1888 FA Cup Final

The 1888 FA Cup Final was contested by West Bromwich Albion and Preston North End at the Kennington Oval. Preston were strong favourites for the Cup, having set a record which still stands today by beating Hyde 26–0 in the first round, and were so confident of overcoming West Bromwich Albion in the final that they asked to be photographed with the trophy before the game. The FA president Major Francis Marindin turned them down and said: "Hadn't you better win it first?" They didn't get their photo after the game either. So lacking in confidence were their West Bromwich opponents that when offered bets on the outcome of the game by the Preston players, they all refused, no matter how great the odds.[1] West Brom won 2–1, with their goals scored by George Woodhall and Jem Bayliss. Fred Dewhurst scored Preston's effort.

John Goodall recalled many years later how, at the final whistle, he stood motionless in the centre circle for many minutes unable to comprehend the result.[2] The refereeing of the game by Major Francis Marindin was also questioned privately by many observers who felt that he had potentially shown bias towards Albion's all English eleven. At one point during the game he stopped play just as Preston were about to score to award a free kick to Albion despite no Albion player having made an appeal, as was required by the rules of the game at that time. Cambridge University captain Tinsley Lindley later commented to defeated Preston player Jack Ross "Well Jack, you cannot expect to win when playing against eleven men and the devil." [3] The Preston players however cited their own pre match routine for their defeat. Bob Holmes recalled "We got starved to death on the Thames bank {While watching the Oxford vs Cambridge boat race} and could not get warm again. The invincibles entered the Kennington Oval field that day in a pitiful state. We were daft." [4] At this time the boat race was considered a greater sporting event than the cup final.

By contrast, Albion captain, Billy Bassett stated "Jack Ross lost his cool that day. that was the key. I managed to keep my cool and the cooler I kept, the rasher Ross got." Bassett also recalled that it was Ross' rashness that cost his side the winning goal as he charged at Bassett and ended up somersaulting clean over him. As he picked himself up he watched as Bassett was able to set up the clinching goal. Bassett however was complimentary of his opponents when, years later he stated "I have seen all the best sides in Football but I have never seen a side that compared to Preston North End at their best. We beat them but I do not pretend for a moment that we deserved to beat them."[5]

1888 FA Cup Final
EventFA Cup 1887–88
West Bromwich
North End
2 1
Date24 March 1888
VenueKennington Oval, London
RefereeFrancis Marindin

Match details

West Bromwich Albion team 1888
West Bromwich Albion, winning side
West Bromwich Albion2–1Preston North End
George Woodhall Goal
Jem Bayliss Goal
Fred Dewhurst Goal
W.B. Albion
Preston N.E.
West Bromwich Albion:
1 Bob Roberts
2 Albert Aldridge
3 Harry Green
4 Ezra Horton
5 Charlie Perry
6 George Timmins
7 George Woodhall Goal
8 Billy Bassett
9 Jem Bayliss (c) Goal
10 Joe Wilson
11 Tom Pearson
Preston North End:
1 RH Mills-Roberts
2 Bob Howarth
3 Nick Ross
4 Bob Holmes
5 David Russell
6 Johnny Graham
7 Jack Gordon
8 Jimmy Ross
9 John Goodall
10 Fred Dewhurst Goal
11 George Drummond


  • 90 minutes.
  • 30 minutes of extra-time if necessary.
  • Replay if scores still level.


A copy of the game's programme was auctioned in 2015.

In 2015 what was believed to be one of a small number of surviving copies of the programme from the Final, which originally sold for a penny, was put up for auction. The programme had at one time been owned by West Bromwich Albion director Harold Ely.[6] At auction it achieved a sale price of £20,000.[7]


  1. ^ Beastly Fury: The strange birth of British Football: Richard Sanders: page 137
  2. ^ Beastly Fury: The strange birth of British Football: Richard Sanders: page 137
  3. ^ Beastly Fury: The strange birth of British Football: Richard Sanders: page 138
  4. ^ Beastly Fury: The strange birth of British Football: Richard Sanders: page 138
  5. ^ Beastly Fury: The strange birth of British Football: Richard Sanders: page 139
  6. ^ "West Brom programme worth £20k". Express & Star. Wolverhampton. 2 May 2015. p. 17.
  7. ^ "1p Albion cup programme sells for £20k". Express & Star. Wolverhampton. 22 May 2015. p. 13.
Bob Holmes (footballer)

Robert Holmes, (23 June 1867 – 17 November 1955) was a professional footballer, who played for Preston North End.

