1872 FA Cup Final

1872 FA Cup Final

The 1872 FA Cup Final was the first final of the world's oldest football competition, the FA Cup. The match took place on March 16, 1872 at the Kennington Oval, London, England, and was won by the Wanderers with a 1-0 victory over a team from the Royal Engineers. The winning team did not, however, receive the trophy until April 11, when it was presented to them at a special reception at the Pall Mall Restaurant. [cite book |last= Matthews|first= Tony|authorlink= |coauthors= |title= Football Firsts|year= 2006|publisher= Capella|location= |id= ISBN 1-8419-3451-8 ]

In 1871, the Football Association consisted of only 30 clubs, and only 15 of those entered the first " 'FA Challenge Cup' " as it was then known.

Route to the final

In the first round Wanderers were drawn against Harrow Chequers and the Engineers faced Reigate Priory. Both matches resulted in walkovers for the home team. In the second round, both teams played away fixtures; Clapham Rovers were beaten 3-1 by the Wanderers whilst the Engineers beat Hitchin 5-0.

The lack of precedent for competitive sporting tournaments made itself evident in the quarter finals, with just four teams taking part. Wanderers drew 0-0 with Crystal Palace (not to be confused with the 1905-founded current club) and in a move alien to modern competition, both clubs were allowed to progress. Engineers beat the Hampstead Heathens 2-0. Scottish club Queen's Park were allowed a bye all the way to the semi-final stage, and were told that should they defeat their opposition, The Wanderers, they would be allowed to play the final the following day. These offers were made because of the costs of travelling from Glasgow to the south-east of England at the time. A club from Donington, Lincolnshire was the second-most northerly in the competition.

In the actual event, after their semi-final at the Oval was drawn 0-0, Queen's Park chose to return to Scotland rather than take part in the replay. The Engineers also drew their semi-final at the Oval 0-0, and beat Crystal Palace 3-0 in the replay. Wanderers were awarded the Queen's Park match by default.


*Betts played under the pseudonym A.H. Chequer on the day of the match.

Other details

*Competition: FA Cup (Final)
*Date: Saturday, March 16 1872 @ 18.00
*Venue: Kennington Oval, Kennington, London
*Attendance: 2,000
*Referee: Alfred Stair (Upton Park)

Match rules

*90 minutes.
*Match replayed if necessary.
*No substitutions.

Match report

Wanderers had the pick of all the best players who had been at the public schools and universities, yet it was the Royal Engineers from Chatham who took the field as favourites.

Early in the game, Cresswell (Royal Engineers) suffered a broken collar bone and, as a result, he was forced to spend the remainder of the match as a passenger on the wing. The game itself was an all-out attacking affair with Vidal and Hooman displaying excellent dribbling skills for the Wanderers, while Rich and Renny-Tailyour attempted to get past the Wanderers defence.

Following a period of sustained pressure from the Wanderers, Alcock put the ball past the Engineers' goalkeeper, Merriman, but the "goal" was ruled offside. Wanderers took the lead when Betts opened the scoring from an acute angle after Vidal's long dribble. Wanderers continued to exert further pressure on the Engineers' goalkeeper, Merriman, who valiantly defended his goal. Despite a late rally from the Engineers, Wanderers were able to hold on to their lead and the game ended in a 1-0 victory. [cite book |last= Gibbons|first= Philip|authorlink= |title= Association Football in Victorian England - A History of the Game from 1863 to 1900|pages=p.35-36 |year= 2001|publisher= Upfront Publishing|location= |id= ISBN 1-84426-035-6 ]

The Cup was presented by the President of the Football Association, Mr E.C. Morley, at the annual dinner of the Wanderers at the Pall Mall Restaurant, Charing Cross, on 11 April. The F.A. also gave each player in the winning team a silken badge commemorating the victory and they also received an inscribed gold medal from the committee of the Wanderers.


External links

* [http://www.innotts.co.uk/soccer/books/kw3.pdf Details of the 1872 FA Cup Final] (PDF file)
* [http://www.rsssf.com/tablese/engcup1872.html 1871-72 Competition Results at rsssf.com]
* [http://www.sportingchronicle.com/FACUP/1872.html FA Cup Final lineups]
* [http://www.thefa.com/TheFACup/TheFACup/History/Postings/2004/03/FACup_Final_1872.htm Report] at thefa.com
* [http://www.fa-cupfinals.co.uk/1872.html Match report at www.fa-cupfinals.co.uk]

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