1876 FA Cup final

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1876 FA Cup final
A trophy, silver in colour and topped by a figure of a footballer, on an ebony plinth
The second FA Cup trophy, pictured here, is identical in design to the one awarded in 1876, which was stolen in 1895 and never recovered.[1]
Event1875–76 FA Cup
Final
Date11 March 1876 (1876-03-11)
VenueKennington Oval, London
RefereeW. S. Buchanan (Clapham Rovers)
Attendance3,500
Replay
Date18 March 1876 (1876-03-18)
VenueKennington Oval, London
RefereeWilliam Rawson (Oxford University)
Attendance3,500
1875
1877

The 1876 FA Cup final was an association football match between Wanderers F.C. and Old Etonians F.C. on 11 March 1876 at Kennington Oval in London. It was the fifth final of the world's oldest football competition, the Football Association Challenge Cup (known in the modern era as the FA Cup). The Wanderers had won the Cup on two previous occasions. The Etonians were playing in their second consecutive final, having lost in the 1875 match. Both teams had conceded only one goal in the four rounds of the competition prior to the final. In the semi-finals the Wanderers defeated the Swifts and the Etonians beat the 1874 FA Cup winners Oxford University.

The match ended in a 1–1 draw, the second consecutive FA Cup final to finish level. John Hawley Edwards scored for the Wanderers, but the Etonians equalised with a goal credited in modern publications to Alexander Bonsor, although contemporary newspaper reports do not definitively identify him as the scorer. A week later, the replay took place at the same venue. The Etonians were forced to make a number of changes due to players being unavailable, and the revised team was no match for the Wanderers, who won 3–0. Charles Wollaston and Thomas Hughes scored a goal apiece in a five-minute spell before half-time, and Hughes added the third early in the second half.

Background[edit]

The Football Association Challenge Cup (commonly known in the modern era as the FA Cup) was the first formal competition created for the sport of association football, which had first been codified in England in 1863.[2][3] The creation of the tournament had been proposed in 1871 by Charles W. Alcock, the secretary of the Football Association (the FA), who wrote that "it is desirable that a Challenge Cup should be established in connection with the Association, for which all clubs belonging to the Association should be invited to compete".[4] His inspiration had been a similar competition between houses during his time as a pupil at Harrow School.[4][5] The first FA Cup competition took place during the 1871–72 season and 15 clubs entered.[5] The Wanderers won the final, defeating Royal Engineers,[6] and Alcock himself was the winning captain.[7] The members of the Wanderers club were wealthy gentlemen who had attended some of the leading English public schools, including Harrow and Eton College. Old Etonians, the team specifically for former pupils of Eton,[8] first entered the FA Cup in the 1873-74 season but withdrew without playing a match.[9] The following season, they reached the final but were defeated by the Royal Engineers in a replay after the initial match finished in a 1–1 draw.[10] The Wanderers followed their victory in 1872 by retaining the trophy in 1873 but had not progressed beyond the quarter-finals in the subsequent two seasons.[11]

Route to the final[edit]

View of the Kennington Oval sports ground
Kennington Oval (pictured in 1891) was the venue for the semi-final and final matches.

The 1875–76 FA Cup had 32 entrants, all joining the competition at the first round stage. The Wanderers and Old Etonians were both allocated matches at home.[11][12] The Wanderers defeated the 1st Surrey Rifles team, representing the army regiment of the same name, 5–0, and the Etonians overcame Pilgrims 4–1.[11][12] In the second round, the Wanderers defeated Crystal Palace[a] 3–0 and the Etonians had an easy win over Maidenhead, scoring eight goals without reply.[13][14] At the quarter-final stage, Wanderers took on Sheffield and won 2–0, and the Etonians gained a 1–0 victory over Clapham Rovers.[15][16] Both semi-final matches took place at Kennington Oval in London. The Etonians beat the 1874 FA Cup winners Oxford University 1–0 in the first semi-final on 19 February, and a week later Wanderers clinched their place in the final, defeating the Slough-based club Swifts 2–1.[17][18]

Match[edit]

Summary[edit]

Etonian player Hon. Alfred Lyttelton also played first-class cricket, as depicted in this 1884 caricature.

