham led the match 3–0 at half-time but Manchester City turned the match around in the second half to win 4–3, with Jon Macken scoring the winning goal in the 90th minute. This was despite Manchester City having one less player on the pitch during the second half after Joey Barton was red carded during the half-time interval.
Fifth round proper
- Matches played weekend of 14 and 15 February 2004
- Three replays played week commencing 22 and 25 February 2004.
- Four non-Premiership sides (including a Division Two side) progressed to the quarter-finals.
|Tie no||Home team||Score||Away team||Attendance|
|3||Sheffield United||1–0||Colchester United||17,074|
|4||Tranmere Rovers||2–1||Swansea City||12,215|
|5||Fulham||0–0||West Ham United||14,705|
|replay||West Ham United||0–3||Fulham||27,934|
|6||Manchester United||4–2||Manchester City||67,228|
- Matches played on the weekend of Saturday, 6 March 2004.
- There was one replay between Tranmere and Millwall, played on Tuesday 16 March.
- Two Division One sides progressed to the semi-finals, while another was eliminated at this stage. In addition, a Division Two side reached the quarter-finals and were only eliminated after a replay.
|Manchester United||2 – 1||Fulham|
|van Nistelrooy 25', 62'||Report||Malbranque 23' (pen.)|
|Portsmouth||1 – 5||Arsenal|
|Sheringham 90'||Report||Henry 25', 50'
Ljungberg 43', 57'
|Millwall||0 – 0||Tranmere|
|Sunderland||1 – 0||Sheffield United|
|Tommy Smith 15'||Report|
|Tranmere||1 – 2||Millwall|
|Gary Jones 41'||Report||Cahill 11'
- Matches played on the weekend of Saturday, 3 April 2004.
- Two teams from Division 1 featured in the semi-finals (Millwall and Sunderland) who faced each other. The other tie was an all-Premiership affair between Manchester United and Arsenal, held at Villa Park.
- Both games were played at neutral venues.
|Arsenal||0 – 1||Manchester United|
|Sunderland||0 – 1||Millwall|
Manchester United won the game and lifted the trophy for the 11th time in their history (a competition record) with a 3-0 victory over a Millwall side who were the first team from outside the top flight to reach the FA Cup final in 12 years.
22 May 2004
|Manchester United||3 – 0||Millwall|
van Nistelrooy 65' (pen.), 81'
In the United Kingdom, the BBC were the free to air broadcasters for the third consecutive season while Sky Sports were the subscription broadcasters for the sixteenth consecutive season.