Unique FA Cup Stats from @FACupFactfile

For anyone stumbling across this FA Cup blog for the first time, here are some of the hundreds of unique FA Cup facts and stats that I have produced and shared on Twitter under the @FACupFactfile account. If you like what you see then do follow on Twitter for more of the same.

My stats were even reproduced in the 2016 FA Cup Final programme

Non League Clubs in 3rd Round-page-001

Club Badges 15-16 PR Round-page-001

19th Century NL Teams-page-001

Best in 21st Century NL-page-001

Lincoln Draws-page-001

Never KO in Qualifying-page-001

Knocked Out in EP Round-page-001


From Little Wembley to Big Wembley

In the summer of 2014, after more years of active research than I can remember, I finally felt ready to share my comprehensive database regarding performances in the FA Cup for every club which had ever entered that illustrious competition since its humble beginnings 145 years ago.

At that time no-one in the world of football knew me from Adam, so I sought out an established FA Cup blogger with a view to riding on their well-known coat-tails. And I found a blogger who very kindly agreed to allow me to publish my statistical previews and reviews of all the Preliminary and Qualifying Rounds of the 2014-15 competition on their website. That blogger was The Real FA Cup, and I am extremely grateful to Damon who runs that blog and Twitter feed for the support he provided, and for allowing me to be part of his FA Cup world. My individual round reviews can be read on The Real FA Cup website by clicking on the following link: http://therealfacup.co.uk/author/phil-annets/

Throughout the 2014-15 season I used my own personal Twitter feed to start to publish random stats and facts about the FA Cup, much to the annoyance of those that were following me for all the other exciting and interesting things that were happening in my life (!). And, amazingly, I started to get noticed, being invited to provide a review of a couple of the Qualifying Rounds by BBC 5 Live’s Caroline Barker, for inclusion in the following Sunday morning Non-League Show. The season also included an approach from the BBC to provide stats for their on-line FA Cup Third Round preview blog which can be read here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/30562324

Come the summer of 2015, and on the back of the kind of fame only a specialist website and a before sunrise aired radio show can give you, I decided to go it alone for the 2015-16 season and set up both the Twitter handle @FACupFactfile and its associated blog. I set about writing a comprehensive preview of the Extra Preliminary Round and a blog about my love of the FA Cup and put @FACupFactfile out there.

I quickly grew followers for @FACupFactfile, mainly transferred from my personal Twitter account, and also made available my EP Round preview for use in match day programmes for clubs hosting and FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round tie. I also embarked on a little FA Cup odyssey, trying to attend as many FA Cup matches as possible throughout the Qualifying Rounds, starting as many people did, at Hoddesdon Town on the night of Friday 14th August, 2015.

The next day was to be special for me personally, as I was heading to Nelson FC for what would become the 100th ground I had ever visited. What I didn’t realise was just how special it was to be as unbeknownst to me, the club had included both my ‘Why I Love the FA Cup’ article and my ‘FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round Preview’ article in their match-day programme. It was almost as if the programme was written by me.

I was absolutely gob-smacked. It was just a real shame that my visit to what is affectionately known as ‘Little Wembley’ couldn’t coincide with an FA Cup victory for the Admirals. However, the club and my visit that day will always remain memorable to me, made even more so when being contacted by BBC 5 Live to once again appear on their Non-League Show to be recorded that evening and hosted by Liam Bradford. @FACupFactfile had sort of arrived.

Over the next days and weeks I attended many more FA Cup matches, became aware of many more clubs using my articles in their programmes, and steadily, almost stealthily, continued to grow my Twitter follower base. Three and a half thousand followers is minuscule when compared to media Tweeters such as Gary Lineker, but from a standing start and from a position of relative anonymity, @FACupFactfile is gradually getting quite a following. More appearances on National radio, being published in the Non-League Paper, and twice appearing as a special guest on an American on-line radio show, have all added momentum to my FA Cup Factfile.

And now as we have concluded the business end of the FA Cup, the Final between Crystal Palace and Manchester United, you will have found FA Cup facts and stats provided by @FACupFactfile in the Cup Final programme itself. I am so chuffed and so proud to be included in the pinnacle of all FA Cup programmes. It beautifully connects @FACupFactile with the Extra Preliminary Round of the tournament way back in August to the Cup Final in May. From Abbey Hey to Yorkshire Amateur via Arsenal, Middlesbrough and York City, @FACupFactfile covers them all. No matter when your team enters or exits the FA Cup, @FACupFactfile has all the competition’s facts and stats you’ll ever need.

