1915 FA Cup Final

The 1915 FA Cup Final took place on 24 April 1915 and was contested by Sheffield United and Chelsea. It was the last FA Cup final to be staged before competitive football was suspended in Britain because of the First World War. The match was moved from its pre-war location of Crystal Palace in south London to Old Trafford in Manchester to avoid disruption to travel in and around London.

The match is one of the few FA Cup Finals that has acquired a name; the Khaki Cup Final, owing to the large number of uniformed soldiers in attendance. However, the attendance of about 50,000 was lower than previous years as a result of wartime travel restriction and the mobilisation of large numbers of young men into the armed forces.

1915 FA Cup Final
Event1914–15 FA Cup
Sheffield United Chelsea
3 0
Date24 April 1915
VenueOld Trafford, Manchester
RefereeH. H. Taylor
Captain George Utley leads Sheffield United out for the 1915 FA Cup final.

Road to the Final

Chelsea had the easiest start in the FA Cup competition, their first round match was with Swindon Town, a Southern Football League team, but they made heavy work of it requiring a replay to defeat them and conceding 3 goals during the two matches. Their Cup performance improved considerably, and after defeating Arsenal (then a Second Division side) in the second round, they defeated several First Division sides who finished above them in the league table, including Everton who later went on to win the league that season.

Sheffield United defeated Blackpool, a second division side, in the first round and then made steady progress until round 4 where they met Oldham Athletic, who finished above them in the First Division that season, and they required a replay to finally defeat them. Sheffield United met Bolton Wanderers in the semi-final and Utley, the Blades' Captain, scored a rare goal.[1]

Sheffield United

Home teams listed first.

Round 1: Blackpool 1–2 Sheffield United

Masterman 2

Round 2: Sheffield United 1–0 Liverpool


Round 3: Sheffield United 1–0 Bradford

Kitchen during extra time

Round 4: Oldham Athletic 0–0 Sheffield United

after extra time

Replay: Sheffield United 3–0 Oldham Athletic

Kitchen 2, Fazackerly

Semi-final: Bolton Wanderers 1–2 Sheffield United

Simmons, Utley
(at Ewood Park)


Home teams listed first.

Round 1: Chelsea 1–1 Swindon Town


Replay: Chelsea 5–2 Swindon Town

Thomson 2, Ford 2 McNeil

Round 2: Chelsea 1–0 Arsenal


Round 3: Manchester City 0–1 Chelsea


Round 4: Chelsea 1–1 Newcastle


Replay: Newcastle 0–1 Chelsea


Semi-final: Everton 0–2 Chelsea

Croal, Halse
(at Villa Park)

Pre-match build-up

The favourites to win the match were Sheffield United. They had combined a successful FA Cup run with a strong league campaign where they finished 6th overall but only three points behind the League winners. Their defence was one of the best in the league but they had not managed to score many goals.

Chelsea were statistically the weaker side, whilst they had scored more goals than Sheffield United in the league, their defence was poor and they had conceded many more and lay in the relegation zone. They had however beaten several strong clubs away from home during the FA Cup competition and the programme noted that the underdogs had won on six occasions in the previous ten years.[1]

Chelsea also had injury problems: Bob Thomson, their leading goal scorer that season, had been injured in a league game at Bolton Wanderers ten days earlier and was doubtful. Vivian Woodward an amateur and England international who played for Chelsea in peacetime but was currently serving in the British Army, had been given leave to play in the final. However Woodward sportingly insisted that as Thomson had helped the club reach the final, he ought to play in it. There was bad news when Thomson suffered an eye injury, but he played.

Match programme

The official match programme was produced by Manchester United and is available on-line here. A special version was printed on silk for presentation to the players and officials.[2]

The programme showed that both teams played a 2–3–5 formation and the Chelsea teamsheet listed Vivian Woodward and Laurence Abrams in addition to those who played in the match. Neither played in the match.

Match summary

As the score line suggests, the match was very much a one-sided affair. Chelsea adopted a gentlemanly "Drawing Room" style of play with attacks made up of zig-zag passes. These were broken up by an alert and cooperative Sheffield United defence.[3] The Sheffield United forwards, with their superior tactics, pace and fitness, had the run of the Chelsea half and only the excellent performance of Molyneux, in goal for Chelsea, saved them from further embarrassment. Contemporary reports[3] singled out Brelsford, Simmons and Utley of Sheffield United for their quality of their performances during the match and Logan, who made some unsuccessful attacks for Chelsea during the second half.

