1872 FA Cup Final

The 1872 FA Cup Final was a football match between Wanderers and Royal Engineers on 16 March 1872 at Kennington Oval in London. It was the final of the first staging of the Football Association Challenge Cup (known in the modern era as the FA Cup), which became the primary cup competition in English football and the oldest football competition in the world. Fifteen teams entered the competition in its first season and, due to the rules in place at the time, Wanderers reached the final having won only one match in the four preceding rounds. In the semi-finals, they drew with the Scottish club Queen's Park, but reached the final when the Scots withdrew from the competition as they could not afford to return to London for a replay.

The final was decided by a single goal, scored after fifteen minutes by Morton Betts of Wanderers, who was playing under the pseudonym "A.H. Chequer". The Engineers were praised for their innovative use of passing, then referred to as the "Combination Game", at a time when most teams relied almost solely on dribbling tactics. Despite this they could not manage to score a goal. The winning Wanderers team did not receive the trophy until the following month, when it was presented to them at a special reception at the Pall Mall Restaurant.

1872 FA Cup Final
1896 FA Cup
Event1871–72 FA Cup
Wanderers Royal Engineers
1 0
Date16 March 1872
VenueKennington Oval, London
RefereeAlfred Stair (Upton Park)

Route to the final

The Royal Engineers pictured in 1872. Back: Merriman, Ord, Marindin, Addison, Mitchell; Front: Hoskyns, Renny-Tailyour, Creswell, Goodwyn, Barker, Rich.

Wanderers and Royal Engineers were among fifteen teams who entered the inaugural FA Cup competition, and both were allocated home matches in the first round.[1] Wanderers were paired with Harrow Chequers, a team consisting of former pupils of Harrow School, and the Engineers were set to face Reigate Priory. Neither match actually took place, however, as in both cases the away team withdrew from the competition, sending the home team through to the next round on a walkover.[1] In the second round, both teams played away matches and emerged victorious. Wanderers defeated Clapham Rovers 3–1 in December and the Engineers beat Hitchin 5–0 the following month.[1]

At the quarter-final stage, Wanderers drew 0–0 with Crystal Palace (a defunct former amateur club not connected to the current professional club of the same name).[1] Rather than be made to replay the match, however, both teams were permitted to go through to the semi-finals under one of the competition's original rules, which stated that in the event of a drawn match the teams would either be made to play again or both progress to the next round, at the organising committee's discretion.[2] The Engineers beat Hampstead Heathens 2–0. In the semi-finals Wanderers took on the leading Scottish club Queen's Park who, due to a combination of walkovers and byes, had reached this stage of the competition without actually playing a match.[1] The rules of the competition stated that all matches from the semi-final stage onwards would take place at Kennington Oval in London and, after being held to a 0–0 draw, the Scottish club could not afford to make the lengthy trip from Glasgow a second time for a replay and withdrew from the competition, sending Wanderers into the final.[3] The Engineers also drew their semi-final at the Oval 0–0, and beat Crystal Palace 3–0 in the replay.[1]



Morton Betts
Morton Betts scored the game's only goal.

As was common at the time, both teams focused mainly on attack rather than defence, the Engineers lining up with seven forwards and Wanderers with eight.[4] Wanderers forward Morton Betts played under the pseudonym "A. H. Chequer", derived from his membership of the Harrow Chequers club.[5] Some sources state that he played under an assumed name to disguise the fact that he was cup-tied, having been a registered player of the Chequers club at the start of the competition and therefore ineligible to play for another club in that season's cup. This, however, is unlikely to be true, as in the early amateur era of football players were not required to be formally registered with clubs.[6] Cuthbert Ottaway, a future captain of the England national team, played for two different clubs in consecutive rounds of the 1871–72 FA Cup without incident.[7]

Wanderers captain C. W. Alcock won the coin toss and chose to defend the Harleyford Road end of the ground, meaning that the Engineers, who were considered the favourites at the start of play, initially had the sun and wind in their faces.[4] Early in the game, Edmund Creswell of the Royal Engineers suffered a broken collar bone in a melee. He refused to leave the pitch but due to his injury was forced to spend the remainder of the match as a "passenger" on the wing.[8] Wanderers' tactics centred on the dribbling skills of individual players, while the Engineers favoured passing the ball, a style then known as the "Combination Game" and considered innovative, of which they were leading exponents.[9]

