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FA Cup - 150th Anniversary

Authored by Sean Waite
Published on 16th March, 2022 1 min read

FA Cup - 150th Anniversary

A large crowd of people stood next to a football pitch. Police officers to the left are trying to control the crowd.

Today (16/03/2022) marks the 150th Anniversary of the first ever Football Association Cup Final, in which Wanderers Football Club beat Royal Engineers Football Club 1-0 in front of a crowd of 2000. The scene would instill a degree of confusion for a modern audience, as matches at the time were played without crossbars or goal-nets. 

Additionally, there were no free-kicks or penalties and the pitch markings did not include a center-circle or half-way line.

As per early football tactics, both teams focused on attack, lining up with 7 and 8 forwards respectively. Royal Engineers were known for their revolutionary adoption of the ‘Combination Game’, denoting a style of play based around passing and teamwork. Wanderers favoured the more traditional approach of relying on intensive individual dribbling to penetrate the opposition’s defense.

In this instance, it was tradition that triumphed over innovation, as Wanderers beat Royal Engineers 1-0 thanks to a goal from Morton Betts. Wanderers dominated the game but were unable to extend their lead. They were awarded the first ever FA Cup trophy the following month. 

The FA Cup is that oldest national football competition in the world. The spawning of the competition in 1871 is a key landmark in the history and development of football. It can be seen as the dawn of modern competitive football, birthing the sport that has come to be celebrated and loved worldwide.

Authored by Sean Waite

Sean Waite

Sean Waite is a Political Science graduate of Birmingham and Aarhus University.

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The British Online Archives Notable Days diary is a platform intended to mark key dates and events throughout the year. The posts draw attention to historical events and figures, as well as recurring cultural traditions and international awareness days, in both religious and secular contexts.

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