Historical Football Kits


English FA Cup Finalists 1872 - 1879

wanderers fc 1872 fa cup winnersThe English FA Challenge Cup is world's second oldest competition in association football. (The Youdon Cup played between Sheffield teams preceded it by five years but was played just once.). The tournament was proposed by CW Alcock, the influential Secretary of the Football Association who captained The Wanderers (photo left) to victory in the first ever final. At the time there were 30 clubs in membership of the FA, half of whom entered the competition. The decade was dominated by the former public school teams based in and around London at a time when association football was considered a recreation for gentlemen rather than a national sport.

1871 - 1872

Wanderers 1 Royal Engineers 0

venue Kennington Oval
date 16 March 1872

Fifteen teams entered the inaugural FA Cup including Queen's Park of Glasgow, the only entrant from outside the Greater London area. In view of the cost of travel, they were given a bye until the semi-final with a promise that if they won, the final would be played the following day. In the event their game with Wanderers finished scoreless and Queen's Park withdrew. Wanderers, a club that drew its players from former public school teams, started the final as underdogs against the Royal Engineers from Chatham. After Lt Creswell broke his collarbone with ten minutes played, the army team had to continue with ten men. A single goal by MP Betts gave Wanderers the trophy in a final watched by 2,000 spectators who each paid 1/- (5p).


1872 - 1873

Wanderers 2 Oxford University 0

venue Lillie Bridge
date 29 March 1873

As Cup holders, Wanderers were exempt until the final, a rule that was dropped the following season. The Oxford team were drawn to play Queen's Park in the semi-final but the Glasgow side once again withdrew, unable to travel to London for the game. The University team could call upon some of the best ex-public school players in the country but were below strength for the final. After Wanderers took the lead, they even played without a goalkeeper, Kirke-Smith moving up field in search of an equaliser. Arthur Fitzgerald (later Lord) Kinnaird, in the first of nine final appearances dribbled through the entire Oxford team to score Wanderers' second goal. He later would become President of the FA.


1873 - 1874

Oxford University 2 Royal Engineers 0

venue Kennington Oval
date 14 March 1874

The Royal Engineers, captained by Major Marindin were the strongest side in England during the early 1870s with a goal tally of 244 for and 21 against. Playing a vigorously physical passing game, they outshone most of their opponents who were less fit and still playing the kick and rush game that prevailed at the time. In four years they had lost only three matches out of 86 played. Unfortunately, the 1874 final was one of these. Oxford University, beaten finalists the year before, outplayed the Sappers' side clinching the cup with two quick fire goals.


1874 - 1875

Royal Engineers 2 Old Etonians 0 (Replay after 1-1 draw)

venue Kennington Oval (13 March 1875): Replay (16 March 1875)

At long last the Royal Engineers won the trophy after going through the season undefeated and had their revenge against Oxford University in the semi-final. The rules of the time meant that teams only changed ends after a goal was scored so in the final, playing into a howling gale, the Sappers were at a disadvantage. Old Etonians scored late in the game from a corner kick with the assistance of the wind. The teams promptly changed ends and, with the wind at their backs, Royal Engineers quickly equalised. The public school side fielded a weakened team in the replay three days later and were narrowly beaten.


1875 - 1876

Wanderers 3 Old Etonians 0 (Replay after 1-1 draw)

venue Kennington Oval
date 11 & 18 March 1876

During an even first match, Old Etonians had a goal disallowed by the umpire when the ball was driven through but the posts collapsed on impact - there were no crossbars or goal nets at the time. Wanderers dominated the replay, played a week later running out comfortable winners, 3-0.


1876 - 1877

Wanderers 2 Oxford University 0 (Extra Time played)

venue Kennington Oval
date 24 March 1877

Wanderers retained the FA Cup, beating Oxford University by two goals in extra time. Alfred Kinnaird, playing in goal, gathered a corner kick and stepped over his own line to concede an own goal.


1877 - 1878

Wanderers 3 Royal Engineers 1

venue Kennington Oval
date 23 March 1878

Wanderers put out their strongest side in their third consecutive final against the powerful Royal Engineers. After 5 minutes they took the lead and immediately after the restart, Wanderers goalkeeper broke his arm in a scrimmage but he refused to leave the field. The Sappers equalised in the 18th minute but ten minutes later one of their players put through his own goal. In the second half Engineers had a second equaliser disallowed for offside and shortly afterwards Wanderers scored their third. By the rules of the competition, the FA Cup now became the permanent property of the Wanderers club but they chose to hand it back to the Football Association on condition that no other club could win the trophy outright in the future. This proved to be the last time that the Wanderers would appear in a final. Composed as it was of players selected from other clubs, they found it increasingly hard to secure players as the former public school clubs grew in stature. The following September Kinnaird and several other leading players resigned and joined Old Etonians.


1878 - 1879

Old Etonians 1 Clapham Rovers 0

venue Kennington Oval
date 29 March 1879

In the semi-finals, Old Etonians narrowly beat Nottingham Forest, the first time that a northern club had reached this stage of the competition and an indication of what was to come. In the final itself, after a closely fought first half, the Etonians, laid siege to the Clapham goal, scoring what proved to be the decisive goal in the 59th minute.

| FA Cup Finals | The 1880s