The FA Cup, known officially as The Football Association Challenge Cup, is an annual knockout association football competition in mens domestic English football. First played during the 1871–72 season, it is the oldest association football competition in the world and it is organised by and named after The Football Association. For sponsorship reasons, from 2015 through to 2018 it is known as The Emirates FA Cup. A concurrent womens tournament is held, the FA Womens Cup. A record 763 clubs competed in 2011–12, the tournament consists of 12 randomly drawn rounds followed by the semi-finals and the final. The last entrants are the Premier League and Championship clubs, into the draw for the Third Round Proper, in the modern era, only one non-league team has ever reached the quarter finals, and teams below Level 2 have never reached the final. As a result, as well as who wins, significant focus is given to those minnows who progress furthest, especially if they achieve an unlikely giant-killing victory. Winners receive the FA Cup trophy, of which there have two designs and five actual cups, the latest is a 2014 replica of the second design. Winners also qualify for European football and a place in the FA Community Shield match, in 1863, the newly founded Football Association published the Laws of the Game of Association Football, unifying the various different rules in use before then. On 20 July 1871, in the offices of The Sportsman newspaper, the inaugural FA Cup tournament kicked off in November 1871. After thirteen games in all, Wanderers were crowned the winners in the final, Wanderers retained the trophy the following year. The modern cup was beginning to be established by the 1888–89 season, following the 1914–15 edition, the competition was suspended due to the First World War, and did not resume until 1919–20. The 1922–23 competition saw the first final to be played in the newly opened Wembley Stadium, due to the outbreak of World War II, the competition was not played between the 1938–39 and 1945–46 editions. Having previously featured replays, the modern day practice of ensuring the semi-final and final matches finish on the day, was introduced from 2000 onwards. Redevelopment of Wembley saw the final played outside of England for the first time, the final returned to Wembley in 2007, followed by the semi-finals from 2008. The competition is open to any club down to Level 10 of the English football league system which meets the eligibility criteria, all clubs in the top four levels are automatically eligible. Clubs in the six levels are also eligible provided they have played in either the FA Cup. Newly formed clubs, such as F. C. United of Manchester in 2005–06 and also 2006–07, all clubs entering the competition must also have a suitable stadium
Kit (association football)
In association football, kit is the standard equipment and attire worn by players. The sports Laws of the Game specify the minimum kit which a player must use, footballers generally wear identifying numbers on the backs of their shirts. Professional clubs also usually display players surnames or nicknames on their shirts, Football kit has evolved significantly since the early days of the sport when players typically wore thick cotton shirts, knickerbockers and heavy rigid leather boots. The Laws of the Game set out the equipment which must be worn by all players in Law 4. Five separate items are specified, shirt, shorts, socks, footwear, goalkeepers are allowed to wear tracksuit bottoms instead of shorts. While most players wear studded football boots, the Laws do not specify that these are required, shirts must have sleeves, and goalkeepers must wear shirts which are easily distinguishable from all other players and the match officials. Thermal undershorts may be worn, but must be the colour as the shorts themselves. Shin pads must be covered entirely by the stockings, be made of rubber, plastic or a similar material, and provide a reasonable degree of protection. The only other restriction on equipment defined in the Laws of the Game is the requirement that a player must not use equipment or wear anything that is dangerous to himself or another player. In the event of a match between teams who would wear identical or similar colours the away team must change to a different colour. The England national team plays in red shirts even when it is not required. Many professional clubs also have a kit, ostensibly to be used if both their first-choice and away colours are deemed too similar to those of an opponent. Most professional clubs have retained the basic colour scheme for several decades. Teams representing countries in international competition generally wear national colours in common with other sporting teams of the same nation, shirts are normally made of a polyester mesh, which does not trap the sweat and body heat in the same way as a shirt made of a natural fibre. Depending on local rules, there may be restrictions on how large these logos may be or on what logos may be displayed, competitions such as the Premier League may also require players to wear patches on their sleeves depicting the logo of the competition. The captain of team is usually required to wear an elasticated armband around the left sleeve to identify him as the captain to the referee. Most current players wear specialist football boots, which can be either of leather or a synthetic material. Modern boots are cut slightly below the ankles, as opposed to the high-ankled boots used in former times, studs may be either moulded directly to the sole or be detachable, normally by means of a screw thread
