The FA Cup (official title: The Football Association Challenge Cup) is the oldest and one of the most prestigious domestic football (soccer) cup competitions in the world. It is run by the Football Association (the governing body of the sport in England) and is a knockout style tournament. Entry is open to all of the professional teams in England and teams in the first 5 levels of the National League System, with selected teams from the 6th level (758 clubs competed in the 2012-13 season). This means that both professional and amateur clubs can compete in the competition and on some occasions a lowly ranked team will beat a more professional opponent! Teams are drawn to play each other at random and the winner advances to the next round (a replay is held if the first match is a draw). Eventually the 2 remaining teams compete in the FA Cup Final and the winner is presented with the trophy simply known as the “FA Cup.” Let’s find out who won the inaugural FA Cup.
Who won the first FA Cup final?
The FA Cup was first held in 1871 when the Football Association committee took the advice of C. W. Alcock and created a challenge cup open to all clubs that belonged to the Association. The first tournament began in November 1871 and fifteen clubs entered the competition. However, only 12 clubs ended up playing and there were thirteen games in total. On March 16, 1872, the Wanderers Football Club became the first winners of the FA after beating the Royal Engineers 1-0. The Wanderers went on to win four more FA cups, including a hat-trick of wins. The won the FA cup in the following seasons: 1871-72, 1872-73, 1875-76, 1876-77 and 1877-78.
Did you know?
Despite their cup successes, the Wanderers Football Club struggled in the 1880’s and eventually folded in 1887. The club was reformed in 2009, with approval of the descendants of the original club, with the intention of playing charity matches. In 2012 the club played the Royal Engineers to celebrate the 140 anniversary of the first FA Cup. Unfortunately, they could not replicate the result of the first FA Cup and the ream lost the match 7-1!