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Year in year out, there’s a great footballing tradition that all football fans get really excited about, and that’s the FA Cup. Formally known as the Football Association Challenge Cup, this is a knockout competition in English football that has been played for over a century.

For someone who doesn’t like football, it can be difficult to get excited about yet another football tournament, but there’s something about the FA Cup that makes it different. And once you know a little of its history and philosophy, you may not find sitting through the games with your partner quite so dull. You never know, you may even get interested in the proceedings and enjoy it!

The first FA Cup was held in 1871-2 and the reason that it’s so special is that teams of all abilities get to compete against each other. Teams from the Premier League, the Football League and the FA National League system are all eligible to enter the tournament. Amateur village teams have as much right to take part in the competition as the Premier League Champions. So there’s always the possibility – however remote – of a small ‘minnow’ team going through the stages and actually winning the Cup, even when facing some of the big-name teams. It’s very rare that this actually happens, however, as they usually get knocked out in the early stages. Also, in general, the qualification rounds and the bye system that is in place mean that it’s unusual for the biggest and smallest teams to ever actually face each other in the competition.

The first rounds for the 2014/2015 FA Cup have already begun, and if you’re interested in FA cup betting you can already see the odds at sites like Bet365. As it’s so rare that one of the minnow teams will actually win, the favourites are always the big name teams. For example, at the time of writing, Chelsea is favourite to win with most bookies with odds of around 6/1, followed by Man City, Man United, Arsenal and Liverpool. But that kind of bet isn’t really as much fun as putting a fiver on your favourite team – and just seeing what happens with it! If you’ve not yet got an online betting account, now’s a great time to open one, as most of the sites have promotions available for new users – such as a free bet to the value of the first one you place. If you’re going to have a bet, you may as well have a bet for free at the same time.

The FA Cup will be played in stages all through the football season through to the final which will take place at Wembley Stadium on 30 May 2015. For football fans, it will be a packed fortnight of footie as the English football season comes to an end, with the final day of the Premier League season on 24 May, the FA Cup final on 30 May and the Champions League final on 6 June at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium. If watching the different stages of the FA Cup during the year hasn’t whetted your appetite for the beautiful game, though, maybe you’d be better off booking a holiday and leaving the country for the fortnight!