The English FA Cup has earned itself a reputation of being one of England’s most prestigious trophies and certainly one of the most exciting competitions. If there’s anyone out there that enjoys routing for the underdog, this is the competition for you!
Arsenal currently hold the record for most FA Cup wins with 14 currently at the time of writing however since the competition was formed back in 1871, there have been plenty of upsets. Big upsets at that!
Heading back in time, to 2013 to be precise, Wigan Athletic did the unthinkable and ended up winning the competition, beating some huge opponents along the way; Watford, Stoke, Leeds, Barnsley and then Chelsea in the semi final before progressing into the final where a 91st minute winner from Ben Watson would seal the game for the Latic’s in a final that would go down in history.
However, where are Wigan’s FA Cup winners currently playing their football? Let’s take a look…
GK – Joel Robles (Betis)
Spanish goalkeeper Joel Robles played a huge part in Wigan’s FA Cup win in a season that saw the stopper make only nine appearances after joining on a loan move from Spanish giants Athletico Madrid. Then 22 year old Robles, was tipped to have a big future in the game and following a loan move at Wigan, he earned himself a move to Premier League side Everton where he would then go on to spend five years.
Despite making less than 50 appearances for the Toffees, he played in some important games for the Merseyside club and continued to develop into a more than capable goalkeeper at any level.
Robles did leave Everton in 2018 in favour of a move back to his home country to join Real Betis. Since joining, Robles has made over 50 appearances for the club.
RB – Emmerson Boyce (Ashton)
Boyce certainly gained a reputation amongst the Wigan supporters as a fan favourite due to his loyalty to the club and consistent performances. He started his career coming through the youth ranks at Luton Town before joining Crystal Palace in 2004. He went on to spend two years at the club making over 70 appearances before making the switch to Wigan Athletic.
Between 2006 and 2015, Boyce made almost 300 appearances for Wigan and was always one of the first names on the team sheet. Given the fact he had spent nine years at the club, it’s clear to see why he was liked by their fan base.
At the ripe age of 36, Boyce moved on from Wigan and spent a season at Blackpool Town where he would go on and play the majority of the games in the 15-16 season before ultimately hanging his boots up and calling it a day. Four years later he made a return to football to join Non league Ashton Town where he is still involved today.
CB – Paul Scharner (Retired)
Perhaps a name that many young supporters may not be familiar with however the Austrian born defender is certainly known amongst the Wigan fan base.
Paul started his career in his home country of Austria and joined the Latics in 2006 and went on to spend four years at the club making over 150 appearances before moving on to join West Brom and eventually Hamburger SV. However in 2013, Scharner returned to Wigan on a loan deal from the German club and went on to make 15 appearances in the season of the FA Cup triumph.
That season would turn out to be his last in professional football as the defender decided to call it a day at the age of 33.
CB – Antolin Alcaraz (Olimpia)
Partnering Scharner at the back in the cup final was Antolin Alcaraz. Before we continue, can I just add how impressive that name truly is!
The Paraguayan defender joined Wigan Athletic in 2010 following a three year spell in Belgium with Club Brugge where he made over 70 appearances.
Similarly to many of the players featuring in this article, Alcaraz spent a fair bit of time at the Latics. Three years to be precise, making again over 70 appearances for the club playing a big part in Wigan reaching the final of the FA Cup.
Alcaraz would go on to leave Wigan the season that they triumphed in favour of a move to Everton where he found his game time very limited. Making just 14 appearances over two seasons at the club before joining Las Palmas and then Libertad. However, Alcaraz currently plays his football back in his home country with Olimpia.
LB – Roger Espinoza (Kansas City)
The last of the back four from Wigan’s starting 11 from the game is Roger Espinoza. A Honduras international.
Espinoza joined Wigan the year that they won the cup, joining from Sporting Kansas City. A club where he made over 120 appearances over four years. Despite many fans expecting Espinoza to be more of a backup option, he did in fact go onto play the majority of Wigan’s games that season. Scoring two along the way.
His stay in England was successful but short as Espinoza would leave Wigan after just one year at the club to go back to Kansas City where he still currently plays today. 10 years and counting for Espinoza in the Major League Soccer.
RM – James McCarthy (Crystal Palace)
A name that surely any English football fan will recognise.
At the age of 18, McCarthy made the switch to Wigan after coming through the ranks at Hamilton Academical. Between 2009 and 2013 the Glasgow born midfielder went on to make over 120 appearances for Wigan which considering his age, very impressive. Seven goals to his name along the way. He was tipped to have a massive future in the game and he has certainly lived up to the expectations he set himself back then.
