Ahead of the 2022 Emirates FA Cup Final, the world’s most popular domestic cup competition has announced plans to celebrate its 150th anniversary by bringing together a notable figure from each decade of the competition from the 1870s through to the 2020s.
The representatives showcase the enduring values of the competition, and are made up of the Cup's founder relatives, record breakers, legendary goalscorers, upset kings and commentary royalty.
Each representative will be a special guest of the FA for this weekend’s Final between Liverpool and Chelsea, and they will all be recognised and presented to the fans at half time. This will include Chelsea icon Gianfranco Zola, and the granddaughter of legendary Liverpool manager Bill Shankly.
Ahead of the Final, a selection of the representatives gathered at Wembley Stadium to share stories and memories from their association with the competition. They included the great-great-grandnephew of competition’s founder, Charles W. Alcock, last season’s winning club captain Wes Morgan and broadcasting legend John Motson, who commentated on 29 Finals.
Ben Watson, scorer of Wigan Athletic’s famous winner in the 2013 Final, Woking’s giant killing hat-trick hero Tim Buzaglo and Elizabeth Robledo, the daughter of George Robledo, the first South American player to play in the Final and win the competition, were also present at Wembley.
They were joined by the son of Stan Cullis, who remains the youngest manager to win the competition, and the great grandson of John Cameron, who guided Tottenham Hotspur to victory in the 1901 Final, and became the only club outside the English Football League to win the competition.
More notable figures will be attending the Final on Saturday, with all 16 decades of the competition to be recognised and celebrated during the half-time presentation.
Commenting on the celebrations, John Motson, said: “The world will wake up on Saturday morning and millions will turn on their televisions for finals day. It’s watched in countries all over the world who admire the history and the heritage of the competition. The FA Cup helped to put me on the map as a commentator and I feel very privileged to have been involved with it from that day.”
Johannes Gunnell, great-great-grandnephew of the competition’s founder, Charles W. Alcock, added: “I feel honoured to be representing my great-great-grand uncle Charles W. Alcock - the history behind the FA Cup is magical, and to see it still flourishing today is truly special. With so many iconic and standout moments in years gone by, it's spectacular to spend the time looking back and appreciating where it has all come from. Here's to the next 150.”
Andy Ambler, director of professional game relations at the FA, commented: “As we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the world’s oldest domestic cup competition, it’s amazing to look back at the rich history and inspiring memories that it has forged into the hearts and minds of fans and players all over the world.
"With so many incredible stories and magical moments, bringing this incredible group together in recognition of its 150 years of collective history epitomises what the competition is all about.”