The final also took place at Kennington Oval.[19] Three sets of brothers played in the match: Francis and Hubert Heron lined up for the Wanderers, while the Etonians' team included Hon. Edward Lyttelton and his brother Hon. Alfred Lyttelton and Albert Meysey-Thompson and his brother Charles.[20] The latter pair's surname had been simply Thompson until it was legally changed in 1874, and for the final Albert played under the name Thompson and Charles under the name Meysey.[20] As of the 21st century it remains the only FA Cup final in which two or more pairs of brothers played.[21] The Etonian team also included Julian Sturgis, who had been born in the United States and was the first player to appear in the Cup final who was not born either in Britain or to British parents residing in the overseas territories of the British Empire.[22] Hon. Arthur Kinnaird, who had captained Wanderers to victory in the 1873 final, now captained the Etonian team.[23] The crowd was estimated at 3,500, the largest for an FA Cup final up to that point.[24]

Wanderers began the match with two full-backs, two half-backs and six forwards, while the Etonians opted for one full-back, two half-backs and seven forwards.[20][25] Wanderers won the coin toss for the choice of ends in the first half and chose to start the game defending the Harleyford Road end of the Oval. The match was played in a strong wind, to the extent that when Frederick Maddison took a corner kick for Wanderers, the gale blew the ball back out of play.[20] The Wanderers were awarded three early corner kicks, but neither came to anything.[25] Alfred Lyttelton made an attacking run but it was countered by the defending of Francis Birley and William Lindsay.[25] A reporter for The Observer noted that "the game was carried on with great spirit by both sides without much advantage to either" for 35 minutes until Charles Wollaston eluded Thompson and passed the ball to John Hawley Edwards. With what a reporter for The Daily Telegraph called a "very fine kick", he put the ball narrowly under the tape which formed the top of the Etonians' goal to give Wanderers the lead.[19][26] The Wanderers' forwards had further attacking opportunities but were too slow to take a shot on goal and at half-time the score remained 1–0.[25] The Telegraph reporter praised Quintin Hogg, the Etonians' goalkeeper, for his "coolness and pluck" in the first half of the game.[26]

After ends were changed at half-time, the Old Etonians had the wind, which had by now increased in intensity,[25] in their favour in the second half and had the better of the play.[20] Around five minutes after the interval, an errant kick by one of the Wanderers' backs gave away a corner kick to the Etonians.[25] This led to a "scrimmage" (a term in common use at the time to describe a group of players all struggling to gain possession of the ball, now usually referred to as a "goalmouth scramble") in front of their opponents' goal, which resulted in the ball and a number of players being forced over the goal-line, uprooting the goalposts in the process.[19][20] Modern sources credit the goal to Alexander Bonsor,[27] but contemporary newspaper reports do not mention his name, merely noting that the goal was scored "from a scrimmage".[19][28] Following their equaliser, the Etonians had the better of the play for a short time before their opponents began to dominate, the Wanderers' forwards passing the ball between themselves well.[25] Neither team could manage to score another goal, however, and the game finished with the scores level, meaning that for the second successive season a replay would be needed to determine the winners of the competition.[27] The referee had the option to order thirty minutes of extra time but chose not to exercise this due to a number of players struggling with injuries.[26]

Details[edit]

Wanderers1–1Old Etonians
Edwards 35' Bonsor 50' (unconfirmed)[29]
Attendance: 3,500[20]
Referee: W. S. Buchanan (Clapham Rovers)[20]
Wanderers[30]
Old Etonians[30]
Wanderers:[20]
GK W. D. O. Greig
FB Alfred Stratford
FB William Lindsay
HB Frederick Maddison
HB Francis Birley (Captain)
FW Charles Wollaston
FW Francis Heron
FW Hubert Heron
FW John Hawley Edwards
FW Jarvis Kenrick
FW Thomas Hughes
Old Etonians:[20]
GK Quintin Hogg
FB James Welldon
HB Hon. Edward Lyttelton
HB Albert Thompson
FW Hon. Arthur Kinnaird (Captain)
FW Charles Meysey
FW Capt. William Kenyon-Slaney
FW Hon. Alfred Lyttelton
FW Julian Sturgis
FW Alexander Bonsor
FW Herbert Alleyne

Replay[edit]

Summary[edit]

Footballer Arthur Kinnaird
Hon. Arthur Kinnaird (1912 caricature) was nursing an injury from the first match.

The replay took place one week later at the same venue. The Wanderers fielded an unchanged team, but the Etonians had to make a number of changes, as Meysey was injured and three other players were unavailable due to other commitments. One of the replacements, Edgar Lubbock, had not long recovered from a bout of illness and was noted as being out of practice, and Kinnaird was still suffering the after-effects of an injury sustained in the original match.[31] Francis Wilson, normally an outfield player, played in goal in place of Hogg, who was unavailable, although some newspaper reports erroneously listed Hogg in the line-up.[32][33][34] The reported attendance was again 3,500.[31] William Rawson, who had played for Oxford University in the 1874 final, was the referee, replacing W. S. Buchanan, who had undertaken the role for the original match.[35] The weather on the day of the match was extremely cold, with the threat of snow.[31]