From ‘Little Wembley’ to ‘Big’ Wembley, @FACupFactfile has it all.

FA Cup Dreams Can Come True … Sort Of

Like many a young lad I dreamed of one day playing in the FA Cup final, scoring the winning goal and lifting the famous trophy in front of one hundred thousand fans.

Being brought up on a meagre diet of just one domestic live match on TV per season, the FA Cup Final was the big sporting event of the year, and I was obsessed with it. From re-creating old finals with my brother on a strip of grass between the back of my house and a bridle path using oak trees as goal-posts, to reading up on every football statistic available and obsessively collecting football cards, my whole childhood revolved around football, and around the FA Cup in particular.

It was obvious fairly early on that, as capable as I was with a ball at my feet, I was never going to be good enough to make a career out of playing football, so the opportunity of achieving my boyhood dream of appearing in a Wembley Cup final was kyboshed before I’d even become a man. Little did I know that more than 30 years later I would eventually realise my dream, although in a way I could never have imagined as a pre-teenager.

After decades of collecting and collating FA Cup statistics I finally got to a position whereby I had a complete set of FA Cup records for every club that had ever competed in the competition. This data does have to be updated annually, but I decided it was time to begin to share what I had pulled together with other interested parties via the internet using the Twitter name @FACupFactfile and writing a blog under the name FACupFactfile.

Twelve months after launching my FA Cup stats on these public forums I was contacted by the producers of the FA Cup Final programme to write a stats based article on the 2015-16 competition. I was gobsmacked. I’d had articles included in match-day programmes for non-league clubs competing in the FA Cup and I’d contributed occasionally to Radio Five’s Non-League Show, but I never even considered the likelihood of featuring in the FA Cup Final programme itself.

But my article is included in this year’s Crystal Palace versus Manchester United FA Cup Final programme, three pages in total. Unbelievably, forty years after watching my first ever FA Cup Final I am actually involved in one, albeit not on the pitch scoring the winning goal, but officially involved in it nonetheless. I stand alongside players, officials, administrators, organisers and fans at the greatest football occasion of the year and I could not be more pleased or more proud.

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First FA Cup Match by Club

List of the first match played in the FA Cup by each individual club.

Did your club beat a modern day giant or were they defeated by a club long since forgotten?

Contact @FACupFactfile on Twitter with club name to find out.

Premier League Clubs 2015-16

AFC Bournemouth – 1909-10 Preliminary Round (as Boscombe and member of Hampshire League West)

Bournemouth Gasworks (Athletic) (also from Hampshire League West) 0 – 0 Boscombe (Boscombe won replay 2-1)

Bournemouth Gasworks Athletic was formed in 1899, but didn’t add the ‘Athletic’ moniker until 1921. Known as The Lights, the club first entered the FA Cup in 1905/06 season, competing in 27 seasons right up until 1956-57, and reaching the 3rd Qualifying Round on four separate occasions. The club spent most of its existence playing in the Hampshire League (and Dorset League), and dissolved 16 years after its last FA Cup appearance.

Arsenal – 1889-90 1st Qualifying Round (as Royal Arsenal)

Royal Arsenal 11 – 0 Lyndhurst (formed 1883 from Denmark Hill)

Lyndhurst entered the FA Cup on four occasions losing all four matches, twice 4-2 to Chesham, 9-0 to Crusaders as well as the double-digit defeat to Royal Arsenal. However, as two of those seasons were before the Football League was formed, the club is registered as reaching the First Round twice.

Aston Villa – 1879-80 2nd Round (received a bye in 1st Round)

Stafford Road (Works), Wolverhampton 1 – 1 Aston Villa (Villa won replay 3-1)

Stafford Road Works from Wolverhampton (AKA Stafford Road and Stafford Road Railway Works) was formed in 1874 and entered the FA Cup eight times, reaching the Quarter Finals in 1880-81 where they were narrowly beaten 2-1 by Old Etonians.

Chelsea – 1905-06 1st Qualifying Round (as a Football League Division 2 side)

Chelsea 6 – 1 1st Grenadier Guards (League membership not yet identified)

1st Grenadier Guards, based in London, had played in London League Division One in the 1903-04 season, and would later compete in the Great Western Suburban League, the Southern Suburban League Senior East Division and the Spartan League all before the breakout of World War One. The club entered the FA Cup seven times making it as far as the 4th Qualifying Round in 1910-11.