Wanderers took the lead fifteen minutes into the game when Betts opened the scoring from an acute angle after Robert Vidal's long dribble. Under the rules in use at the time, the teams changed ends after each goal, but the Engineers were unable to take advantage of the fact that the sun and wind were now behind them, and the Wanderers players remained dominant.[8] After twenty minutes Alcock put the ball past the Engineers' goalkeeper, William Merriman, but the goal was disallowed because Charles Wollaston had handled the ball.[4] Wanderers continued to exert further pressure on the Engineers' goal and only Merriman's skill was able to prevent them from increasing their lead. One newspaper later described his performance as "perfect".[10] Despite a late rally from the Engineers, Wanderers were able to hold on to their lead and the game ended in a 1–0 victory.[11] Newspaper The Field called the final "the fastest and hardest match that has ever been seen at The Oval" and said that the Wanderers displayed "some of the best play, individually and collectively, that has ever been shown in an Association game".[8]


Wanderers1–0Royal Engineers
Betts Goal 15' Report
Royal Engineers
GK England Reginald Courtenay Welch
FB England Edgar Lubbock
HB England Albert Thompson
FW England C. W. Alcock
FW Ireland Edward Bowen
FW England Alexander Bonsor
FW England Morton Betts
FW England William Crake
FW England Thomas Hooman
FW England Walpole Vidal
FW England Charles Wollaston
Royal Engineers:[4]
GK England Capt. William Merriman
FB England Capt. Francis Marindin
FB England Lieut. George Addison
HB England Lieut. Alfred Goodwyn
FW Scotland Lieut. Hugh Mitchell
FW Gibraltar Lieut. Edmund Creswell
FW Scotland Lieut. Henry Renny-Tailyour
FW England Lieut. Henry Rich
FW Scotland Lieut. Herbert Muirhead
FW Ireland Lieut. Edmond Cotter
FW Scotland Lieut. Adam Bogle

Assistant referees:


The Cup was presented by the President of the Football Association, Mr E. C. Morley, at the annual dinner of the Wanderers at the Pall Mall Restaurant, Charing Cross, on 11 April.[12] The Football Association also gave each player in the winning team a silk badge commemorating the victory and the Wanderers' committee presented each player with an inscribed gold medal.[4] As cup-holders, Wanderers received a bye straight to the final of the following year's FA Cup, in keeping with the original concept of the competition being a "challenge cup".[13] This was the only time this rule was used.[14]

In 1938, The Times published an obituary for Thomas Hooman and stated that he had scored the winning goal in the 1872 cup final, citing an interview the player gave shortly before his death. This claim is not backed up by contemporary newspaper reports, all of which list Betts as the goalscorer, and, as other quoted aspects of Hooman's reminiscences about the match were incorrect, it seems that in his old age he was confusing the 1872 final with another match in which he played.[15]

In 2010, the only known surviving medal from the final was offered for sale at an auction in London. It had been purchased by a jeweller as part of a house clearance in the 1950s and was expected to sell for up to £50,000,[16] but was ultimately purchased by the Professional Footballers' Association for £70,500.[17] On 7 November 2012, the match was replayed by the reformed Wanderers side and the Royal Engineers team at the original venue, The Oval.[18] The result went in a completely opposite direction to the actual final, as the Royal Engineers won 7–1.[19]



  • Warsop, Keith (2004). The Early FA Cup Finals and the Southern Amateurs. SoccerData. ISBN 1-899468-78-1.


  1. ^ a b c d e f "England FA Challenge Cup 1871–72". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. 27 January 2001. Retrieved 19 November 2009.
  2. ^ Warsop, p. 29.
  3. ^ "F.A. Cup 1871–72". The Football Club History Database. Retrieved 22 January 2011.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Warsop, p. 40.
  5. ^ Warsop, p. 62.
  6. ^ Warsop, p. 55.
  7. ^ Warsop, p. 111.
  8. ^ a b c Warsop, p. 28.
  9. ^ Warsop, p. 14.
  10. ^ Warsop, p. 11.
  11. ^ Gibbons, Philip (2001). Association Football in Victorian England – A History of the Game from 1863 to 1900. Upfront Publishing. pp. 35–36. ISBN 1-84426-035-6.
  12. ^ Matthews, Tony (2006). Football Firsts. Capella. p. 85. ISBN 1-84193-451-8.
  13. ^ Warsop, p. 41.
  14. ^ "F.A. Cup 1872–73". The Football Club History Database. Archived from the original on 21 April 2008. Retrieved 19 November 2009.
  15. ^ Warsop, p. 90.
  16. ^ "Great season of sporting antiques". Antiques Trade Gazette. 25 October 2010. Archived from the original on 12 November 2010. Retrieved 6 November 2010.
  17. ^ "PFA buy medal from first FA Cup Final". The Mirror. 9 November 2010. Archived from the original on 17 February 2011. Retrieved 25 March 2011.
  18. ^ Cunningham, Sam (7 November 2012). "Wanderers and Royal Engineers set for FA Cup final remake... 140 years after original showdown". Daily Mail. Retrieved 10 November 2012.
  19. ^ Al-Samarrai, Riath (7 November 2012). "Engineers steamroll Wanderers 7–1 in repeat of first ever FA Cup final at The Oval... 140 years after the original". Daily Mail. Retrieved 10 November 2012.