George Drummond (footballer)

George Drummond, known as Geordie Drummond, born in Edinburgh in 1865, was a professional footballer. Drummond played for St Bernard's before joining Preston North End.He was a key member of the Preston team which won the first ever Football League championship in the 1888–89 season without losing a match.Having learnt his football with St. Bernard's, Geordie Drummond won a county cap for Edinburgh against representatives of Glasgow. London and Sheffield. He was only 18 years old when he moved to south to Preston but impressed immediately with a hat–trick in a 4–4 draw against Accrington in September 1883. A versatile footballer, he settled into the North End side at inside–right before playing on both wings, centre–forward, half–back and full–back. Drummond played on the left wing in the 1888 FA Cup Final which Preston North End lost 2–1 to West Bromwich Albion.Geordie Drummond, playing as a winger, made his League debut on 8 September 1888 at Deepdale, the home of Preston North End. The visitors were Burnley who were defeated 5–2. Geordie Drummond, playing as a winger, scored his debut League goal on 22 September 1888 at Deepdale against Bolton Wanderers. Preston North End scored the opening goal in a 3–1 win. Fred Dewhurst appeared in 12 of Preston North End' 22 League Championship matches played in season 1888–89, scoring one goal. As a winger/wing-half (nine appearances) he played in a Preston North End midfield that achieved a big (three goals or more) win on five separate occasions. He also played twice as a full-back in a Preston North End defence that kept two clean sheets. Preston North End played in four FA Cup ties including playing at wing–half in the Final. The Final was played at Kennington Oval on 30 March 1889 and Preston North End defeated Wolverhampton Wanderers 3–0.From 8 September 1888 until 19 September 1898 Geordie Drummond played 139 League matches for Preston North End scoring 36 goals. He only made nine appearances in seasons 1896–97, 1897–98 and 1898–99. In the same period Drummond played in 19 FA Cup ties scoring four goals. Drummond assisted Preston North End to win two League Championship titles and an FA Cup win. Preston North End finished League runners–up from 1890–93. Preston North End also reached the FA Cup semi–final in 1893. Towards the end of his first–team career, he began to train the successful North End reserve team and in 1900 he was awarded a testimonial game when almost 6,000 paid to see North End take on the 'Old Invincibles'. In 1902 he was appointed as the Deepdale club's first–team trainer, a position he later held at Burnley and Falkirk. While in Scotland he fell ill and returned home to Preston in the autumn of 1913, but a year later he died from cancer aged 49.

Jack Gordon (footballer, born 1863)

John Gordon, known as Jack Gordon, born Port Glasgow 1863 was a leading professional footballer of the 1880s and 1890s. Signed for Preston North End in 1884, Loughborough in 1895 and, finally Wigan County in 1897.

Jem Bayliss

Albert Edward James Matthias Bayliss (1 August 1863 – 19 August 1933), known as Jem Bayliss, was an English football player who played for West Bromwich Albion, as well as the English national side.

He captained the West Bromwich Albion side which won the 1888 FA Cup Final.He made his league debut on 8 September 1888, at wing-half for West Bromwich Albion in a 2–0 win against Stoke at the Victoria Ground, Stoke. He played all of the "Throstles"' 22 Football League matches and scored two goals in 1888-89. His debut League goal was scored on 22 September 1888 at Leamington Road, Blackburn, in a match that West Bromwich Albion lost to Blackburn Rovers 6-2. Bayliss also played as a forward in 1888–89.

Jimmy Forrest (footballer)

James Henry Forrest (24 June 1864 – 30 December 1925) was an English footballer whose career spanned the transition from amateurism to professionalism in English football in the 1880s and 1890s. He played most of his club career for Blackburn Rovers, whose early embracing of professionalism enabled them to become one of the major teams in English football, and with whom he appeared on the winning side in five FA Cup finals (a joint record). He was the first professional player to appear for England for whom he made eleven appearances, as a half-back.

Jimmy Ross (footballer, born 1866)

James Daniel Ross (28 March 1866 – 12 June 1902), nicknamed the "Little Demon", was a Scottish footballer of the Victorian era, younger brother of Nick Ross. Born in Edinburgh, in the beginning of his career he played for Edinburgh's St Bernard's F.C., but he came to prominence as part of the Preston North End team known as "The Invincibles", who won the Football League during its first and second seasons, the first one being a double of the league and the FA Cup.

Joe Wilson (footballer, born 1861)

Joseph James Wilson (8 January 1861 – 20 October 1952) was an English footballer who played at outside left. During his 15-year playing career he represented several teams from the West Midlands region, both as an amateur and a professional. He gained an FA Cup winners medal with West Bromwich Albion and was the scorer of the club's first ever goal in The Football League.

John Goodall

John Goodall (19 June 1863 – 20 May 1942) was a footballer who rose to fame as a centre forward for England and for Preston North End at the time of the development of the Football League, and also became Watford's first manager in 1903. He also played cricket in the County Championship for Derbyshire in 1895 and 1896, being one of 19 players to achieve the Derbyshire Double of playing cricket for Derbyshire and football for Derby County.

Johnny Graham (footballer, born 1857)

John Graham, known as Johnny Graham born in Ayr on 23 February 1857, was a leading professional footballer of the 1880s. He was a player for Preston North End from 1884 until 27 March 1890 when he retired because of an injury.

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