Crystal Palace – 1905-06 1st Qualifying Round (as Southern League Division 2 side)

Crystal Palace 7 – 0 Clapham (a Southern Suburban League Senior B side)

It’s not clear if this Clapham club was associated with Clapham Rovers who won the FA Cup in 1879-80. The club had been called Clapham Claremont for one season two years prior to this Crystal Palace defeat and entered the competition right up until the 1909-10 season, one year before Clapham Rovers was reportedly dissolved. Clapham had previously played in the Clapham League and eventually became a Spartan League West member in 1908-09 season. Under the Clapham name, the club made the 3rd Qualifying Round of the FA Cup on two occasions.

Everton – 1886-87 1st Round drawn to play at Glasgow Rangers but scratched

1887-88 1st Round Bolton Wanderers 1 – 0 Everton (match voided) (Re-organised game ended 2-2, then the teams drew 1-1 before Everton finally won 2-1. Everton then lost 6-1 to Preston North End in 2nd Round, but that result was voided as Everton were disqualified after that game was played and Bolton re-instated)

Glasgow Rangers entered the English FA Cup twice, scratching in 1885-86 rather than travelling to Rawtenstall in the First Round, and making it all the way to the Semi Finals in 1886-87 where a 3-1 defeat to Aston Villa prevented them from becoming only the second Scottish side after Queen’s Park to make the English FA Cup final. The Scottish FA banned their member clubs from competing in the English FA Cup after this season.

Leicester City – 1890-91 1st Qualifying Round (as Leicester Fosse, not in a any League)

Leicester Fosse 0 – 4 Burton Wanderers (Midland League side)

Burton Wanderers was formed in 1871 and would eventually become a Football League club in 1894 for three seasons, before merging with Burton Swifts, who had remained a Football League club, in 1901 to form Burton United who folded in 1910, three years after leaving the Football League. This victory over Leicester Fosse took Burton Wanderers into the 2nd Round of the FA Cup for their one and only time.

Liverpool – 1892-93 1st Qualifying Round (as a Lancashire League side)

Nantwich (Town) (from The Combination) 0 – 3 Liverpool

Nantwich was formed in 1884, adding the word ‘Town’ in 1973, and is still an active participant in the FA Cup having competed in it 92 times since their first entry in 1888-89 season. The Dabbers have appeared in the 1st Round of the competition on just the one occasion, a 2011-12 campaign that saw them lose 6-0 at League One side Milton Keynes Dons.

Manchester City – 1890-91 1st Qualifying Round (as Ardwick, not in any League)

Ardwick 12 – 0 Liverpool Stanley (League membership not yet identified)

Liverpool Stanley was formed in 1882 in Kirkdale and entered the FA Cup eight times in total, first competing in 1887-88 meaning the club had one 1st Round appearance, a 5-1 home defeat to Halliwell. The club eventually played in the Lancashire Combination before joining the Liverpool and District League Division One.

Manchester United – 1886-87 1st Round (as Newton Heath Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway)

Fleetwood Rangers 2 – 2 Newton Heath LYR (Newton Heath disqualified before the replay)

1889-90 1st Round (as Newton Heath, member of Football Alliance)

Preston North End 6 – 1 Newton Heath

Fleetwood Rangers was a founder member of the Lancashire League and twice made the 2nd Round of the FA Cup in their 11 seasons of competing in it. The club left the Lancashire League to join the Lancashire Combination in 1897, but appear to have dissolved before the end of the Nineteenth Century.

Newcastle United – 1892-93 1st Round (as a Northern League side)

Newcastle United 2 – 3 Middlesbrough (also a Northern League side)

Nb. It’s debatable whether Newcastle United is a result of a merger between Newcastle East End and Newcastle West End, or whether Newcastle East End amalgamated Newcastle West End and Newcastle United is just an extension of Newcastle East End

1887-88 1st Round South Bank 3 – 2 Newcastle East End (After extra time)

South Bank was formed in 1868, incorporated South Bank clubs Eribus, Excelsior and Black Watch before competing in the FA Cup for the first of 90 times in 1886-87. The club made one 2nd Round appearance the following year before becoming Northern League regulars and competing in the FA Cup up until the 1992-93 season, and folding six years later after a few seasons in the Wearside League.

