Wanderers won the first ever FA Cup Final on 16 March 1872

Monday 16 Mar 2020
The original FA Cup, used from 1872 to 1895, was first lifted by Wanderers at the Oval
The historic first FA Cup Final took place on this day 148 years ago. 

Wanderers beat Royal Engineers at Kennington Oval in London before a largely middle-class crowd of 2000 who each paid a shilling to watch.

Wanderers 1-0 Royal Engineers
  • The FA Cup Final
  • 3.05pm, Saturday 16 March 1872
  • Kennington Oval, London

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 half-way line. 

The teams would change ends after every goal. Wanderers gained the first of their five successes in the FA Cup but it was only by a single goal scored by a certain Morton Peto Betts, mysteriously playing under the pseudonym ‘A.H. Chequer’. 

Wanderers had the pick of all the best players who had been at the public schools and universities, yet it was the Royal Engineers from Chatham who took the field as favourites to win that first Final. 

In truth, Royal Engineers were unfortunate to have Lieutenant Cresswell break his collar-bone after just ten minutes. It was the first recorded accident in football but the injured player manfully ‘stayed at his post’. 


Charles Alcock

Charles Alcock was captain of Wanderers

Once Betts had opened the scoring from an acute angle after Vidal's long dribble on 15 minutes, the Engineers did well to keep the margin down to one goal.

Wanderers, captained by Charles Alcock, had six future internationals in their side who included Thomas Hooman of Charterhouse and Robert Vidal, 'the prince of dribblers' from Westminster. 

Alcock was the FA secretary and he had been the one to table the resolution to start a Cup competition that he believed would fire interest in the game of football. 

The Teams 

Wanderers: R. de C. Welch; C.W. Alcock, M.P. Betts, A.G. Bonsor, E.E. Bowen, W.P. Crake; T.C. Hooman, E. Lubbock, A.C. Thompson, R.W.S. Vidal, C.H.R. Wollaston 

Goal: Betts 

Royal Engineers: Capt. Marindin; Capt. Merriman, Lieut. Addison; Lieut. Cresswell, Lieut. Mitchell, Lieut. Renny-Tailyour; Lieut. Rich, Lieut. Goodwyn, Lieut. Muirhead, Lieut. Cotter, Lieut. Bogle. 

Referee: A. Stair (Upton Park)

By Nicholas Veevers