After nine months since more than 700 clubs began their FA Cup journey, just two sides remain in the battle to lift football’s most famous trophy as the 2013 final takes place at Wembley.
In an age where the allure of Premier League riches and the search for European glory occupy most clubs and fans’ minds, the Cup Final continues to proudly stand out as the showpiece event in any football season and this year’s final is set to be no different.
ITV Sport and ESPN will have comprehensive coverage of the 132nd edition of this famous British sporting occasion on Saturday, May 11, which will see five-time winners Manchester City take on Cup Final debutants Wigan Athletic.
The 2013 FA Cup Final has the makings of a classic David and Goliath contest, a fitting way to mark the Football Association’s 150th anniversary this year.
Last season’s Premier League champions Manchester City are one of the richest clubs in football while Wigan are playing in the club’s first-ever FA Cup final.
City’s FA Cup triumph in 2011 added to their four previous wins between 1904 to 1969 and provided a springboard for their Premier League title success last season.
This season has been a relative disappointment for City but another Wembley triumph would be further proof of the strides the club are making.
The cup is City’s only hope of securing silverware this season after seeing their title defence ended by city rivals Manchester United.
Roberto Mancini’s City have been in the better form leading into the match, having won four of their last six league games while Wigan have won just one of their last six.
City midfielder Yaya Toure could miss out with a muscle complaint, while Scott Sinclair has been ruled out for the rest of the season with a shoulder injury.
Under the astute management of Roberto Martinez, Wigan have defied the predictions of many in recent years by retaining their Premier League status.
Once more the team is fighting to avoid relegation, but they will relish the opportunity to cause a big upset in the big Wembley showpiece occasion today.
The game will provide Wigan with a distraction from their fight to avoid relegation from the Premier League.
The Latics have reached the final for the first time and Roberto Martinez‘s men will be hoping to win the first piece of major silverware in the club’s history.
Injured Wigan defenders Antolin Alcaraz, Ivan Ramis, Maynor Figueroa and Ronnie Stam are out of the final, while Jean Beausejour is also struggling to feature with a hamstring injury.
Manchester City won the coin toss to decide who would wear which kit and chose to wear their home kit, while Wigan will play in their black away strip.
Andre Marriner has been chosen to referee the final, while former England and Great Britain Blind football captain Dave Clarke will be the FA’s guest of honour.
Clarke, who is also an FA 150 Ambassador, retired at the conclusion of the London 2012 Paralympics after an international career that saw him score 128 goals in 144 appearances.
He follows in the footsteps of the Duke of Cambridge, Sir Bobby Robson, Kofi Annan, Corporal Mark Ward and Jimmy Armfield who have all presented the trophy to the winning captain in past FA Cup Finals at the new Wembley.
The FA has also confirmed that the Wigan Athletic chairman, Dave Whelan, has been given special dispensation to lead the Latics out onto the pitch ahead of kick-off.
Whelan famously broke a leg in the first half of the 1960 FA Cup Final and was immediately rushed to hospital where he was later informed that his Blackburn Rovers side had lost 3-0 to Wolverhampton Wanderers.
ITV and ESPN will have live coverage throughout the day from Wembley, while BBC Radio 5 live and talkSPORT will provide live radio commentary.
Full details of how to follow the 2013 FA Cup Final on TV below:
ITV will provide free-to-air coverage of the 132nd FA Cup Final between Manchester City and Wigan Athletic.
Adrian Chiles introduces ITV and ITV HD’s live coverage from Wembley Stadium which features a full two-hour build-up ahead of a 5.15pm kick-off time.
Last year’s final was the first in the competition’s history to move away from the traditional 3.00pm kick-off, a contentious decision for some fans and football writers, but it attracted a peak viewing audience of more than 11 million, the highest audience for the final since 2007.
ITV’s countdown to kick-off begins at 3.15pm and the build-up will feature an array of special items and interviews with the key names and personalities involved in the afternoon’s contest from both camps.
Features include an interview with the two Toure brothers together, with Yaya reflecting on how close he came to joining Arsenal as a teenager, while the ITV crew visited Wiga for a game of charades with Latics players Paul Scharner and Mike Pollitt.