English Football League
The English Football League is a league competition featuring professional football clubs from England and Wales. Founded in 1888 as the Football League, the league is the oldest such competition in world football and it was the top-level football league in England from its foundation in the 19th century until 1992, when the top 22 clubs split away to form the Premier League. The league has 72 clubs evenly divided into three divisions, which are known as the Championship, League One and League Two, with 24 clubs in each division, the Football League has been associated with a title sponsor between 1983 and 2016. As this sponsor changed over the years the league too has been known by various names, the English Football League is also the name of the governing body of the league competition, and this body also organises two knock-out cup competitions, the EFL Cup and the EFL Trophy. The operations centre of the Football League is in Preston, while its commercial office is in London, the commercial office was formerly based in Lytham St Annes, after its original spell in Preston. The Football League consists of 70 professional association football clubs in England and 2 in Wales and it runs the oldest professional football league competition in the world. It also organises two knockout cup competitions, the Football League Cup and Football League Trophy, the Football League was founded in 1888 by then Aston Villa director William McGregor, originally with 12 member clubs. Steady growth and the addition of more divisions meant that by 1950 the League had 92 clubs, the Football League therefore no longer includes the top 20 clubs who belong to this group, although promotion and relegation between the Football League and the Premier League continues. In total,136 teams have played in the Football League up to 2013, the Football Leagues 72 member clubs are grouped into three divisions, the Football League Championship, Football League One, and Football League Two. Each division has 24 clubs, and in any season a club plays each of the others in the same division twice, once at their home stadium. This makes for a total of 46 games played each season, clubs gain three points for a win, one for a draw, and none for a defeat. At the end of the season, clubs at the top of their division may win promotion to the higher division. At the top end of the competition, three Championship clubs win promotion from the Football League to the Premier League, with the bottom three Premier League clubs taking their places, reserve teams of Football League clubs usually play in the Central League or the Football Combination. Since the 2004–05 season, penalties have existed for clubs entering financial administration during the season and it is also required that a club exiting administration agree a Creditors Voluntary Agreement, and pay in full any other footballing creditors. Failure to do either of these result in a second. The other main situation in which is a club may lose points is by fielding an improperly registered or otherwise ineligible player. If a club is found to have done this, then any points earned from any match that player participated in will be deducted, the EFL organises two knock-out cup competitions, the EFL Cup and the EFL Trophy. The EFL Cup was established in 1960 and is open to all EFL and Premier League clubs, the EFL Trophy is for clubs belonging to EFL League One and EFL League Two
Fulham Football Club is a professional association football club based in Fulham, Greater London, England. Founded in 1879, they play in the Championship, the tier of English football. They are the football team from London to have played in the Premier League. The club has spent 25 seasons in English footballs top division, the latter spell was associated with former chairman Mohamed Al-Fayed, after the club had climbed up from the fourth tier in the 1990s. The club has produced many English greats, including Johnny Haynes, George Cohen, Bobby Robson, Rodney Marsh and they play at Craven Cottage, a ground on the banks of the River Thames in Fulham which has been their home since 1896. Fulhams training ground is located near Motspur Park, where the clubs Academy is also situated, Fulham were formed in 1879 as Fulham St Andrews Church Sunday School F. C. founded