I have previously mentioned that the oldest football league in the world is England’s The Football League, which started its operations in 1888. However, the oldest organization is The Football Association Challenge Cup, or the FA Cup, as it is commonly known.

In the FA Cup, which started to be played in 1871, some Welsh teams competing in the English football leagues today also participate in the tournament. In addition, a Scottish team, Queen’s Park Glasgow, played in the finals of the FA Cup in 1884 and 1885. Between 1915-1919 and 1939-1945, the trophy was not held due to due to World War I and World War II.

FA Cup in General:

The 1872 first champion trophy featured the following 15 teams: Barnes (London), Civil Service (London), Hitchin (Hertfordshire), Crystal Palace (London), Maidenhead (Berkshire), Marlow (Buckinghamshire), Queen’s Park Glasgow, Donington Grammer School (Lincolnshire), Royal Engineers, Reigate Priory (Surrey), Upton Park (London), Clapham Rovers (London), West Ham Park (London), Wanderers (London), Harrow Checkers (London), Hampstead Heathens (London).
Wanderers FC, an amateur football team founded in England in 1859, is one of the two clubs that played in the final of the first tournament. The final was with the participation of only Queen’s Park from Scotland to amateur clubs in and around London; Royal Engineers is an English football club representing the Royal Engineers of the British Army, founded in 1863.

The status of the trophy is in the form of one-match elimination. If the match ends in a draw, a replay is played on the away team’s field. If this match ends in a draw, two 15-minute extra periods are played. In the tournament, in which 759 teams participated, after qualifying rounds, the number of teams dropped to 128. In the first qualifying rounds, a north and south separation is made to reduce travel costs. The semi-finals are reached as a result of 6 rounds played by 128 teams called Competition Proper. The semi-finals and the final match are played at Wembley Stadium. From the beginning, teams of different levels take part in the tournament in each round. Premier League and Championship teams, on the other hand, participate in the cup in the 3rd round.

While Arsenal won 13 championships in 20 finals, the club with the most championships and their first championship in 1930, Manchester United followed with 12 titles in 20 finals, and the first title came in 1909. Chelsea won 8 titles in 13 finals while their first title was in 1970, and they are also the defending champions. Tottenham Hotspur has a high percentage of 8 titles in 9 finals; the first title came in 1901. Liverpool won 7 championships in 14 finals, the first of which was in 1965. While Aston Villa won 7 championships in 11 finals, it is one of the oldest, and its first championship came in 1887. Newcastle United has six titles in 13 finals, the first in 1910. Blackburn Rovers won 6 titles in 8 finals, and the first came in 1884, the oldest champion in the top group. Everton, Manchester City, and West Bromwich Albion follow with five titles. The oldest winner among this trio was WBA in 1888. Everton achieved this victory for the first time in 1906 and City in 1904.

FA Cup Finals (1872-1891):

I have previously entered the first season of the FA Cup, the most champions, and the details of the trophy status. So where were the first FA Cup Finals played, and who took part in the finals?

Until 1892, all but one of the first 20 finals were played at The Kennington Oval Cricket Ground in South London. This field also hosted the England-Scotland match, the first national match in 1870. The field, where many national matches with Scotland and Wales were played until 1890, was used as a cricket ground from the 18th century, which in 1845 became a regular field and is still an active field.

The first FA Cup final was played on this field between Wanderers and Royal Engineers, and Wanderers won 1-0. The second final in 1873 was again at the Lillie Bridge Grounds in London’s Fulham district. The next 18 finals were played at The Kennington Oval.

When we look at the top 10 finals between 1872-1881, we see 6 different clubs. The years in parentheses show their activity periods, some of which continue in subsets or other organizations.

Wanderers (1859-1887) won 5 championships in 5 finals. Royal Engineers (1863 – …) follow them with one title in four finals. Old Etonians (1871 -…) showed a significant performance in this period with one title in four finals, Oxford University (1871 -…) one title in four finals and Clapham Rovers (1869 – 1911) one title in two finals. Old Carthusians (1876 -…) won 1 championship in 1 final. All of these clubs are either in London or very close to it.
In the second 10 years from 1882, Old Etonians won a title in two consecutive finals. They lost against Blackburn Olympic (1878 – 1889) in one and beat Blackburn Rovers in the other. Blackburn Rovers won 5 titles in 6 finals in this period. While West Bromwich Albion won 2 titles in 3 finals, Preston North End stands out with 1 title in 2 finals. Aston Villa reaches the title in a single final. Wolverhampton Wanderers, The Wednesday (Sheffield), and Notts County are losing their only finals. Queen’s Park, the sole Scottish representative to have played in the final in this cup so far, is the club that came to the fore in both finals. He’s stuck with Blackburn Rovers.