On hand to provide expert analysis in the studio will be the regular ITV trio of former Manchester United captainRoy Keane, three-time FA Cup winner Lee Dixon and Gareth Southgate, a finalist with Aston Villa in 2000.
Fans will get the unique opportunity to engage with the three ITV’s pundits during the build-up from 3.15pm, through to kick-off at 5.15pm.
ITV viewers can tweet their questions or comments about the game to the team at Wembley using the hashtag #AskGLR (that’s G for Gareth, L for Lee and R for Roy).
After the pre-match ceremonials, match commentary will be provided by Clive Tyldesley, who calls his eighth FA Cup Final for the network, and Andy Townsend.
Gabriel Clarke and Ned Boulting will be on reporting duties throughout the day, conducting interviews and gathering pre/post-match thoughts from both managers as well as the key players, figures and celebrities in attendance.
Live coverage will be available to watch in high-definition on ITV HD and live streaming of ITV’s Cup Final coverage can be viewed online via itv.com/football.
Extra-time and penalties permitting, ITV’s coverage will stay on-air until at least 7.45pm to capture all the atmosphere and celebration as the winners of the 2013 FA Cup Final are presented with the famous trophy.
If you miss any of the action on the pitch, ITV will screen a one-hour highlights show presented by Matt Smith at 11.00pm, featuring a round-up of the day’s events as well as further analysis and reflections from pundits Gareth Southgate and Andy Townsend.
Saturday 11th May
FA CUP FINAL 2013: Manchester City v Wigan Athletic
LIVE: 3.15pm-7.45pm – ITV
Highlights: 11.00pm-12.00am – ITV
Watch ITV’s live coverage online via - itv.com/football
ESPN will bring fans the 2013 FA Cup Final commercial free as part of a full day of live programming from Wembley Stadium, continuing the tradition of broadcasting all day around English football’s most famous day.
This will be the third consecutive year that ESPN has broadcast 12 hours of coverage around the final of the world’s oldest domestic cup competition.
Kicking off at 8.00am on Saturday, May 11, ESPN’s special FA Cup Final coverage will include a host of dedicated programmes – including Breakfast at Wembley and FA Cup Final Memories, plus special live editions of ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption and Talk of The Terrace.
ESPN will bring fans the FA Cup Final advert-free from 4.45pm (half-an-hour before kick-off) through to the trophy presentation, giving viewers uninterrupted coverage, including no adverts during the half time interval.
Presentation will be based at Wembley from dedicated studio sets and ESPN’s pitch-side set, as well as special positions around the ground including Wembley Way.
All 12 hours of continuous coverage will broadcast in high-definition on ESPN HD, although unlike previous years there will be no 3D coverage.
Starting the day at 8.00am is Breakfast at Wembley, setting the scene for the big day with discussion around the latest stories.
During Wembley Access All Areas from 8.30am, ESPN will announce the results of a special poll to establish fans’ all-time favourite moments from the world’s oldest domestic football competition.
Voting categories have been initiated round by round at ESPN.co.uk/facuppoll - starting ahead of the Third Round in January with a vote for the Greatest FA Cup giant-killing of all time.
At 10am, ESPN will debut FA Cup Final – Here’s to the Dream, which recounts the dozens of FA Cup tales featured by ESPN on its FA Cup TV coverage all season.
As part of a season-long collaboration with FA Cup sponsor Budweiser, ESPN has aired fan-focused FA Cup stories and short-films focused on famous FA Cup legends and players.
Then from 2.30pm ESPN’s presenting duo of Ray Stubbs and Rebecca Lowe will be joined by ESPN football analysts Kevin Keegan, John Barnes and Craig Burley plus special guests, for a pitch-side build-up to the kick off.
ESPN’s match commentary will come from Jon Champion and Chris Waddle, with pre-match analysis of the match using ESPN’s augmented reality tool, ESPN Arena, from Darrell Currie and Craig Burley.
Depending on extra-time and penalties, ESPN’s coverage will continue until at least 8.00pm with the presentation team capturing all the atmosphere and celebration as the winners are presented with the trophy.
