Historical Football Kits


English FA Cup Finalists 1920 - 1929

white horse fa cup final at wembley 1923After the horrors of the Great War, the resumption of the Football League and FA Cup represented a return to normality. The Crystal Palace ground was no longer available, having been requisitioned by the Ministry of War so the FA chose Stamford Bridge, the home of Chelsea and the most modern stadium in London. The atmosphere of FA Cup finals changed irrevocably: before the war crowds could gather and enjoy a picnic in the Crystal Palace park before the match. Stamford Bridge was a serious urban stadium, built with the sole purpose of hosting football matches. Meanwhile the Football Association developed plans to build a stadium that would be fit to become the home of association football. The Empire Stadium at Wembley was built in 300 days and (since you ask) required 25,000 tons of concrete, 1,500 tons of steel and half a million rivets. During this decade it became commonplace for the finalists to have special shirts made that featured the club's badge or the crest of their home town.

1919 - 1920

Aston Villa 1 Huddersfield Town 0

venue Stamford Bridge
date 24 April 1920

During the war, Crystal Palace was used by the Army and was no longer available so the FA chose Chelsea's Stamford Bridge to host the FA Cup Final. Huddersfield had narrowly avoided being submerged into the new Leeds United club and just achieved promotion to Division One. Villa had finished midway in Division One after suffering eight defeats in ten matches. An almost accidental late goal won the cup for Villa who now held the record with six wins. The attendance was 50,000.


1920 - 1921

Tottenham Hotspur 1 Wolverhampton Wanderers 0

venue Stamford Bridge
date 23 April 1921

Tottenham had been controversially relegated in the restructuring that followed the Great War. Promoted at the first attempt they were a team with something to prove. Having overcome Aston Villa and Preston to reach the final they were full of confidence against Wolves, then a Second Division side. Torrential rain reduced the pitch to a quagmire frustrating Spurs' masters of dribble on the left wing, Bliss and Dimmock. Wolves came out for the second half in clean shirts, with narrower stripes and without a crest. Spurs also changed into fresh shirts (without a crest) and faded blue knickers. Wolves conceded what proved to be the winner eight minutes into the second half when Dimmock, after appearing to lose possession, dispatched the ball into the corner of the net. The more superstitious Wolves supporters blamed the unscheduled change of shirt for their defeat.


1921 - 1922

Huddersfield Town 1 Preston North End 0

venue Stamford Bridge
date 29 April 1922

For the first time since their triumphant campaign in 1888-89, Preston reached the FA Cup final. It was their misfortune to meet a Huddersfield team that, under their manager Herbert Chapman, were on the verge of greatness. The match was decided by a controversial penalty decision. Huddersfield wore a white Yorkshire rose on their shirts for this match. Preston also wore a crest and although this is yet to be confirmed, this appears to have been a Lancashire rose. This was the last FA Cup final to be played at Stamford Bridge.


1922 - 1923

Bolton Wanderers 2 West Ham United 0

venue Wembley Stadium
date 28 April 1923

The first final at the newly built Empire Stadium at Wembley might very easily have ended in disaster. Before the match around 100,000 people rushed the gates and swarmed inside, spilling onto the pitch. It is estimated that 200,000 people were in the stadium, built to accommodate 127,000. It took 45 minutes for mounted police to clear the pitch and the occasion has passed into legend as the "White Horse Final." There were so many spectators next to the touch line that the police had to clear a space before the players could take a corner kick. Bolton scored two minutes after the delayed start. The half-time break was reduced to eight minutes and both teams stayed on the pitch. Bolton scored a second goal to secure an historic victory.


1923 - 1924

Newcastle United 2 Aston Villa 0

venue Wembley Stadium
date 26 April 1924

In their sixth final appearance Newcastle frustrated Aston Villa's ambition to win the cup for a record seventh time. After a close game extra time seemed likely when Newcastle's Harris was put through to lash home a tremendous shot with eight minutes left. Moments later it was 2-0 and Newcastle had their revenge for their 1905 defeat.


1924 - 1925

Sheffield United 1 Cardiff City 0

venue Wembley Stadium
date 25 April 1925

Cardiff City had risen to the First Division shortly after the Great War and had narrowly missed out on the First Division title in 1924. A mistake by Cardiff's right-half cost them the match.

Although photographs suggest that Cardiff wore pale shirts in this match and the 1927 final, HFK now believes this is an artifact of the film emulsions used at the time.


1925 - 1926

Bolton Wanderers 1 Manchester City 0

venue Wembley Stadium
date 24 April 1926

In a repeat of the 1904 final, the first to played under the new offside rule, Bolton achieved revenge for the result 12 years earlier. Vizard scored the winner after 75 minutes and the Bolton team managed to hold out against a determined assault by City in the last 15 minutes. City's cornflower blue shirts, prepared for the occasion, were a deeper shade than those worn in League matches.


1926 - 1927

Cardiff City 1 Arsenal 0

venue Wembley Stadium
date 23 April 1927

Cardiff reached the final for the second time to meet Arsenal, a team on the rise under manager Herbert Chapman and captain, Charles Buchan. The game was scrappy and Cardiff's goal the result of a mistake by the Arsenal goalkeeper. Cardiff's victory meant that the FA Cup was taken out of England for the first time.


1927 - 1928

Blackburn Rovers 3 Huddersfield Town 1

venue Wembley Stadium
date 21 April 1928

Huddersfield, lying second in Division One, started the match as hot favourites. On their way to the final they had thrashed Spurs 6-1 and twice scored four goals. Blackburn, on the other hand, had narrowly avoided relegation. Rovers scored after only 30 seconds, the fastest goal scored in a Wembley final, and added a second before half-time. After the interval Huddersfield narrowed the gap but when Rovers added a third, the cup was theirs for the sixth time.


1928 - 1929

Bolton Wanderers 2 Portsmouth 0

venue Wembley Stadium
date 27 April 1929

Bolton returned to Wembley for the third time to face Portsmouth, making their first appearance in an FA Cup final. Both goals came in the second half.

The 1910s | FA Cup Finals | The 1930s