Norwich City – 1902-03 Preliminary Round (as member of Norfolk and Suffolk League)

Lowestoft Town (also in Norfolk and Suffolk League) 5 – 0 Norwich City

Lowestoft was formed in 1887 as a result of a merger between East Suffolk and the first of many Kirkley clubs, adding the name ‘Town’ three years later. The Blues are still an active participant in the FA Cup having competed 107 times since first entering in 1898-99 season. The club has made the 1st Round on six separate occasions; only five other clubs have gone so far in the competition more often without ever making the 2nd Round.

Southampton – 1891-92 1st Qualifying Round (as Southampton St Mary’s, not in any League)

Warmley (not found in any league) 1 – 4 Southampton St Mary’s

Gloucestershire based Warmley only existed in the Nineteenth Century folding in 1899 having first played in the Bristol and District League before competing simultaneously in the Western League and the Southern League. The club twice made it to the FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round, in 1895 defeated again by Southampton St Mary’s, and in 1899 losing to Reading in what would be the club’s final season.

Stoke City – 1883-84 1st Round (as Stoke)

Stoke 1 – 2 Manchester

This Manchester club was formed in 1866 (maybe related to Manchester RFC) and competed in the FA Cup for just two campaigns. This victory over Stoke was a precursor to a 2nd Round 15-0 drubbing at the hands of Queen’s Park, the biggest ever FA Cup win by a non-English club.

Sunderland – 1884-85 1st Round

Redcar 3 – 1 Sunderland

Redcar was one of the biggest clubs in the North East in the Nineteenth Century and made the FA Cup Quarter Finals the year after this win over Sunderland, losing 2-0 to Small Heath Alliance (Birmingham City). The club became founder members of the original North Eastern League in 1889 before eventually joining the Northern League up until the 1921-22 season, coinciding with the last of 12 FA Cup campaigns. The club folded after joining the Cleveland Amateur League the following season.

Swansea City – 1913-14 Preliminary Round (as Swansea Town, Southern League Division 2 side)

Swansea Town 4 – 0 Port Talbot (member of the Swansea League)

Port Talbot was formed in 1901 and entered the FA Cup in the final three seasons before World War One being knocked out in the Preliminary Round each time without winning a game. This Swansea Town defeat was preceded by a 2-1 loss at Aberdare and followed by a withdrawal when due to face Caerleon Athletic. The club may also have been known as Seaside Athletic following the Great War, but eventually became Port Talbot Athletic in 1984 before becoming Port Talbot Town at the beginning of the 21st Century. The club currently competes in the Welsh Premier League.

Tottenham Hotspur – 1894-95 1st Qualifying Round (not a member of any League)

Tottenham Hotspur 3 – 2 West Herts (no League yet identified)

West Herts was formed in 1865 and would eventually form one half of Watford FC when merging with Watford St Mary’s in 1898. By then the club were a Southern League Division Two side, had amalgamated Watford Rovers in 1892, and had had five FA Cup campaigns reaching the 2nd Qualifying Round in 1895-96 season.

Watford – 1898-99 Preliminary Round (as a member of Southern League Division 2 London)

Watford 1 – 0 Chesham Town (member of Bucks and Contiguous Counties League)

Chesham Town was formed in 1885 and had only just added the ‘Town’ moniker to their name. They first entered the FA Cup in their formation year making the 2nd Round the following season. They had 30 FA Cup campaigns before merging with local rivals Chesham Generals during the First World War to form Chesham United, having also been members of Southern League Division Two, the South East League and various Berks & Bucks competitions.

West Bromwich Albion – 1883-84 1st Round

West Bromwich Albion 0 – 2 Wednesbury Town

Wednesbury Town only entered the FA Cup on two occasions despite being in existence for more than 100 years after their two campaigns whilst members of the West Midlands (Regional) League. The club made the 4th Round (last 16) in their inaugural FA Cup season.

West Ham United – 1895-96 1st Qualifying Round (as Thames Ironworks, not member of any League)

Thames Ironworks 0 – 5 Chatham (United) (member of Southern League Division 1)

Chatham was formed as Chatham United in 1882 as a result of a merger between Rochester Invicta and Royal Engineers Band. The Chats entered the FA Cup in their first season and are still active participants some 118 campaigns later. The club made the 5th Round in 1884-85, bizarrely the only club of nine to be eliminated in that round, and actually made the Quarter Finals in 1888-89 season which was only labelled as the 3rd Round. Chatham United eventually became a Southern League Division One club and dropped ‘United’ in 1898, re-forming as Chatham Town in 1947 and briefly being known as Medway in the second half of the 1970s when playing in the Kent League.