3.) FA Cup Finals (1892-1901)

Between 1892 and 1901, 9 different champions emerged in 10 seasons in the finals, which are now usually played at Crystal Palace. Aston Villa was the most successful club, with two championships in three finals. Derby County, Everton, Sheffield United, West Bromwich Albion, and Wolverhampton Wanderers were the other prominent clubs with two finals each, Derby County and Everton losing both finals and the other three clubs winning a championship each. Apart from that, Notts County, The Wednesday, Nottingham Forest, Bury, and Tottenham Forest reached the tournament in one final, while Bolton Wanderers and Southampton lost their only finals.

4.) FA Cup Finals (1902-1910)

In the early 1900s, Newcastle United was the most successful club with four finals and one title, followed by two finals and one title. While it was seen that there were nine different champions in these nine years, this was an indication of how tough the tournament was. Manchester’s representative started to step in by winning a championship each. The title. Bury, Aston Villa, and Wolverhampton Wanderers were other championship clubs of the era.

5.) FA Cup Finals (1911-1918)

Between 1910-18, the cup was not played after 1915 due to the First World War. In the first two finals, Bradford City beat Newcastle United, and Barnsley beat West Bromwich Albion 1-0 after 0-0 to reach the cup. It was Barnsley’s first title in the second final, and Bradford City had reached the final in the first. It was the fourth final between West Bromwich Albion and Newcastle United. In the 1912-13 season, 121,919 people watched the final at Crystal Palace between Aston Villa and Sunderland, among the most successful clubs in the country from the beginning of the war, and Aston Villa won the cup 1-0. Sunderland’s enthusiasm was left for another spring. In the following two seasons, Burnley beat Liverpool 1-0, and for the fourth time in a row, the cup final ended 1-0. In the 1914-15 season, Sheffield United had won 3-0 against Chelsea. Sheffield United, one of the successful teams of the cup, reached their fourth championship, while Chelsea played the final for the first time.

6.) Summary of 1872-1915

5: Wanderers, Blackburn Rovers, Aston Villa
3: Sheffield United
2: Old Etonians, West Bromwich Albion, Bury, The Wednesday, Wolverhampton Wanderers
1: Oxford University, Royal Engineers, Clapham Rovers, Old Carthusians, Blackburn Olympic, Preston North End, Notts County, Nottingham Forest, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City, Everton, Manchester United, Newcastle United, Bradford City, Barnsley, Burnley

6: Old Etonians, Blackburn Rovers, West Bromwich Albion, Aston Villa
5: Wanderers, Newcastle United
4: Royal Engineers, Oxford University, Everton, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Sheffield United
3: Derby County, The Wednesday
2: Clapham Rovers, Queen’s Park (Glasgow), Preston North End, Notts County, Southampton, Bury, Bolton Wanderers, Barnsley
1: Old Carthusians, Blackburn Olympic, Nottingham Forest, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City, Manchester United, Bristol City, Bradford City, Sunderland, Burnley, Liverpool, Chelsea
1.7. Summary of 1920-1939

3: Bolton Wanderers
2: Newcastle United, Arsenal
1: Aston Villa, Huddersfield Town, Tottenham Hotspur, Preston North End, Sheffield United, Cardiff City, Manchester City, Blackburn Rovers, Portsmouth, West Bromwich Albion, Everton, Sheffield Wednesday, Sunderland

5: Huddersfield Town
4: Arsenal
3: Bolton Wanderers, Manchester City, Preston North End, Portsmouth
2: Aston Villa, Cardiff City, Newcastle United, West Bromwich Albion, Sheffield United, Wolverhampton Wanderers
1: Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham United, Blackburn Rovers, Birmingham, Everton, Sheffield Wednesday, Sunderland