The first goal was scored by Simmons just before half-time. A ball in from the left hand side crossed over the Chelsea backs and Simmons, racing in from the right half, half-volleyed it into the top of the net. Some sources[4] suggest that Molyneux should have stopped this goal but others[3] state that he was let down by his defence in all three goals. Chelsea had their best chances just before half-time when they had two shots saved by Gough in the Blades' goal.

At some point Chelsea woes were added to when Harry Ford on the right wing was injured.[2]

Play was muted at the start of the second half as a thick fog descended over the pitch, preventing spectators from seeing any action on the opposite side of the pitch, though The Times[5] commented that they were not missing much. The final two goals were scored in the last ten minutes. A shot from Wally Masterman rebounded from the bar but Fazackerly headed it past the Chelsea keeper for United's second. Directly after this goal Joe Kitchen picked the ball up just inside the Chelsea half and passed two defenders. Molyneaux emerged from the Chelsea goal but Kitchen dodged him and placed the ball in the open net. At this point, before the final whistle, large numbers of the spectators began to leave.

The crowd included many men in uniform but a much larger contingent who, the Manchester Guardian commented, should have been in uniform. A number of wounded soldiers, one missing an arm, watched the match from lower stand.[3]

The cup was awarded by the Earl of Derby whose speech, largely drowned out by a noisy crowd of young supporters, noted that all present needed to join together and play "a sterner game for England".[3]

The Irwell Old Prize band provided the half time entertainment, playing a selection of tunes from around the British Isles. A collection was made during the match on behalf of the British Red Cross.[1]

Match details

Sheffield United3–0Chelsea
Simmons Goal 36'
Fazackerley Goal 84'
Kitchen Goal 88'
Sheffield United
GK 1 Harold Gough
FB 2 Billy Cook
FB 3 Jack English
HB 4 Albert Sturgess
CH 5 Bill Brelsford
HB 6 George Utley (c)
OF 7 Jimmy Simmons
IF 8 Stanley Fazackerley
CF 9 Joseph Kitchen
IF 10 Wally Masterman
OF 11 Bob Evans
John Nicholson
GK 1 Jim Molyneux
FB 2 Walter Bettridge
FB 3 Jack Harrow (c)
HB 4 Fred Taylor
CH 5 Tommy Logan
HB 6 Andy Walker
OF 7 Harry Ford
IF 8 Harold Halse
CF 9 Bob Thomson
IF 10 Jimmy Croal
OF 11 Bob McNeil
David Calderhead
  • 90 minutes.
  • 30 minutes of extra-time if necessary.
  • Replay if scores still level.
  • No substitutes


In July 1915, the Football League put all players on amateur status and clubs were only allowed to pay expenses. Attendances at matches collapsed and as fuel for transport became scarce the national league was abandoned and football teams played in regional leagues with whatever players they could find.[2] Chelsea often played with players from other sides who passed through London whilst on active service, including Stanley Fazackerley.[2]

Sheffield United held the FA Cup until it was contested again in 1920. They reached the final and won the cup again in 1925.

Chelsea did not reach the final again until 1967 and finally won it in 1970 at Old Trafford in a replay 55 years later.


  1. ^ a b c Unknown (1915). Cup Final Programme.
  2. ^ a b c d Glanvill, Rick (2006). Chelsea FC: The Official Biography – The Definitive Story of the First 100 Years. Headline Book Publishing Ltd. p. 182. ISBN 0-7553-1466-2.
  3. ^ a b c d e "The Cup Final". Manchester Guardian. 26 April 1915. p. 9.
  4. ^ "fa-cupfinals.co.uk". fa-cupfinals.co.uk. Archived from the original on 27 December 2007. Retrieved 28 January 2008.
  5. ^ "The Cup Final". The Times. 26 April 1915.

External links

Bob McNeil

Robert McNeil (from Springburn, Glasgow) was a Scottish footballer who played both North and South of the border. In Scotland for Hamilton Academical and in England for Chelsea. He was a neat outside left who dribbled well and had an accurate shot.

Chelsea F.C.

Chelsea Football Club is a professional football club in Fulham, London, England, that competes in the Premier League, the highest tier of English football. The club has won six top division titles, eight FA Cups, five League Cups, four FA Community Shields, two UEFA Europa Leagues, two UEFA Cup Winners' Cups, two Full Members' Cups, one UEFA Champions League, and one UEFA Super Cup.

