The FA launched its FA150 programme back in January with a star-studded event live on television direct from the Grand Connaught Rooms in central London.
It was that exact site, formerly the Freemason's Tavern, where it all began back on 26 October 1863. [Read more about the founding of The FA here]
Video contributions came from around the world – including Pep Guardiola, Jose Mourinho, Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger and David Beckham.
Meanwhile while former England managers Graham Taylor, Terry Venables, Glenn Hoddle, Sven-Goran Eriksson and Fabio Capello were present to hear General Secretary Alex Horne and then Chairman David Bernstein set out the year ahead.
The packed FA150 calendar included:
- The inaugural FA England Awards
- The UEFA Champions League Finals and UEFA Congress in London
- The loaning of the original FA minute book to the British Library
- A Gala Dinner at the Grand Connaught Rooms on 26 October
Every England match was an event, with fantastic fixtures filling Wembley and reaffirming the historic feel to the year – not least a 3-2 defeat of Scotland in August.
The FA Cup saw a fairytale finish that further evoked thoughts of yesteryear, thanks to Wigan Athletic’s success against the might of Manchester City.
While reminding of The FA’s work as a modern, progressive governing body which promotes diversity and inclusion, much of the year’s focus was in looking back. Great names of the past were celebrated with a special London Underground map marking our shared 150th anniversaries while the Royal Mail produced a special Football Heroes stamp collection.
A successful global search for descendants of The FA’s Founding Fathers led to a special ceremony at Wembley bringing together relatives from as far afield as New Zealand and the United States. Ebenezer Morley, Charles Alcock and Arthur Pember and others were rightly put front and centre as their incredible contributions to the global game were recognised.
Our President, HRH The Duke of Cambridge, fully embraced the celebrations in October and arranged for the first-ever match in the gardens at Buckingham Palace in front of 150 Grassroots Heroes. Each one of those special games-makers was also honoured with a special medal to commemorate their achievement in supporting football.
At the start of the new season in August, we showcased the breadth of the game through our inaugural Sir Bobby Robson National Football Day. We held 150 national events to celebrate the power of football within local communities and in particular the 400,000 volunteers who so tirelessly give their time to support football up and down the country.
We marked 20 years since we took over the running of the women’s game including the launch of a new five-year strategy that embraced a bigger Women’s Super League and successfully hosted the UEFA Women’s U17 Championship. Rachel Yankey rightly took the plaudits as her 126th appearance made her the most capped England player.
Wembley celebrated its 90th birthday in April with perhaps the new stadium’s busiest calendar yet - including a huge community event for 5,000 local residents in April alongside summer headline-makers like the Killers, Robbie Williams and Bruce Springsteen.
December saw a celebrity match at the Stadium featuring Olly Murs and Nick Grimshaw, while an Ode to Football was specially commissioned to capture what is so special about the national game. FA150 ambassador Michael Owen also took the organisation’s best wishes to meet the troops on an impromptu end of year trip with the Prime Minister to Afghanistan.
Our national football centre St. George's Park was thriving one year on from its opening, with a regular buzz about the place as the game continues to come together to learn and develop. This was underlined by the informative Licensed Coaches’ Club Conference as 2013 drew to a close.
We said goodbye to David Bernstein and hello to Greg Dyke as the new FA Chairman and congratulated FA Vice Chairman David Gill on his election to the UEFA Executive Committee, as The FA continued to foster its important relationships at home and abroad.
By year’s end we had raised more than £300,000 for our official charity partner Teenage Cancer Trust with staff taking part in a whole range of activities, from sky diving to bike riding to marathons to cake baking – an amazing effort all round.
It was also a successful year for The FA National Youth Council, click here to see some of the stats of successes they enjoyed in 2013.
And last, but by no means least, England’s men senior team qualified for the World Cup in Brazil. Roy Hodgson’s team did brilliantly to top their group with some new players coming to the fore alongside the new century-cap club members Ashley Cole, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard. Meanwhile the men’s Under-21s and women’s seniors were set fair for their ongoing qualifying campaign.
Let’s hope for more in 2014.
You can watch our special FATV review of the year below
The FA150 Review of 2013