by worshipers at the Church of England on Star Road, West Kensington. Fulhams mother church still today with a plaque commemorating the teams foundation. They won the West London Amateur Cup in 1887 and, having shortened the name from Fulham Excelsior to its present form in 1888, one of the clubs first ever kits was half red, half white shirts with white shorts worn in the 1886–87 season. Fulham started playing at their current ground at Craven Cottage in 1896, the club gained professional status on 12 December 1898, the same year that they were admitted into the Southern Leagues Second Division. They were the club from London to turn professional, following Arsenal. They adopted a red and white kit during the 1900–01 season, in 1902–03, the club won promotion from this division, entering the Southern League First Division. The club won the Southern League twice, in 1905–06 and 1906–07, Fulham joined The Football League after the second of their Southern League triumphs. The clubs first league game, playing in the Second Divisions 1907–08 season, the first win came a few days later at Derby Countys Baseball Ground by a score line of 1–0. Fulham finished the three points short of promotion in fourth place. The club progressed all the way to the semi-final of that seasons FA Cup, in the semi-final, however, they were heavily beaten, 6–0, by Newcastle United. This is still a loss for an FA Cup semi-final game. Two years later, the won the London Challenge Cup in the 1909–10 season. Fulhams first season in Division Two turned out to be the highest that the club would finish for 21 years, until in 1927–28 when the club were relegated to the 3rd Division South, created in 1920
Reading Football Club is a professional association football club based in Reading, Berkshire, England. The team play in the Championship, the tier of English football. The club played at Elm Park for 102 years between 1896 and 1998, in 1998 the club moved to the new Madejski Stadium, which is named after the clubs co-chairman Sir John Madejski. Reading then finished eighth in the 2006–07 Premier League, their first ever season as a top flight club, Reading were formed on 25 December 1871, following a public meeting at the Bridge Street Rooms organised by the future club secretary Joseph Edward Sydenham. The early matches were played at Reading Recreation Ground, and later the club held fixtures at Reading Cricket Ground, Coley Park and Caversham Cricket Ground. The switch to professionalism in 1895 resulted in the need for a ground and, to this end. In 1913, Reading had a tour of Italy, prompting the leading sports newspaper Corriere della Sera to write without doubt. Reading were elected to the Football League Third Division South of the Football League in 1920, Reading lost their place in Division Two in May 1931, and remained in Third Division South until the outbreak of World War II. When League football resumed after the war, Reading quickly came to prominence once again, the sides moment of cup glory came in 1988 when they won the Simod Cup, beating a number of top flight sides en route to their Wembley win over Luton Town. Reading were promoted to the Second Division as champions in 1986 under the management of Ian Branfoot, the appointment of Mark McGhee as player-manager, shortly after the takeover by John Madejski, in 1991 saw Reading move forward. They were crowned champions of the new Division Two in 1994, in 1995, Reading had eased past Tranmere Rovers in the play-off semi-finals and looked to have booked their place in the Premier League only to lose against Bolton Wanderers in the final. Quinn and Goodings contracts were not renewed two years later after Reading had slid into the half of Division One. Their successor, Terry Bullivant, lasted less than one season before being sacked in March 1998, the year 1998 also saw Reading move into the new 24,200 all-seater Madejski Stadium, named after Chairman John Madejski. Tommy Burns had taken over from Terry Bullivant but lasted just 18 months before being replaced by Alan Pardew, the club finished third in 2000–01 qualifying for the play-offs, losing 2–3 in the final against Walsall at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. Reading returned to Division One for 2002–03 after finishing runners-up in Division Two, the following season, they finished fourth in Division One and qualified for the play-offs, where they lost in the semi-final to Wolverhampton Wanderers. Alan Pardew moved to West Ham United the following October and was replaced by Steve Coppell, Reading won the 2005–06 Championship with a league record 106 points, scoring 99 goals and losing only twice. Reading were promoted to English footballs top division for the first time in their history, the 2006–07 season saw Reading make their first appearance in the top flight of English football. Reading defied pre-season predictions of relegation to finish the season in place with 55 points
Crystal Palace F.C.