The 2013 FA Cup Final brings the curtain down on ESPN’s live football coverage in the UK after four seasons, with the US broadcaster’s UK-based channels being taken over by BT Sport from July 31 onwards.
Ross Hair, Managing Director of ESPN Europe, said: “ESPN has relished bringing fans this season’s FA Cup, starting in the First Round as non-league Dorchester Town upset the odds to knock out League Two Plymouth.
“We were there in the fourth round when Brentford forced FA Cup holders Chelsea to a replay, and when Leeds United knocked out Spurs.
“The FA Cup Final has a special place in the hearts of football fans everywhere and our all-day, on-site coverage is an illustration of the passion we have for football’s greatest domestic football competition.”
Saturday 11th May
8.00am - Breakfast at Wembley (LIVE)
Breakfast at Wembley will chew the fat off the big news stories of Cup Final day. ESPN football reporter and presenter Darrell Currie will scour the back pages with two leading sports journalists to discuss the news items that will set the tone for the rest of the day.
Currie and guests will also be chatting with journalists from around the globe to learn how the world’s press is covering the world’s oldest domestic cup competition.
8.30am - FA Cup Final: Access All Areas Special (LIVE)
ESPN football presenters James Richardson and Kelly Cates will take us behind the scenes at Wembley stadium, meeting the characters that make the final happen.
No area is out of bounds for James and Kelly who, along with former Man City defender Danny Mills, Ex-Wigan midfielder Kevin Kilbane and other FA Cup legends, take a light hearted look at the stories behind the final.
Plus, fans’ choice of the Greatest FA Cup Final in history will be exclusively revealed following the unveiling of results from a special ESPN poll to establish fans’ all-time moments from the FA Cup.
10.00am - Here’s to The Dream – FA Cup Final
ESPN’s Rebecca Lowe will round up six of the special fan-focused films about the FA Cup that have been running all season on ESPN from the First Round.
Each fan film recount fans’ personal tales about the competition. Featured films include two Spurs fans recounting their side’s historic and much-debated 1981 FA Cup Final win.
10.30am – Pardon the Interruption UK: FA Cup Final Special (LIVE)
Quick-fire discussion based on the show’s signature format from Steve Bower and Steve Bunce.
11.00am – FA Cup Final Memories
ESPN analyst Steve McManaman plus four other FA Cup winners relive their memories of winning the FA Cup, plus discussion of other greatest moments from the FA Cup’s past.
12.00pm – FA Cup Final – Talking Tactics
ESPN analysts Craig Burley, John Barnes, Steve McManman and Martin Keown will look ahead to where the tactical battles will be in the Cup Final, predict what formations are likely to be played, analyse who the key players will be and where the game will be won and lost.
The show will also use ESPN’s augmented reality tool, ESPN Arena, which brings the tactics, formations, battles and key moves to life in 3D.
1.00pm – Talk of the Terrace – FA Cup Final Special (LIVE)
Live from the Terrace Bar at Wembley’s Hilton Hotel, Talk Of The Terrace will be presented by ESPN’s Mark Durden-Smith and special guest Jason McAteer in front of a studio audience.
Joining Mark and Jason will be an array of celebrity guests, plus ESPN’s ‘Off The Ball’ team drop by to give their unique take on the FA Cup Final.
Causing chaos on Wembley Way will be Joe Swash, a former winner of I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, who also takes a trip up Wembley’s iconic arch. Live music will come from the band, British Sea Power.
2.30pm – FA CUP FINAL MATCHDAY (LIVE)
Ray Stubbs and Rebecca Lowe present pitch-side from Wembley with Kevin Keegan, John Barnes, Craig Burley, Paul Jewell and Jason Roberts plus other special guests.
Plus, ESPN Technical Area, which provides 3D animated plays and players and analysis with Darrell Currie and Burley.
Reporters Rebecca Lowe and Currie will bring fans the stories around the match as the day unfolds and insight from the key players in both camps.
4.45pm-8.00pm – FA CUP FINAL 2013 (LIVE)
Live commercial-free coverage of the 2013 FA Cup final. Match commentary from Jon Champion and Chris Waddle on ESPN and ESPN HD.