The FA Cup is a competition that has gathered fans from all over the world despite only ever being competed by British teams. It often throws up some of the most heartwarming and most dramatic stories in the football calendar each season.
Any big Premier League side that is deemed to have not taken the FA Cup seriously is immediately ridiculed. It’s a tournament that demands the attention and admiration of fans and the third round of the 2022/23 edition is almost upon us.
The FA Cup has been running since the 1800s, so who was the first team to ever get their hands on the famous silver trophy?
Funnily enough, the team that won the very first FA Cup does not actually exist anymore and hasn’t existed for a very long time.
The first edition of the FA Cup was played way back in 1872 and it was won by a team called Wanderers Football Club. They’d been founded in 1859 as Forest FC but they dissolved in 1887. They were founded in Leytonstone which is an area of east London.
Wanderers actually won the FA Cup five times in its early years but the team’s fortunes then swiftly declined as other clubs came into existence that were linked to major schools and players decided to play for their old school teams instead, meaning Wanderers struggled to raise enough numbers to be competitive.
In the very first final, Wanderers beat Royal Engineers at the Kennington Oval in London. There were around 2,000 fans in the stadium who had each paid a shilling to watch the game. At the time, football matches were played without crossbars or goal nets. There were no free kicks or penalties and the pitch markings did not include a centre circle or a halfway line.
The teams also changed ends after every goal went in. The first final ended Wanderers 1-0 Royal Engineers. The favourites to win the game were actually the Engineers; they saw Lieutenant Cresswell break his collarbone after just 10 minutes but he still ‘stayed at his post’.
The third round of the 2022/23 edition of the FA Cup gets underway at Old Trafford on Friday night as Manchester United take on Everton. The biggest fixture of the round sees Manchester City welcome Chelsea to the Etihad, meaning one of the big hitters will be knocked out early.
Both Stockport County and Walsall have got a great chance of getting into the fourth round as they face each other, while in-form Brighton and Hove Albion will be away at Michael Carrick’s Middlesbrough who have hit some great form under their new coach and could provide something of a shock.
Liverpool will try to stop the rot by beating Wolves at Anfield, although Wolves do look much better under Julen Lopetegui. As for Arsenal, they will play on Monday night away at Oxford United where they will want to avoid any nasty surprises.