Crystal Palace Football Club is a professional football club based in South Norwood, London, that plays in the Premier League, the top tier of English football. The club was founded in 1905 at the famous Crystal Palace Exhibition building by the owners of the FA Cup Final stadium which was situated inside the historic Palace grounds. The club played their games at the Cup Final venue until 1915, but then the First World War forced them to move out and play at Herne Hill Velodrome. In 1924, the moved to their current home at Selhurst Park. Palace have been FA Cup finalists twice, in 1990 and 2016, the club were denied a place in Europe at the end of that season due to the partial UEFA ban on English clubs caused by the Heysel Stadium disaster. Palace were one of the founding members of the Premier League. The club were winners of the Full Members Cup in 1991 when they beat Everton in the Wembley final, Palace have been second tier champions twice and hold the record for the most play-off wins for promotion to the top flight, winning the final four times. In 1973, the changed its original nickname from The Glaziers to The Eagles. The club had played in claret and blue colours. Palace have rivalries with Brighton & Hove Albion, with whom they contest the M23 derby, in 1895, the Football Association had found a new permanent home for the FA Cup Final at the site of the famous Crystal Palace Exhibition building. There had been an amateur Crystal Palace team as early as 1861, the owners of the venue wanted a professional club to play there and tap into the vast crowd potential of the area. Crystal Palace Football Club, originally nicknamed The Glaziers, was formed on 10 September 1905 under the guidance of Aston Villa assistant secretary Edmund Goodman, the club applied to enter the Football League alongside Chelsea and Southampton, but was the only unsuccessful team of the three. The club instead found itself in the Southern League Second Division for the 1905–06 season, the club was successful in its inaugural season and was promoted to the First Division, crowned as champions. Palace remained in the Southern League up until 1914, their one highlight the 1907 shock First Round victory over Newcastle United in the FA Cup. The outbreak of the First World War led to the Admiralty requisitioning the Crystal Palace, Three years later the club moved again to the Nest due to the folding of Croydon Common F. C. The club joined the Football League Third Division in the 1920–21 season, finishing as champions, during this period, Palace also won the London Challenge Cup three times in 1913,1914, and 1921. Palace moved to the purpose-built stadium Selhurst Park in 1924, the ground the club plays at today, the opening fixture at Selhurst Park was against Sheffield Wednesday, Palace losing 0–1 in front of a crowd of 25,000. Finishing in twenty-first position, the club was relegated to the Third Division South, before the Second World War Palace made good efforts at promotion, never finishing outside the top half of the table and finishing second on three occasions
Exeter City F.C.
Exeter City Football Club /ˈɛksɪtə ˈsɪti/ is a professional association football club based in Exeter, Devon, England. The team play in League Two, the tier of the English football league system. The club is owned by the clubs supporters through the Exeter City Supporters Trust, the club was a member of the Football League from 1920 to 2003. Following five seasons in the Conference National, Exeter were promoted back to League Two for the 2008–09 season, in the 2011–12 season of League One Exeter City were relegated to League Two, finishing 23rd with 48 points, they have remained in League Two ever since. Exeter City was founded in 1904 and began playing on an old used for fattening pigs. Exeter remain at St James Park to this day, the club is nicknamed The Grecians. For the 2016–17 season Citys home kit is supplied by Joma and it consists of red and white shirts, black shorts, and black and white socks. The club is known as the first side to play a team from Brazil. As a result, City and Brazilian side Fluminense are now also partner clubs, Exeter City F. C. was formed from two predecessor clubs, Exeter United F. C. and St Sidwells United. Exeter United was a club from Exeter, Devon, that played between 1890 and 1904. In 1904, Exeter United lost 3–1 to local rivals St Sidwells United, the new team took the name Exeter City and continued to play at Exeter Uniteds ground, St James Park, where Exeter City still play today. Exeter United was formed from the team of the same name and were one of the first football teams with the moniker United. St Sidwells United was a club that had formed from the regulars who frequented the Foresters Inn in Sidwell Street, Exeter, although the house was always known as the Drum. The team played in St Sidwells old colours of green and white, on 10 September 1904, Exeter City played its first ever competitive match, a 2–1 victory at St James over 110th Battery of the Royal Artillery, in the East Devon League. The attendance was 600, and the goal scored by Sid Thomas. City topped the East Devon League with 11 wins, two draws, one defeat in its first season, and transferred to the Plymouth & District League for next three seasons, in 1908, Exeter City A. F. C. became a limited company. City became a professional team, and applied successfully for membership of the Southern League. A wooden grandstand was erected, and the club entered into an arrangement over the ground
Cardiff City F.C.
