The FA Cup will be contested for the 136th time in the 2016-17 season, most likely beginning on the evening of Friday 12th August, giving new meaning to the term ‘The Glorious Twelfth’.
Over 3,100 clubs have participated in the competition since it began in 1871-72 and amongst that number are a select one hundred or so clubs who have competed at least one hundred times. From Maidenhead United and Marlow, who took part in the first ever competition and have each missed just one campaign since then, and for whom the 2016-17 season will be their 135th attempt at lifted the Trophy, through to Hednesford Town, who became the latest member of the ‘100 Club’ in the season just gone.
Four clubs will be joining this mix of well established League and Non-League teams in the 2016-17 season namely Northern League outfit Ashington, Eastern Counties League side Great Yarmouth Town, National League North club Worcester City and Southend United from English Football League Division One. These four clubs will bring the total membership of the ‘100 Club’ to 106.
I’m not aware as to whether or not the FA commemorate a club entering the FA Cup for the 100th time, but if they don’t I think they ought to do so. And all those clubs that have passed the milestone should be recognised formally as well. The full list of clubs as well as an indication as to when they joined the ‘100 club’ can be found in the table below.
The majority of these clubs are still competing in the FA Cup, although some of them, such as Darlington, Darwen, Chester City and Scarborough, are represented in a slightly different guises, namely Darlington 1883, AFC Darwen, Chester and Scarborough Athletic respectively. It would be fantastic if all these 106 clubs could receive recognition from the FA, especially as we approach the 150th anniversary of the FA Cup in five years time.
Spare a thought, too, for those clubs that came oh-so close to becoming members of the ‘100 Club’ only to see the club fold after 99 seasons in the competition. Gresley Rovers, King’s Lynn and Windsor and Eton all befell this fate, although their names live on in the competition thanks to King’s Lynn Town, Gresley and Windsor.