Founded in 1905, the club's home ground since then has been Stamford Bridge. Chelsea won its only First Division title in 1955, but saw limited success in various cup competitions until 2003, when the club was purchased by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich. Chelsea then saw heavy investment, and have since won 18 honours under Abramovich.José Mourinho is the club's most successful manager in terms of the number of major honours won, and his title-winning team set an English record for points between 2004 and 2005. Chelsea have traditionally worn a royal blue kit with white socks, and the club's crest features a ceremonial lion rampant regardant holding a staff. The club have rivalries with neighbouring teams Fulham, Arsenal, and Tottenham Hotspur.

In terms of club value, Chelsea are the seventh most valuable football club in the world, worth £1.54 billion ($2.06 billion), and are the eighth highest-earning football club in the world, with earnings of over €428 million in the 2017–18 season. Based on attendance figures, the club have the sixth-largest fanbase in England.

Fred Taylor (footballer, born 1884)

Fred Taylor (3 January 1884 – 1954) was an English footballer who played in the Football League for Chelsea, Gainsborough Trinity and Rochdale. He was a reliable right half-back who worked hard and liked to move up the field during attacks. He made one appearance for the Football League XI.

George Utley

George Utley (born 16 May 1887 in Elsecar; died 8 January 1966 in Blackpool) was an English footballer who played for Barnsley, Sheffield United and England. He was strong and powerful half back who could shoot at goal when required.Utley was born in Reform Row, Elsecar, which lies south of Barnsley. He was the 11th and final child of James and Mary Utley. His father was an engine tender at a colliery and his brothers worked in the local coal mines and foundries.

Harry Ford (footballer, born 1893)

Henry Thomas Ford (1893–1963) was an English professional football outside right who made over 240 appearances in the Football League for Chelsea.

History of Sheffield United F.C.

The history of Sheffield United F.C. is an article covering the complete history of an English football club based in Sheffield, England

Jim Molyneux

Jim Molyneux (born in Port Sunlight) was an English footballer who played for Stockport County and Chelsea. He was a capable goalkeeper and popular with the Stamford Bridge crowd. Though not prone to theatrical displays like some keepers he did take risks.

Jimmy Croal

James Anderson Croal (27 July 1885 – 16 September 1939) was a Scottish footballer, who played for Falkirk, Rangers, Chelsea and Scotland. He was judged to be a clever inside left who when paired with Bob McNeil was very effective.

List of Sheffield United F.C. records and statistics

This article lists honours and records associated with Sheffield United F.C..

Old Trafford

Old Trafford () is a football stadium in Old Trafford, Greater Manchester, England, and the home of Manchester United. With a capacity of 74,994, it is the largest club football stadium (and second largest football stadium overall after Wembley Stadium) in the United Kingdom, and the eleventh-largest in Europe. It is about 0.5 miles (800 m) from Old Trafford Cricket Ground and the adjacent tram stop.

Nicknamed "The Theatre of Dreams" by Bobby Charlton, Old Trafford has been United's home ground since 1910, although from 1941 to 1949 the club shared Maine Road with local rivals Manchester City as a result of Second World War bomb damage. Old Trafford underwent several expansions in the 1990s, and 2000s, including the addition of extra tiers to the North, West and East Stands, almost returning the stadium to its original capacity of 80,000. Future expansion is likely to involve the addition of a second tier to the South Stand, which would raise the capacity to around 88,000. The stadium's record attendance was recorded in 1939, when 76,962 spectators watched the FA Cup semi-final between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Grimsby Town.

Old Trafford has hosted FA Cup semi-finals, England fixtures, matches at the 1966 World Cup and Euro 96 and the 2003 Champions League Final, as well as rugby league's annual Super League Grand Final and the final of two Rugby League World Cups. It also hosted football matches at the 2012 Summer Olympics, including women's international football for the first time in its history.

Sheffield United F.C.

Sheffield United Football Club is a professional association football club based in the city of Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England. The team compete in the Premier League, the highest tier of English football. The football club was formed in 1889 as an offshoot of Sheffield United Cricket Club, and are nicknamed The Blades due to Sheffield's history of steel production. The club have played their home games at Bramall Lane since their formation in 1889. Bramall Lane is an all-seater ground with a capacity of 32,609.

Sheffield United won the original Football League in 1898 and the FA Cup in 1899, 1902, 1915 and 1925. They were beaten finalists in the FA Cup in 1901 and 1936, and reached the semi-finals in 1961, 1993, 1998, 2003 and 2014. They reached the semi-finals of the League Cup in 2003 and 2015.

For most of the club's history they have played in red and white striped shirts with black shorts. Their closest rivals are Sheffield Wednesday, with whom they contest the Steel City derby.

Tommy Logan

Thomas Logan (17 August 1888 – 21 June 1962) was a Scottish footballer, who played for Falkirk and Chelsea.

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