Revealed: Every EFL team that HASN’T played at the new Wembley
An incredible 86 of the 92 teams in the current Football League pyramid have found one way or another of reaching the national stadium since 2007
Is there a better feeling than heading down Wembley Way ahead of a massive day for your team?
For fans of just five clubs in the current 92-team EFL pyramid, they answer will be: "I have no idea".
Silverware, a place in a cup final or promotion are the rewards on offer whenever a domestic club side takes to the turf of England’s national stadium.
In a normal year, there are opportunities to get there through the FA Cup semi-finals and final, the EFL Cup, EFL Trophy and FA Trophy finals, and the play-off finals for the Championship, League One, League Two and National League.
After 15 years of high-stakes action, a remarkable 86 clubs currently in the top four divisions - and several more besides - have enjoyed their day in the sun at the glittering venue.
Some, like Nottingham Forest and Port Vale, only recently earned their maiden trip to Wembley.
Then there’s Bournemouth, who only played at Wembley as an away team in the Premier League while Tottenham were using the national stadium as their home ground.
So who is yet to make it?
Blackburn are the highest-ranked team never to make it to the 'new' Wembley. Although Rovers have been English champions three times, won six FA Cups and one League Cup, those successes came well before the new Wembley opened, with the last trip coming in 1995's Charity Shield.
A League Cup win at Cardiff's Millenium Stadium followed in 2002, during Wembley's rebuild, and a run to the FA Cup semi-finals in 2007 came after Wembley had re-opened, but before the decision to host that round of games in north-west London in subsequent years.
Could things be about to change, though? Jon Dahl Tomasson’s side will book their historic first trip to the new Wembley if they beat Sheffield United in the FA Cup quarter-finals on Sunday. And if that doesn't come off, they've got half an eye on the Championship play-offs, too...
Another big team that haven't graced the Wembley turf since 2007, former FA Cup and UEFA Cup winners Ipswich came closest when they lost in the 2014/15 Championship play-off semi-finals.
There's a high chance the Tractor Boys will be involved in the League One play-offs this season, though, so their first game under the arch could be on the horizon.
Accrington have come a whisker away from Wembley twice, reaching the League Two play-off semi-finals in 2011 and 2016 but losing both ties, to Stevenage and AFC Wimbledon respectively. In fact, a non-league side for decades since their formation 1968, they never visited the old Wembley either.
When Stanley eventually did go up to League One in 2018, it was by finishing as champions of the fourth tier. They are still waiting for a memorable cup run.
Colchester fans haven’t had much to celebrate since being relegated from the Championship in 2008 – after years of mid to low-table finishes in League One, they dropped into League Two in 2016 and haven’t found their way back up since.
They were a game away from Wembley when they reached the play-off semi-finals in 2019/20, but lost to Exeter City.
Crawley secured back-to-back promotions between 2010 and 2012 to climb from the fifth tier to League One, but on both occasions they went up through automatic promotion and not the play-offs.
They haven’t finished higher than 12th since being relegated back to League Two in 2014/15 and although they’ve enjoyed some good FA Cup runs – memorably making it to the fifth round in 2011/12 before losing to Manchester United – they haven’t been good enough to earn a Wembley date.
Despite being founded in the 1890s, they never visited the original Wembley either, making them the oldest league club not to have ever made an appearance there.
The Monkey Hangers came agonisingly close to a Wembley trip in 2022, when their EFL Trophy semi-final against Rotherham went to penalties, which they narrowly lost 5-4.
More annoyingly, fans may feel they were robbed of a Wembley trip after winning the National League play-offs in 2021 – the first final since 2011 not to be hosted at Wembley.
Like Accrington and Crawley, they have never played at either of Wembley's incarnations.
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Alasdair Mackenzie is a freelance journalist based in Rome, and a FourFourTwo contributor since 2015. When not pulling on the FFT shirt, he can be found at Reuters, The Times and the i. An Italophile since growing up on a diet of Football Italia on Channel 4, he now counts himself among thousands of fans sharing a passion for Ross County and Lazio.
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