After impressing at Wigan, and lifting the FA Cup, McCarthy earned himself a move to Everton where he would again spent a significant amount of time at the club; six years.
After falling slightly out of favour at Everton, he made the switch to Crystal Palace in 2019 where he currently plays today.
CM – James McCarthur (Crystal Palace)
From James McCarth(y) to James McCarth(ur) now… Not only do they have almost identical names, they also have near identical career paths.
Similar to McCarthy, McCarthur started his career playing for Hamilton Academical before moving to Wigan in 2010; a year after the arrival of his teammate James McCarthy.
The Scottish midfielder spent four years at the Latics before deciding it was time to move on and find himself a new club in 2014. Again, a year after his former team mate…
James McCarthur didn’t join Everton. I suppose that’s the one difference we can find here. Instead he transferred to Crystal Palace where he has now made over 200 appearances for the club and still plays today.
You get the sense them two might be good mates…
CM – Jordi Gomez (Omonia)
The best Spanish midfielder to ever play in England? Okay, maybe not. However he was certainly loved by those at Wigan.
Jordi Gomez has certainly had his fair share of clubs throughout his career. The Spaniard started in Barcelona’s academy however never got a game for the first team. Understandable considering Xavi and Iniesta were a thing back then…
After leaving Barcelona, Gomez would go on to play for Espanyol and Swansea before eventually making the switch to Wigan in 2009, arriving with a big reputation. Gomez spent five years at the club and was their designated penalty taker throughout that time. It’s fair to say he was pretty clinical when it came to a spot kick.
Gomez spent 5 years at Wigan before moving on in 2014 to join Premier League side Sunderland before then eventually returning to Wigan in 2016.
Now 35 years old, Gomez plays in Cyprus for Omonia.
LM – Shaun Maloney (Retired)
The second retired player so far and certainly a well known name!
Shaun Maloney started his career in Celtic before joining Aston Villa in 2007. The Scottish midfielder played the majority of Villa’s fixtures that season but departed shortly after it where he returned to Celtic until 2011. However in the summer of 2011, Wigan swooped in and completed the signing of Maloney who went on to spend four years at the club.
Maloney was predominately deployed in midfield for Wigan but still scored 14 goals in just over 80 appearances.
In 2015 Maloney departed the Latics and moved to the MLS. Joining Chicago Fire. He spent less than a year in America before rejoining the English leagues, joining Hull City which would in turn be his last professional club.
Maloney is currently assistant coach at the Belgium national team.
ST – Arouna Kone (Sivasspor)
Now this is a name that everyone that supports a club in England will surely know – FIFA 13 players especially!
Kone has had his fair share of clubs throughout his career and doesn’t look to be stopping anytime soon. He joined Wigan in 2012 for a reported £3m and made 34 appearances between then and 2013, scoring 11 times throughout that. A respectable record. After playing his part in the FA Cup final win, Kone left Wigan and joined Everton, a club mentioned a fair few times in this post! His time in Merseyside wasn’t a particularly successful one however with Kone averaging just under one goal per 10 games which isn’t ideal for a striker.
In 2017, Kone left Everton and joined Turkish Super Lig side Sivasspor where he continues to play today, having made over 100 appearances to date.
ST – Callum McManaman (Melbourne City)
Another player who’s had his fair share of clubs in England. Seven to be precise. His career however did start at Wigan Athletic where he came through the academy and eventually into the first team in 2009 when he made his first team debut.
McManaman spent eight years at Wigan up until 2015 when he moved on and signed for West Brom. His game time during this period was extremely limited and saw him go out on loan to Sheffield Wednesday before joining Sunderland on a free transfer in 2017. After suffering relegation to League One with Sunderland, he returned to his boyhood club Wigan for a season before signing for Luton Town and then most recently Melbourne Victory.
His recent move occurring in 2020.
Manager – Roberto Martinez (Belgium)
Roberto Martinez spent a fair amount of time at Wigan athletic after joining the club in 2009 after a spell at Swansea. He spent over four years at Wigan and the FA Cup win was certainly his biggest achievement at the club.
The achievement attracted the interest of none other than Everton who swooped in for Martinez who then became their new manager in the summer of 2013. His time on Merseyside started fairly well but went sour pretty quickly and he was sacked in May of 2016.
He wasn’t out of work for long however as he was approached by Belgium to become their head coach where he remains today.
There you have it! Some interesting career moves between then and now and plenty of mentions for Everton.
Which club would you like us to focus on next? Let us know!