Victorian Football

Aston Villa with the original FA Cup, 1887Aston Villa with the original FA Cup, 1887

The original Football Association Challenge Cup trophy was first presented to the man who had commissioned it, Wanderers captain and FA secretary CW Alcock. It was handed to Alcock at a presentation dinner held at the Pall Mall Restaurant four weeks after his team had defeated Royal Engineers in the first ever final, in 1872.

FA Cup rules initially stated that any club that won the tournament three times would be awarded the trophy outright. Wanderers chalked up their third FA Cup final win in 1876, but Alcock decided to change the rules and hand the trophy back to the FA.

Known as the ‘Little Tin Idol’, it continued to be presented to winning clubs (including Oxford University, Royal Engineers, Old Etonians, Clapham Rovers, Old Carthusians, Blackburn Olympic, Blackburn Rovers, West Brom, Preston, Wolves, Notts County, and the Wednesday) until 1895. Then, while in the custody of holders Aston Villa, it was stolen from a Birmingham football outfitter's shop window and melted down to make counterfeit coins.

Villa were ordered to pay £25 for a replacement cup, which was used from 1896 through to 1910. The replacement cup, which was last won by Newcastle United in 1910, and subsequently presented as a gift to FA president Arthur Kinnaird, is now owned by West Ham co-chairman David Gold, and on display at the National Football Museum.


The first recorded FA Cup goal was scored on 11 November 1871 by Jarvis Kenrick of Clapham Rovers in a 3-0 away win at Upton Park’s West Ham Park ground. Kenrick actually scored twice in the match, played two days before his 19th birthday. A crowd of around 1,500 saw the feat. Clapham, formed in 1869, would go on to win the FA Cup in 1880. But, in its first season, they lost to Wanderers in the second round. Kenrick, also a cricketer who played for Surrey CCC, later joined Wanderers, and won the FA Cup twice with his new club, in 1877 and 1878. He scored two goals in the 1878 final. Despite his goalscoring prowess, Kenrick never played for England.


This is an edited extract from The Victorian Football Miscellany, available now from all good book shops.

The Victorian Football Miscellany

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  • Keith Pott Turner

    21 June 2016 at 8:18 pm

    This is a very interesting extract from Paul Browns book. I have links to a brave Victorian England footballer called Percival Chase Parr who played in goal in the 1880 F.A. final and who features in a family history book called TURNER TREES by Keith Pott Turner available at online book stores and Kindle, it also includes the brilliant Arthur Turner who won an Olympic gold medal in 1900 playing for Upton Park, there is some information concerning Chris Turner and Jeff Astle about the dangers of heading too many footballs, which can cause frontal lobe dementia and should be read by anyone who plays football.

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