Championship clubs 2015-16

Birmingham City – 1881-82 1st Round (as Small Heath Alliance)

Small Heath Alliance 4 – 1 Derby Town

This was the only match that Derby Town played in the FA Cup.

Blackburn Rovers – 1879-80 1st Round

Blackburn Rovers 5 – 1 Tyne Association

Formed in 1877 Tyne Association entered the FA Cup twice, losing 4-0 to Redcar in their only other appearance seven seasons after this first match.

Bolton Wanderers – 1881-82 1st Round

Bolton Wanderers 5 – 5 Eagley (Bolton won replay 1-0)

Formed in 1874 Eagley entered the FA Cup seven times from 1879-80 season reaching the 4th Round (last 16) the season after this meeting with Bolton.

Brentford – 1897-98 1st Qualifying Round (as member of London League)

Brentford 6 – 1 1st Coldstream Guards

1st Coldstream Guards were a London based club who had one season in Southern League Division Two, two years before this FA Cup tie, and reached the 2nd Qualifying Round in the last of four FA Cup campaigns.

Brighton and Hove Albion – 1901-02 Preliminary Round (as member of Southern League)

Brighton and Hove Albion 6 – 2 Brighton Athletic

Founder members of the Sussex League, Brighton Athletic were playing in the East Sussex League by the start of the 20th Century and made it as far as the 2nd Qualifying Round in the first two of four FA Cup campaigns in the first four years of the 1900s.

Bristol City – 1895-96 Preliminary Round (as Bristol South End, league not identified)

Bristol South End 5 – 1 Slough

Slough were formed in 1894 as a result of a merger of the successful Swifts side with Slough Albion and Young Men’s Friendly Society (Slough), the club competed in the FA Cup 38 times before going on to merge with Slough Centre in 1942 to form Slough United, the former name of the current Slough Town club. This original Slough side made the 4th Qualifying Round in 1903-04 when members of the Berks and Bucks League, before entering the Great Western Suburban League and the Spartan League of which they were members until the outbreak of the Second World War.

Burnley – 1885-86 1st Round

Darwen Old Wanderers 11 – 0 Burnley

Formed in 1879, as well as inflicting this record FA Cup defeat upon Burnley, Darwen Old Wanderers twice made the 3rd Round of the competition in this and the previous season. Bizarrely the club’s last FA Cup game would be a 4-0 defeat to Burnley in 1887-88, although they protested the result and the FA ordered the game to be replayed. Darwen believed they should have been awarded the tie and scratched in protest.

Cardiff City – 1910-11 Preliminary Round (as member of Southern League)

Cardiff City 3 – 1 Bath City

Formed in 1889 Bath City had entered the FA Cup 20 years before Cardiff and were members of the Western League at the time of their meeting. The club still participates in the competition and has made the 3rd Round six times in 98 campaigns.

Charlton Athletic – 1914-15 Preliminary Round (League not identified)

Charlton Athletic w/o Ashford Railway Works

Q1 Round Dartford 0 – 0 Charlton Athletic (Dartford won replay 2-1)

Formed in 1907 as South Eastern and Chatham Ashford Railway Works the club converted to just the final three names a year later upon entering both the FA Cup and the Folkestone and District Senior League. The club folded in 1928 after 16 FA Cup campaigns, but their nickname, The Nuts and Bolts, was taken on by Ashford Town formed the following season.

Dartford are still competing in the FA Cup although the club has re-formed twice since forming in 1888. The Darts have 102 FA Campaigns under their belt and reached the 3rd Round twice in the late 1930s.

Derby County – 1884-85 1st Round

Derby County 0 – 7 Walsall Town

Walsall Town was formed in 1879 and eventually merged with Walsall Swifts in 1888 to form Walsall Town and Swifts which became plain Walsall eight years later. Walsall Town made six appearances in the FA Cup reaching the 4th Round (last 16) in their first season 1882-83.

Fulham – 1896-97 1st Qualifying Round (as member of London League)

Swanscombe 5 – 0 Fulham

Kent based club Swanscombe entered the FA Cup nine times either side of the turn of the 20th Century as members of the original Kent League, making the 3rd Qualifying Round the season after this win over Fulham.

