The FA Charity Shield, as it was formerly known, was first played for in 1908. It evolved from the “Sheriff of London Shield” fixture that had been played annually between a leading professional club and a leading amateur club.
In 1904, for example, famous amateurs Corinthians (as in “the Corinthian spirit”) took on FA Cup holders Bury…and beat them 10-3!
Manchester United, who had just become Football League champions for the first time, beat Southern League champions Queens Park Rangers to win the first-ever Shield fixture. United won 4-0 after a 1-1 draw, with both matches being played at Stamford Bridge, and no Shield match has ever been replayed since then.
In 1974 FA Secretary Ted Croker proposed that “The FA Charity Shield” (its name from 1908 until 2002) should be played at Wembley as a curtain-raiser to the new season. The match would feature the reigning League champions and FA Cup holders.
Prior to 1974, with the Shield a less prestigious fixture, the match was played at various club grounds and often involved teams who had won nothing at all.
The Shield has become one of the domestic season’s most important occasions and a crowd of 63,317 saw Arsenal beat Manchester United at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium in August 2004. The match was broadcast right across the globe, with a potential worldwide TV audience of 270 million.
While Wembley acted as host, from 1974 to 2000, well over £5m was distributed to charities by The FA, most of them nominated by the competing clubs.
The Shield is presented in partnership with The FA's Community partner McDonald's following previous sponsors One2One, AXA, Littlewoods and General Motors.
In 2012, The Shield was moved away from Wembley for one year and played at Villa Park in Birmingham. This was due to the use of Wembley during the London 2012 Olympic Games.
- The highest-scoring Shield match took place in 1911 when Manchester United beat Swindon Town 8-4. In the following year, some of the Shield proceeds were donated to the Lord Mayor of London’s “Titanic” disaster fund.
- Neither team involved in the Shield match in 1950 was a club side. A “World Cup Team” comprising players from the England squad for the World Cup in Brazil defeated a “Canadian Touring Team” comprising players from an FA party that had toured Canada in the same year – 4-2 at Stamford Bridge.
- In 1967 Tottenham goalkeeper Pat Jennings scored a goal from his own penalty area against Manchester United at Old Trafford. Alex Stepney was the embarrassed ‘keeper at the other end and the match finished 3-3.
- The Shield was taken to Wembley in 1974 and 67,000 saw Liverpool beat Leeds 6-5 on penalties after a 1-1 draw. On a hot afternoon when tempers became frayed, Billy Bremner and Kevin Keegan were sent off.
- In the 1980s and early ‘90s the Shield was shared by the competing clubs for six months each when the match was drawn after ninety minutes. The penalty shoot-out was re-introduced in 1993.
- Leeds and Liverpool played a seven-goal thriller in 1992. A rampant Eric Cantona netted a hat-trick for Leeds but was destined to become a Manchester United player during the season that followed.
- Manchester United appeared in no fewer than seven Shield matches in the 1990s – winning four, drawing one and losing two. In 2003 they featured in their 22nd Shield match overall.