Cardiff City Football Club is a professional association football club based in the city of Cardiff, Wales that competes in the Championship, the second tier of the English football league system. The club was founded in 1899 as Riverside A. F. C. before changing its name to Cardiff City in 1908 and they play their home games at the Cardiff City Stadium, after moving from Ninian Park in 2009. The club reverted to their traditional blue in January 2015 and they have long-standing rivalries with nearby clubs Swansea City, known as the South Wales derby, and Bristol City, known as the Severnside derby. The club was founded in 1899 as Riverside A. F. C and their first season saw them playing friendlies against local sides at their Sophia Gardens ground, but in 1900 they joined the Cardiff & District League for their first competitive season. To combat this they arranged to join the South Wales Amateur League in 1907, with the club growing in stature, they were forced to turn down the opportunity to join the newly formed Southern League Second Division due to the lack of facilities at their Sophia Gardens ground. The club eventually secured land to build their own stadium, moving into Ninian Park, the club made its first signing the following year with the acquisition of Jack Evans from fellow Welsh club Cwmparc. With the new ground in place, Cardiff joined the Southern League Second Division, and appointed their first manager in Davy McDougall, who became player-manager. They went on to finish in place in their first year in the league but the board decided to replace McDougall with Fred Stewart. In 1920, the club submitted an application to join the Football League and were placed into the Second Division for the 1920–21 season. Stewart brought in players with Football League experience, breaking the clubs transfer record on two occasions to sign Jimmy Gill and later Jimmy Blair from The Wednesday. In the 74th minute, after collecting a throw George MacLachlan, dan Lewis, the Arsenal goalkeeper, appeared to collect the ball but, under pressure from the advancing Len Davies, clumsily allowed the ball to roll through his grasp. In a further attempt to retrieve the ball Lewis only succeeded in knocking the ball with his elbow into his own net, captain Fred Keenor received the FA Cup trophy from King George V only seven years after Cardiff City had entered the Football League. However, he was unable to turn the fortunes around by the end of the season. McCandless left the club soon after and was replaced by Cyril Spiers who led the club to promotion the in 1951–52 season, however, despite spending five seasons in the First Division, the club continually struggled in the bottom half of the table and were eventually relegated in 1957. They returned to the First Division for two seasons between 1960 and 1962 before again suffering relegation, during the 1960s, Cardiff began qualifying for European competition for the first time as a result of winning the Welsh Cup. They went on to reach the quarter-finals before being knocked out by Real Zaragoza, despite their exploits in Europe, the club were still struggling in league competition under the stewardship of Jimmy Scoular, finishing in 20th position in the Second Division. After a 1–1 draw in the first leg, just over 43,000 fans turned out at Ninian Park to watch Hamburg win 3–2, during the 1970–71 season, Cardiff reached the quarter-finals of the Cup Winners Cup where they faced Spanish side Real Madrid. The first leg of the tie was held at Ninian Park where 47,000 fans watched one of the most famous victories in the history when Brian Clark headed in to give Cardiff a 1–0 win
Norwich City F.C.
Norwich City Football Club is an English professional football club based in Norwich, Norfolk. The club currently plays in the Championship, the tier of English football. They were first promoted to the top flight in 1972, Norwich have won the League Cup twice, in 1962 and 1985. The club has never won the top flight, but finished third in 1993, the club was founded in 1902. The fans song On the Ball, City is regarded as being the oldest football song in the world which is still in use, the club plays in characteristic yellow and green kits and are nicknamed The Canaries after the history of breeding the birds in the area. They joined the Norfolk & Suffolk League for the 1902–03 season, but following a FA Commission, the club was ousted from the amateur game in 1905, deemed a professional organisation. Later that year Norwich were elected to play in the Southern League and with increasing crowds, they were forced to leave Newmarket Road in 1908, moving to The Nest, a disused chalk pit. During the First World War, with football suspended and facing spiralling debts, the club was officially reformed on 15 February 1919 – a key figure in the events was Charles Frederick Watling, future Lord Mayor of Norwich and the father of future club chairman, Geoffrey Watling. When, in May 1920, the Football League formed a third Division and their first league fixture, against Plymouth Argyle, on 28 August 1920, ended in a 1–1 draw. The club went on to endure a mediocre decade, finishing no