Historical Football Kits


English FA Cup Finalists 1890 - 1899

fa cup stolen 1895In the 1890s, the FA Cup came of age as the premier knock-out competition in the country and the professional teams from the Football League took a stranglehold on the competition. By 1893, the Oval was no longer big enough to accommodate the final and the cricket authorities became concerned about damage to their pitch. After two seasons in the north-west, the final took up a new home at the Crystal Palace, home of the Great Exhibition. In September the original FA Cup was stolen from the shop window of William Shillcock, a shoemaker in Birmingham where it was on display. The holders, Aston Villa were fined £25 which paid for a new trophy made by Messrs Vaughtons Ltd of Birmingham, copied from a miniature replica awarded by the club chairman to the winning Wolves side of 1893. The original cup was never recovered.

1889 - 1890

Blackburn Rovers 6 The Wednesday 1

venue Kennington Oval
date 29 March 1890

The first ever "Battle of the Roses" final between a Lancashire and Yorkshire side had Blackburn Rovers starting out as clear favourites. With nine internationals in the side and three survivors from their remarkable three FA Cup triumphs, they were considered one of the strongest teams in the country. Wednesday, who were members of the Football Alliance, a rival competition to the Football League, fielded 11 local lads who were completely overawed by the occasion and were completely outclassed. Both teams changed their shirts for the occasion as they usually turned out in blue and white. According to the Guardian's Knowledge, Blackburn had to get a set of white dress shirts from a london tailor as they had travelled with their normal blue and white tops. The match was the last to be refereed by Major Francis Marindin, formerly the captain of the Royal Engineers and co-founder of the FA Cup.


1890 - 1891

Blackburn Rovers 3 Notts County 1

venue Kennington Oval
date 21 March 1891

A week before the final, Blackburn and Notts County met in a league game, which County won 7-1. Few thought that the match was anything other than a forgone conclusion but the Rovers team proved superior on the day and led 3-0 at half-time. County pulled one back in the 71st minute but could not save the game and Blackburn had equalled the record of Wanderers with their fifth FA Cup win.


1891 - 1892

West Bromwich Albion 3 Aston Villa 0

venue Kennington Oval
date 19 March 1892

This Midlands derby was a rematch of the 1887 final but on this occasion, it was West Bromwich Albion who triumphed. Villa started the stronger side but West Brom absorbed the pressure and took a 2-0 lead into half-time. They continued to frustrate their opponents in the second half, scoring a third goal near the end. This was the last final to be played at the Oval.


1892 - 1893

Wolverhampton Wanderers 1 Everton 0

venue Fallowfield (Manchester)
date 25 March 1893

The 21st FA Cup final was played at the Manchester Athletic Club in front of 45,000 spectators, confirmation that this was now the biggest sporting event in the calendar. In fact, the crowd spilled out onto the pitch and the match very nearly had to be abandoned. Everton, in their pale blue shirts, started as favourites but Wolves' bustling tactics put them off their stride and the Midlands side finished as winners by the only goal of the game. Wolves striped shirts for this game instead of their usual old gold/black diagonal halves.


1893 - 1894

Notts County 4 Bolton Wanderers 1

venue Goodison Park, Liverpool
date 31 March 1894

The FA chose Goodison Park in Liverpool, home of last season's finalists Everton as the next venue. The attendance was 39,000, many people staying away for fear of the crush that had marred the last final. Once again it was the underdogs who got the better of the match. Bolton, hampered by injuries and illness found themselves besieged and Notts County ran out easy winners, the first time that a Second Division side had won the cup.


1894 - 1895

Aston Villa 1 West Bromwich Albion 0

venue Crystal Palace
date 20 April 1895

For the third time, Midlands rivals Aston Villa and West Bromwich Albion confronted each other in the final. Sensationally, Villa scored what proved to be the winner after only 30 seconds, a goal that became known as "the Crystal Palace thunderbolt." This was the first final to be played at Crystal Palace, which would be the home of the FA Cup until the outbreak of the Great War. The following September the cup itself was stolen from a shop window in Birmingham and never heard of again.


1895 - 1896

The Wednesday 2 Wolverhampton Wanderers 1

venue Crystal Palace
date 18 April 1896

Wednesday were the first club to win the new FA Cup after a closely contested game. Their winner struck the goal net with such force that it bounced back into play, deceiving the Wolverhampton goalkeeper into thinking the scores were still level. It was only after the final whistle that he learned that his team had lost.


1896 - 1897

Aston Villa 3 Everton 2

venue Crystal Palace
date 10 April 1897

The 1897 final was considered to be the finest contest since the FA Cup began. Aston Villa had already won the League championship by eleven points and by beating Everton, they equaled Preston's 1889 feat of winning the "double." All five goals came in the 25 minutes before half-time and the lead changed hands no fewer than three times. After an epic match, the Cup returned to Birmingham for the third time, where it was kept safely under lock and key.


1897 - 1898

Nottingham Forest 3 Derby County 1

venue Crystal Palace
date 16 April 1898

The 1898 match brought together two arch-rivals from the East Midlands, both appearing in the final for the first time. Derby were favourites, having thrashed Forest 5-0 in the League a week before but, as so often happens in the Cup, it was the underdogs who ran out as winners. This was the first time that Forest, one of the oldest clubs in England, had won the FA Cup.


1898 - 1899

Sheffield United 4 Derby County 1

venue Crystal Palace
date 15 April 1899

For Derby, their second appearance in two years proved another disappointment. Sheffield United, who had taken three replays to edge out Liverpool in the semi-finals, were making their first appearance and, trailing by one goal at half-time, their prospects did not look good. In a superb second half display, however, United scored four times to finish as deserved winners. The match was graced by Sheffield United's legendary goal keeper, Bill "Fatty" Foulkes and their defender, "Nudger" Needham and watched by almost 74,000 spectators.

The 1880s | FA Cup Finals | The 1900s