The Etonians won the coin toss and the Wanderers kicked off defending the Harleyford Road end of the ground.[34] The Etonians began the match playing in a rough manner,[31] and there were many appeals from the players of both teams for handball, which resulted in a series of free kicks, all of which came to nothing.[34] Edwards of the Wanderers made a strong run and took a shot at the Etonians' goal, but Sturgis and Alfred Lyttelton were able to repulse it.[34] The Etonians then made a counter-attack, but the Wanderers' goalkeeper, W. D. O. Greig, kept the ball out of his goal.[34] Yet more free kicks were awarded to the Wanderers for handball but the Etonians successfully defended them all.[34] After around half an hour, the Wanderers' forwards surged towards their opponents' goal and Wollaston got the final kick which sent the ball past Wilson.[29][32][34] Almost immediately afterwards, another massed attack by the Wanderers led to Thomas Hughes doubling his team's lead.[29][32][36] At the half-time interval, the score was 2–0 to the Wanderers.[34][36]

Soon after half-time, Wollaston made a run for the Wanderers but found himself blocked.[34] Shortly afterwards, Edwards, Francis Heron, and Jarvis Kenrick combined in a skilful attack and set up Hughes to score his second goal of the game.[29][32][36] According to the Daily Telegraph's report, William Kenyon-Slaney of the Etonians "dribbled the ball beautifully down the ground", resulting in the game's first corner kick.[34] It marked the start of a period of end-to-end play, as the Wanderers quickly took the ball down to the opposite end of the pitch and gained a corner kick of their own before Herbert Alleyne of the Etonians made a run back the other way and had an unsuccessful shot at the Wanderers' goal.[34] There continued to be free kicks awarded to both teams for handball.[34] Sturgis, Alleyne, and Bonsor combined in another attack for the Etonians but play was stopped when Bonsor was deemed to be in an offside position.[34] Late in the game, Hubert Heron of the Wanderers made a number of good runs and the Etonians made several further attacks, but no further goals resulted and the final score was 3–0 to the Wanderers.[34][36] Birley, the winning team's captain, was praised for his performance by the press, as were both Lyttleton brothers for the Etonians.[31]

Details[edit]

Wanderers3–0Old Etonians
Wollaston 30'
Hughes 33' 50'
Wanderers[30]
Old Etonians[30]
Wanderers:[20]
GK W. D. O. Greig
FB Alfred Stratford
FB William Lindsay
HB Frederick Maddison
HB Francis Birley (Captain)
FW Charles Wollaston
FW Francis Heron
FW Hubert Heron
FW John Hawley Edwards
FW Jarvis Kenrick
FW Thomas Hughes
Old Etonians:[20]
GK Francis Wilson
FB Edgar Lubbock
HB Hon. Edward Lyttelton
HB Matt Farrer
FW Hon. Arthur Kinnaird (Captain)
FW James Stronge
FW Capt.William Kenyon-Slaney
FW Hon. Alfred Lyttelton
FW Julian Sturgis
FW Alexander Bonsor
FW Herbert Alleyne

Post-match[edit]

As occurred each year until 1882, the winning team did not receive the trophy at the stadium on the day of the match, but later in the year at their annual club dinner.[37] In addition to receiving the Cup, the winning team each received a gold medal from the committee of Surrey County Cricket Club, the primary tenants of the Oval.[31] Wollaston, who had played in both of the Wanderers' previous Cup final victories, became the first player to win the competition three times.[38] He would retire having won the FA Cup five times, a record which would not be broken until 2010.[39][40] A week after the replay, four of the victorious Wanderers players were included in a select team which represented London in a match against an equivalent side from Sheffield. Despite their presence, the London XI lost the game 6–0.[41]

The Wanderers won the Cup again in each of the next two seasons; as of 2024, this remains one of only two occasions when a team has won the competition in three consecutive seasons.[42][43] The club's fortunes declined rapidly thereafter, partly because many of the team's leading players opted to play instead for the clubs set up specifically for the former pupils of their individual schools. The Wanderers last took part in the FA Cup in the 1879–80 season,[44] and by the mid-1880s the club had ceased to play matches altogether.[30][45] The Etonians won the Cup in 1879, defeating Clapham Rovers in the final.[46] They reached the final again four years later but lost to Blackburn Olympic, the first occasion on which a team from a working-class background had won the Cup.[47][48] The victory marked the end of the domination of the competition by teams of upper-class amateurs; no such team won the FA Cup again and the Etonians did not enter the competition after the 1887–88 season.[49]