higher than eighth, the inaugural match, held on 31 August 1935, against West Ham United, ended in a 4–3 victory to the home team and set a new record attendance of 29,779. The biggest highlight of the four seasons was the visit of King George VI to Carrow Road on 29 October 1938. However, the club was relegated to the Third Division at the end of the season, the league was suspended the following season as a result of the outbreak of the Second World War and did not resume until the 1946–47 season. City finished this and the season in 21st place, the poor results forcing the club to apply for re-election to the league. The 1958–59 season saw Norwich reach the semi-final of the FA Cup as a Third Division side, in the 1959–60 season, Norwich were promoted to the Second Division after finishing second to Southampton, and achieved a fourth-place finish in the 1960–61 season. In 1962 Ron Ashman guided Norwich to their first trophy, defeating Rochdale 4–0 on aggregate in a final to win the League Cup. They made their first appearance at Wembley Stadium in 1973, losing the League Cup final 1–0 to Tottenham Hotspur. Relegation to the Second Division in 1974 came after Saunders had departed and been succeeded by John Bond, a highly successful first season saw promotion back to the First Division and another visit to Wembley, again in the League Cup final, this time losing 1–0 to Aston Villa. Bond departed to Manchester City in the autumn of 1980 and the club were relegated six months later, Norwich had also been the beneficiaries of one of English footballs first million-pound transfers when they sold striker Justin Fashanu to Nottingham Forest in August 1981
Watford Football Club is a professional football club based in Watford, Hertfordshire, England, that plays in the Premier League, the highest level in the English football league system. Founded in 1881 as Watford Rovers, the club entered the FA Cup for the first time in 1886, after finishing the 1914–15 season as Southern League champions under the management of Harry Kent, Watford joined the Football League in 1920. The club played at grounds in its early history, before moving to a permanent location at Vicarage Road in 1922. Watford spent most of the half century in the lower divisions of The Football League, changing colours. England manager Graham Taylors tenure at the club saw Watford scale new heights, between Taylors appointment in 1977 and departure in 1987, Watford rose from the Fourth Division to the First Division. The team finished second in the First Division in the 1982–83 season, competed in the UEFA Cup in 1983–84, the club experienced a further one season stint in the top division of English football during the 2006–07 season, under Aidy Boothroyds management. After eight years, Watford are again competing in the Premier League 2015–16 season, Watford is currently owned by the Pozzo family, which also owns Udinese Calcio in Italy and previously Granada CF in Spain. Watford Rovers was formed in 1881 by Henry Groverand, who went on to play for the club as a full-back, Rovers, originally composed entirely of amateur players, held home games at several locations in the town of Watford. The team first competed in the FA Cup in the 1886–87 season, the team became the football section of West Hertfordshire Sports Club in 1890, and consequently moved to a ground on Cassio Road. Renamed as West Hertfordshire in 1893, Rovers joined the Southern Football League in 1896, West Hertfordshire merged with local rivals Watford St. Marys in 1898, the merged team was named Watford Football Club. Following relegation to the Southern League Second Division in 1903, Watford appointed its first manager – former England international and he led Watford to promotion, and kept the team in the division until his departure in 1910. Despite financial constraints, Watford won the Southern League title in the 1914–15 season under his successor, there was a re-election system in place which meant the bottom two teams in each of the two divisions had to apply for re-election to the league. Watford finished outside the top six positions in every season between 1922 and 1934. The Football League was suspended in 1939 due to the Second World War, Football resumed in 1946, with Watford still in the Third Division South. Ron Burgess replaced McBain during that season, and in the following campaign Burgess presided over Watfords first Football League promotion and this team included Fourth Division top scorer Cliff Holton, who scored a club record 42 league goals in the season. Holton was sold to Northampton the following year after another 34 goals, eighteen-year-old Northern Irish goalkeeper Pat Jennings also featured under McGarry, and made his international debut despite being a Third Division player. Furphys rebuilding came to fruition in 1969 with the signing of Barry Endean, Watford secured the Third Division title in April, at home to Plymouth Argyle. A year later Watford reached the FA Cup semi-final for the first time, defeating First Division teams Stoke City, hampered by a lack of funds, however, Furphy eventually joined Blackburn Rovers, to be succeeded by George Kirby