Football : Season Details :
FA Cup Finals 1872 to 1888

1872 Wanderers 1 Royal Engineers 0
1873 Wanderers 2 Oxford University 0
1874 Oxford University 2 Royal Engineers 0
1875 Royal Engineers 1 Old Etonians 1
Royal Engineers 2 Old Etonians 0
1876 Wanderers 0 Old Etonians 0
Wanderers 3 Old Etonians 0
1877 Wanderers 2 Oxford University 0 aet
1878 Wanderers 3 Royal Engineers 1
1879 Old Etonians 1 Clapham Rovers 0
1880 Clapham Rovers 1 Oxford University 0
1881 Old Carthusians 3 Old Etonians 0
1882 Old Etonians 1 Blackburn Rovers 0
1883 Blackburn Olympic 2 Old Etonians 1 aet
1884 Blackburn Rovers 2 Queen's Park 1
1885 Blackburn Rovers 2 Queen's Park 0
1886 Blackburn Rovers 0 West Bromwich Albion 0
Blackburn Rovers 2 West Bromwich Albion 0
1887 Aston Villa 2 West Bromwich Albion 0
1888 West Bromwich Albion 2 Preston North End 1

aet After Extra Time


During the 1800s football was an upper-class non-professional game played by university and military people. There were many versions of the rules: Eton (1841), Rugby (1846), Cambridge (1848), Sheffield (1857).

In 1863, the Football Association (FA) was formed to codify and promote the game. Under the FA the Cambridge rules were consolidated and matches were arranged. In 1871 it was decided to run a knockout competition for any club to enter. The competition was called the Football Association Challenge Cup (the FA Cup). This is the oldest football tournament in the world.

The first final was in 1872 There were 15 entrants, 8 from the London area. They were:

The first winners were exempt from all the rounds before the final and could choose the venue of the final.

The early finals were between university teams (like Oxford University), fee-paying school teams (like Old Etonians), military teams (Royal Engineers) and enthusiasts (Wanderers).

In 1877 Wanderers played Oxford Univerity in the first repeat final, the original being the final of 1873. In 1878, the final was a repeat of the first (1872) final: Wanderers against Royal Engineers.

At the beginning of the 1880's professional teams were set up. These were mainly in the industrial north of England. At first, the FA opposed professionalism but eventually had to agree. Professionalism entered English football in 1885. The later FA Cup finals became dominated by these northern clubs (like Blackburn Rovers).

The Scottish team Queen's Park played in two finals in the mid 1880s before Scotland set up its own version of the FA Cup.

The FA Cup is a knockout with teams drawn to play each other once at random. Home advantage is determined by the first team of a pair to be drawn. The semi-final and final are played on neutral grounds. A defeat puts a club out of that season's tournament.

Between 1876 and 1878 Wanderers won the FA Cup three seasons running. Their 1878 win was a record 5th. Old Etonians reached three consecutive finals between 1881 and 1883.

Blackburn Rovers also won the FA Cup for three consecutive years between 1884 and 1886. Their run of 24 undefeated FA Cup matches set a new record. Their 1884 win made them the first club that still exists in the modern game to win a trophy. The two finals of 1884 and 1885 were between the same two teams (Blackburn Rovers and Queen's Park), the only time this has occurred in consecutive seasons.

Aston Villa (1887) and West Bromwich Albion (1888) also won their first trophies. West Bromwich Albion reached three consecutive FA Cup finals between 1886 and 1888. A club would not reach three consecutive FA Cup finals until 1980.

In 1888, Preston North End scored 51 goals in 6 FA Cup ties including a record 26 - 0 win over Hyde United.

The 1872 final was staged at the Kennington Oval (London). The following year it was played at Lillie Bridge (also in London). It returned to Kennington between 1874 and 1892.

Football's rules were changing during this period. 11-a-side teams were introduced in 1841, the referee in 1845, the cross bar over the goal and the half time break in 1875, the throw-in replaced the kick-in (1877).

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