Every football fan knows about the FA Cup, one of the most prestigious awards for teams at the top of their game, but did you know that the Football Association Challenge Cup (to give it its full title) is the oldest knockout cup competition in the world?
The FA Cup began in 1871-72, and is often considered a more glorified competition than the English League cup, which involves only the twenty teams in the Premier League and the seventy two members of the football league.
The first FA cup took place way back in the 1871-72 season and had only fifteen entries. A very modest amount considering over seven hundred took part this year!
Wanderers, a team formed by ex-public school and university players, won the very first final. They beat the Royal Engineers 1-0. The match was attended by 2000 supporters who paid a shilling for the honour.
The original trophy was made by Martin Hall and Co and cost a grand total of twenty pounds, although it was much smaller than today’s award. After Aston Villa won the cup in 1895, it was stolen from the window of a firm of football outfitters, where it was on display, and was never found.
42 clubs in total have won the FA Cup, with Manchester United winning the most times (11) followed by Arsenal (10) and Tottenham Hotspur (8).
January, 1922, saw the first turf being cut by the Duke of York, who later became King George VI, and the building of Wembley Stadium began. The Cup Final was played at Wembley every year, excluding the war years, until 2000, when it switched to the New Wembley Stadium. The first final was played in 2007. The competition has been established as one of the country’s great sporting institutions.