Huddersfield Town – 1909-10 Preliminary Round (as member of Midland League)

Heckmondwike 0 – 11 Huddersfield Town

Heckmondwike were competing in the West Yorkshire League at the time of this record FA Cup win for Huddersfield, this being their fifth FA Cup campaign. The club transferred to the Yorkshire Combination the following season and five years later had one season in the Midland League reaching the 4th Qualifying Round of the FA Cup in the same year. Unfortunately this coincided with the outbreak of World War I and the club didn’t seem to re-appear after hostilities were over.

Hull City – 1904-05 Preliminary Round (League not identified)

Stockton 3 – 3 Hull City (Stockton won replay 4-1)

This Stockton club was the one formed in 1882 that eventually merged with Norton Cricket Club Trust five years after ‘folding’ to form the current Norton and Stockton Ancients club. The club had 75 FA Cup campaigns before this merger reaching the 3rd Round in 1951-52.

Ipswich Town – 1890-91 1st Qualifying Round (not member of any League)

Ipswich Town 2 – 0 Reading

Leeds United – 1920-21 Extra Preliminary Round (as member of League Division 2)

Leeds United 5 – 2 Boothtown

Boothtown had been members of the Bradford and District League and the Halifax and District League prior to World War I and would go on to become members of the West Riding County Amateur League in the early 1920s, but the season they faced Leeds United their league status has not been identified. Leeds themselves would be admitted to the Football League soon after this FA Cup tie and promptly withdrew from the competition.

Middlesbrough – 1883-84 1st Round

Middlesbrough 1 – 5 Staveley

Staveley competed in the FA Cup 12 times from 1881-82 to 1895-96 and were founder members of the Midland League for a couple of seasons before moving down to the Sheffield and Hallamshire League by the time of their final FA Cup campaign. The club made the 5th Round (last 16) in 1885-86 season.

Milton Keynes Dons – 2004-05 1st Round (as member of League Division 1)

Milton Keynes Dons 1 – 0 Lancaster City

(Wimbledon 1906-07)

Lancaster City formed in 1911 as Lancaster Town changing the suffix in 1937. Despite folding and re-forming in 2007 the club still competes in the FA Cup with 92 campaigns under their belt, and two 2nd Round appearances to shout about.

Nottingham Forest – 1878-79 1st Round

Notts County 1 – 3 Nottingham Forest (AET)

Preston North End – 1883-84 2nd Round (received a bye in the 1st Round)

Preston North End 4 – 1 Great Lever

Great Lever was formed in 1877 and the club entered the FA Cup four times, twice making the 2nd Round. The club eventually competed in the Lancashire Alliance just prior to World War I.

Queens Park Rangers – 1895-96 1st Qualifying Round (League not identified)

Queens Park Rangers 1 – 1 Old St Stephens (became Shepherd’s Bush) (Old St Stephens won replay 1-0)

Old St Stephens was formed in 1880 and whilst members of Southern League Division Two competed in the FA Cup four times before amalgamating a local club and changing their name to Shepherd’s Bush in 1898. The club maintained membership of the Southern League for a while before competing in the Metropolitan Amateur League, the Great Western Suburban League, the Spartan League and the Isthmian League up to 1914. The club reached the 5th Qualifying Round four times, twice falling just short of a 1st Round appearance.

Reading – 1877-78 1st Round

Reading 2 – 0 South Norwood

Formed in 1871 and folded in 1880 South Norwood competed eight times in their 10 year existence in the FA Cup reaching the 2nd Round on five of those occasions.

Rotherham United – 1925-26 1st Round (as member of League Division 3 North)

Halifax Town 0 – 3 Rotherham United

Halifax Town were formed in 1911 and were an established Football League side in Rotherham United’s first season after the merger of Rotherham County and Town. Halifax entered the FA Cup 86 times before folding in 2008 reaching the 5th Round (last 16) on two occasions.

Sheffield Wednesday – 1880-81 2nd Round (as The Wednesday, received a walkover against Queen’s Park in the 1st Round)

Blackburn Rovers 0 – 4 The Wednesday

Wolverhampton Wanderers – 1883-84 1st Round

Wolverhampton Wanderers 4 – 1 Long Eaton Rangers

Long Eaton Rangers was formed in 1882 and competed in the FA Cup 16 times before folding at the end of the 19th Century. The club made the FA Cup 2nd Round twice.

