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What is a Giant Killer?

An FA Cup giant-killing hits the headlines like no other match. It typifies why the competition is the most magical on the planet. It sees David go up against Goliath and quite often David will conquer.

But which club is the biggest giant-killer of recent times? The Giant Killers has analysed the last 25 years of the FA Cup from the Third Round onwards to uncover exactly that.

How it works

Taking the final league position of each team that made the Third Round, we studied each match-up to find the differences in positions and discover which teams caused the biggest upsets.

Combining the totals of each team since the beginning of the Premier League, The Giant Killers: A Search For The FA Cup’s Ultimate Underdog uncovers the greatest giant-killer of the modern era.


In 2012, then League 2 side Crawley Town had the most memorable cup run in their history and built up their giant killing score considerably. They were the biggest giant killers of the 2011/12 season, and here’s how we worked it out…

Third round

Crawley came up against Bristol City in the Third Round of the competition. With the Red Devils finishing third in League 2, that gave them an overall standing of 71 when looking at the full football pyramid. That year their opposition finished 20th in the Championship giving them an overall position of 40.

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Crawley’s win meant they had beaten a team 31 places above them, effectively giving them a giant killing score of 31.

Fourth round

However, Crawley also went on to beat Hull City in the Fourth Round, adding a further 43 giant killing points to their total.

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They were knocked out the following round, giving them an overall score of 74 for the year.


In addition to Crawley’s success in 2011/12, they also had memorable competition the year before where they beat Derby County and Torquay United to give themselves a score of 72 for the year.

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Because these are the only two years in which the club have featured in The Giant Killers: A Search for the FA Cup’s Ultimate Underdog, this gave them an overall score of 146, placing them as the 13th biggest giant killer of the past 25 years.