Footnotes[edit]

a. ^ This Crystal Palace club is not generally regarded as being the same as the modern club of the same name. In 2020, the modern club, which had long been regarded as having been formed in 1905, began asserting that it was a direct continuation of the team which existed in the 1870s based on new research by club historians,[50] but this was disputed by other football researchers and rejected by the English football authorities.[51]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Soar & Tyler 1983, p. 20.
  2. ^ Soar & Tyler 1983, p. 12.
  3. ^ Collett 2003, p. 16.
  4. ^ a b Soar & Tyler 1983, p. 19.
  5. ^ a b Collett 2003, p. 17.
  6. ^ Soar & Tyler 1983, p. 154.
  7. ^ Warsop 2004, p. 40.
  8. ^ Warsop 2004, p. 21.
  9. ^ Collett 2003, p. 468.
  10. ^ Collett 2003, p. 528.
  11. ^ a b c Collett 2003, p. 630.
  12. ^ a b Collett 2003, p. 467.
  13. ^ Collett 2003, p. 259.
  14. ^ Collett 2003, p. 394.
  15. ^ Collett 2003, p. 238.
  16. ^ Collett 2003, p. 537.
  17. ^ Collett 2003, p. 479.
  18. ^ Collett 2003, p. 596.
  19. ^ a b c d "Football (yesterday)". The Observer. 12 March 1876. p. 6. Archived from the original on 24 February 2024. Retrieved 17 April 2024 – via Newspapers.com.
  20. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Warsop 2004, p. 45.
  21. ^ Collett 2003, pp. 792–793.
  22. ^ Warsop 2004, p. 128.
  23. ^ Warsop 2004, p. 93.
  24. ^ Warsop 2004, pp. 40–45.
  25. ^ a b c d e f g "The Football Association Challenge Cup". Sheffield and Rotherham Independent. 12 March 1876. p. 4. Retrieved 18 April 2024 – via Newspapers.com.
  26. ^ a b c "The Association Challenge Cup". The Daily Telegraph. 13 March 1876. p. 3. Retrieved 18 April 2024 – via Newspapers.com.
  27. ^ a b Barnes 2009, p. 132.
  28. ^ Warsop 2004, p. 33.
  29. ^ a b c d Warsop 2004, p. 34.
  30. ^ a b c d e Warsop 2004, p. 20.
  31. ^ a b c d e f Warsop 2004, p. 46.
  32. ^ a b c d "Wanderers v Old Etonians". The Sportsman. 20 March 1876. p. 4. Retrieved 7 April 2024 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  33. ^ Warsop 2004, p. 136.
  34. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "Association Challenge Cup". The Daily Telegraph. 20 March 1876. p. 2. Retrieved 18 April 2024 – via Newspapers.com.
  35. ^ Warsop 2004, p. 120.
  36. ^ a b c d "The Association Football Challenge Cup". The Daily News. 20 March 1876. p. 3. Archived from the original on 24 February 2024. Retrieved 19 April 2024 – via Newspapers.com.
  37. ^ Warsop 2004, p. 53.
  38. ^ Warsop 2004, pp. 40–46.
  39. ^ Warsop 2004, pp. 93, 137.
  40. ^ Stevenson, Jonathan (15 May 2010). "FA Cup final as it happened". BBC Sport. Retrieved 19 April 2024.
  41. ^ "Sheffield Association v London: Victory for Sheffield". Sheffield and Rotherham Independent. 27 March 1876. p. 4. Retrieved 2 April 2024 – via Newspapers.com.
  42. ^ "FA Cup winners list: The results and teams from every final". The Daily Telegraph. 15 May 2022. Archived from the original on 1 March 2024. Retrieved 1 March 2024.
  43. ^ McNulty, Phil (3 June 2023). "Manchester City 2–1 Manchester United". BBC Sport. Archived from the original on 2 June 2023. Retrieved 19 April 2024.
  44. ^ Collett 2003, p. 19.
  45. ^ Buckley, Will (30 October 2009). "The forgotten story of ... the first ever FA Cup winners". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 4 April 2022. Retrieved 22 February 2024.
  46. ^ Soar & Tyler 1983, p. 156.
  47. ^ Murray, Scott (29 May 2015). "A brief history of ... the rise and fall of the FA Cup, England's Super Bowl". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 25 May 2021. Retrieved 18 July 2021.
  48. ^ Pope, Conor (10 April 2020). "Why the real history behind The English Game matters – and what it tells us about modern football". FourFourTwo. Archived from the original on 18 July 2021. Retrieved 18 July 2021.
  49. ^ Collett 2003, pp. 21, 469.
  50. ^ "Crystal Palace claim they are oldest professional football club in existence". Sky Sports. 21 April 2020. Archived from the original on 14 January 2024. Retrieved 21 March 2024.
  51. ^ Hill López-Menchero, Tomás. "Crystal Palace come full circle after 150 years – but are they the real Palace?". The Times. Archived from the original on 16 April 2022. Retrieved 16 April 2022.

Works cited[edit]