External links

Adam Bogle

Major Adam Bogle (21 June 1848 – 3 March 1915) was a British soldier, who played for the Royal Engineers in the 1872 FA Cup Final.

Albert Meysey-Thompson

Albert Childers Meysey-Thompson (13 July 1848 – 20 March 1894) was an English barrister and an amateur footballer who played for Wanderers in the 1872 FA Cup Final and for Old Etonians in the 1875 and 1876 FA Cup Finals.

Alexander Bonsor

Alexander George Bonsor (7 October 1851 – 17 August 1907) was one of the earliest known footballers.

Benjamin Duterrau

Benjamin Duterrau (2 March 1768 – 11 July 1851) was an English painter, etcher, engraver, sculptor and art lecturer who emigrated to Tasmania. There he became known for his images of Indigenous people and Australian history paintings.

Bruce Castle School

Bruce Castle School, at Bruce Castle, Tottenham, was a progressive school for boys established in 1827 as an extension of Rowland Hill's Hazelwood School at Edgbaston. It closed in 1891.

Cotter (surname)

Cotter is a surname that originates in England and Ireland. It can also be an Anglicization, chiefly in North America, of a similar-sounding German surname.

Crake (surname)

Crake is an English surname. People with this surname include:

Francis Crake (1893–1920), a British Army and Royal Irish Constabulary officer.

Paul Crake (born 1976), an Australian professional racing cyclist.

William Crake (1852–1921), English footballer who played in the 1872 FA Cup Final.

Creswell (surname)

Creswell is a surname. Notable people with the surname include:

Charles Creswell (1813–1882), English cricketer

Edmund Creswell (1849–1931), British soldier who played in the 1872 FA Cup Final

Frederic Creswell (1866–1948), South African politician

Harry Bulkeley Creswell (1869–1960), British architect and author.

John Creswell (1828–1891), American politician

John Creswell (MP) (fl. 1597), English Member of Parliament

John Creswell (sportsman) (1858–1909), South Australian all-round sportsman and administrator

John W. Creswell, Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Joseph Creswell (1557–1623), English Jesuit priest

Gregory Creswell (born 1957), Michigan politician

K. A. C. Creswell (1879–1974), English architectural historian

Mary Ethel Creswell (1879–1960), the first female to receive an undergraduate degree from the University of Georgia

Michael Creswell (1909–1986), British diplomat

Robyn Creswell, American critic, scholar and translator

Thomas Creswell (1852–1920), Australian politician

Toby Creswell (born 1955), Australian music journalist

William Rooke Creswell (1852–1933), British admiral

Edmond Cotter

Col. Edmond William Cotter (12 February 1852 – 23 August 1934) was a British soldier, who played for the Royal Engineers in the 1872 FA Cup Final. As a soldier, he was engaged in four military campaigns: the Ashanti campaign of 1873–74, the Zhob Valley Expedition of 1884, the Nile Expedition of 1884–85 and the Burma Expedition of 1887–88. At the end of his career, he was briefly involved with the United Irish movement.

Edmund Creswell

Col. Edmund William Creswell (7 November 1849 – 1 May 1931) was a British soldier, who played for the Royal Engineers in the 1872 FA Cup Final. As a soldier, he was engaged mainly in administrative work and never saw active service.

Henry Bayard Rich

Capt. Henry Bayard Rich (14 June 1849 – 17 November 1884) was a British soldier, who played for the Royal Engineers in the 1872 FA Cup Final. As a soldier, he saw active service in three campaigns: the Perak Expedition of 1875–76, the Zulu War of 1879 and the Egyptian Expedition of 1882. He was killed in an accident while playing polo.

Herbert Muirhead

Col. Herbert Hugh Muirhead (10 December 1850 – 4 March 1904) was a British soldier, who played for the Royal Engineers in the 1872 FA Cup Final.

Hugh Mitchell

Hugh Mitchell may refer to:

Hugh Mitchell (politician) (1907–1996), American politician, U.S. Senator from Washington

Hugh Mitchell (Royal Engineers) (1849–1937), Scottish member of the Royal Engineers who played in the 1872 FA Cup Final

Hugh Mitchell (actor) (born 1989), English actor

Hugh Mitchell (American football), American football player and coach

Hugh Mitchell (Australian footballer) (born 1934), Australian rules footballer and coach

Hugh Henry Mitchell (1770–1817), British military leader

Hugh Mitchell (Scottish footballer)

Capt. Hugh Mitchell (3 December 1849 – 16 August 1937) was a Scottish member of the Royal Engineers who later became a barrister. In his youth he was a keen footballer who played for the Royal Engineers in the 1872 FA Cup Final and appeared for Scotland in two of the representative matches played against England in 1871 and 1872.

James Patrick Muirhead

James Patrick Muirhead FRSE (26 July 1813 – 15 October 1898) was a Scottish advocate and author, best known as the biographer of James Watt.

Michael Creswell

Sir Michael Justin Creswell (21 September 1909 - 25 April 1986) was a British diplomat. He was Ambassador to Finland from 1954 to 1958, Ambassador to Yugoslavia from 1960 to 1964, and Ambassador to Argentina from 1964 to 1969.He was the son of Col Edmund William Creswell (who played for the Royal Engineers in the 1872 FA Cup Final) and Isabel Agnes Vulliamy. Michael's son, Alexander is a renowned architectural artist.

Morton Betts

Morton Peto Betts (30 August 1847 – 19 April 1914) was a leading English sportsman of the late 19th century. He was notable for scoring the first goal in an English FA Cup Final.

Muirhead (surname)

Muirhead is a surname of Scottish origin, and may refer to:

Aaron Muirhead (born 1990), Scottish footballer

Alexander Muirhead (1848–1920), Scottish scientist

Andy Muirhead (born 1975), Australian radio and television presenter

Anthony Muirhead (1890–1939), British politician and soldier

Arch Muirhead (1876–19??), Australian rules footballer

Ben Muirhead (born 1983), English footballer

Bruce Muirhead, Canadian historian

Charlie Muirhead, British internet entrepreneur

Corey Muirhead (born 1983), Canadian basketball player

David Muirhead (1918–1999), British diplomat

Desmond Muirhead (1923-2002), English-born American golf course designer

Doug Muirhead (born 1962), Canadian soccer player

Eve Muirhead (born 1990), Scottish curler

George Muirhead (1715–1773), Scottish linguist

Gerald Muirhead (born 1931), Canadian politician

Glen Muirhead (born 1989), Scottish curler, brother of Eve and Thomas

Gordon Muirhead, Scottish curler, father of Eve, Glen and Thomas

Herbert Muirhead (1850–1904), British soldier, who played for the Royal Engineers in the 1872 FA Cup Final

James Muirhead (1925–1999), Australian judge

James Muirhead (cricketer) (born 1993), Australian cricketer

James Patrick Muirhead (1813–1898), Scottish lawyer and author

John Muirhead (1877–1954), Canadian politician

John Henry Muirhead (1855–1940), British philosopher

Lockhart Muirhead (1765–1829), Scottish librarian, museum-keeper and academic

Lorna Muirhead, held the positions of President of the Royal College of Midwives, and Lord Lieutenant of Merseyside

Oliver Muirhead (born 1957), English actor

Robbie Muirhead (born 1996), Scottish footballer

Robert Franklin Muirhead (1860–1941), Scottish mathematician

Roland Muirhead (1868–1964), Scottish nationalist politician

Scott Muirhead (born 1984), Scottish footballer

Stanley Muirhead (1902–1942), American football player

Suzie Muirhead (born 1975), New Zealand hockey player

Thomas Muirhead (curler) (born 1995), Scottish curler, brother of Eve and Glen

Tommy Muirhead (1897–1979), Scottish footballer

William Muirhead, nineteenth-century Christian missionary in China

William Muirhead (politician) (1819–1884), Canadian businessman and politician

Gerard Muirhead-Gould (1889–1945), British Naval officer.

Thomas Hooman

Thomas Charles Hooman (28 December 1850 – 22 September 1938) was a leading English association football player of the Victorian era. He played for Wanderers in the 1872 FA Cup Final and was also chosen to represent England on several occasions.

Qualifying rounds

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