League One clubs – 2015-16

Barnsley – 1893-94 1st Qualifying Round (as Barnsley St Peter’s, member of Sheffield and Hallamshire League)

Barnsley St Peter’s 4 – 5 Gainsborough Trinity

Blackpool – 1891-92 1st Qualifying Round (as member of Lancashire League)

Higher Walton 4 – 5 Blackpool

Higher Walton was formed in 1882 and competed in the FA Cup for 10 consecutive seasons from 1884-85 season making it as far as the Third Round in their fourth season, the last before Qualifying Rounds were introduced.

Bradford City – 1903-04 1st Qualifying Round (as member of League Division 2)

Bradford City 6 – 1 Rockingham Colliery

Formed in 1902 this was Rockingham Colliery’s first FA Cup campaign and this was the furthest the club progressed in the competition in its six campaigns, two of which happened in the late 1930s after the club had re-formed in 1931.

Burton Albion – 1951-52 Preliminary Round (as member of Birmingham and District League)

Moor Green 2 – 4 Burton Albion

Moor Green was a relatively successful non-league club formed in 1906 and competing in the FA Cup 63 times before merging with Solihull Borough 100 years after being established to form the current Solihull Moors club. The Moor Green club made the First Round of the FA Cup twice, most recently as the 2002-03 season.

Bury – 1887-88 1st Round

Drawn away at Blackburn Rovers but scratched without playing match

1891-92 1st Qualifying Round Bury 3 – 1 Witton

Witton was a Cheshire based club which folded in 1892, two years after the current Witton Albion club was formed. Witton entered the FA Cup eight times making it as far as the Third Round on two occasions.

Chesterfield – 1892-93 1st Qualifying Round (as member of Sheffield League)

Gainsborough Trinity 4 – 2 Chesterfield (AET) (Match voided)

(Gainsborough Trinity won replayed match 4-2)

Colchester United – 1938-39 4th Qualifying Round (as member of Southern League)

Colchester United 4 – 1 Ilford

Coventry City – 1892-93 Preliminary Round (as Singers FC, League not identified)

Burton Swifts 3 – 0 Singers FC

Burton Swifts is a former Football League club from the end of the 19th Century formed in 1871 and merging with Burton Wanderers in 1901 to form Burton United.

Crewe Alexandra – 1883-84 1st Round

Crewe Alexandra 0 – 10 Queen’s Park

Doncaster Rovers – 1888-89 1st Qualifying Round (not in any League)

Doncaster Rovers 1 – 9 Rotherham Town

Rotherham Town was formed as Rotherham in 1870 adding the ‘Town’ suffix the following season. The club entered the FA Cup 13 times before folding in 1896 making the Second Round on three separate occasions. 

Fleetwood Town – 1999-2000 Preliminary Round (as Fleetwood Freeport, member of North West Counties League)

Billingham Town 1 – 2 Fleetwood Freeport

Gillingham – 1893-94 1st Qualifying Round (as New Brompton, not in any League)

Ilford 6 – 3 New Brompton

Millwall – 1887-88 1st Round (as Millwall Rovers)

Millwall Rovers w/o Casuals scratched

2nd Round Old Westminsters 8 – 1 Millwall Rovers

Formed in 1870 Old Westminsters were one of the major Southern based Amateur clubs that dominated the early years of the FA Cup having made the Quarter Finals three times prior to this 1887-88 season.

Oldham Athletic – 1905-06 1st Qualifying Round (as member of Lancashire Combination)

Oldham Athletic 2 – 1 Ashton Town

Ashton Town entered the FA Cup four times in the early years of the 20th Century before folding in 1911.  The club played in the Lancashire Combination and progressed as far as the Second Qualifying Round in their first campaign in 1903-04 season.

Peterborough United – 1935-36 1st Qualifying Round (as member of Midland League)

Peterborough United 0 – 3 Rushden Town

Rushden Town was formed as plain Rushden in 1889 adding ‘Town’ 12 years later. The club entered the FA Cup 78 times, falling just short of reaching the ‘Proper’ Rounds on several occasions, before merging with Irthlingborough Diamonds to form Rushden and Diamonds in 1992.

Port Vale – 1885-86 1st Round (as Burslem Port Vale)

Burslem Port Vale 3 – 0 Chirk

Wrexham based side Chirk was formed in 1876 and would go on to make the FA Cup Fifth Round in both seasons following this 1885-86 defeat. The club changed its name to Chirk AAA after the First World War.

Rochdale – 1908-09 Preliminary Round (as member of Lancashire Combination)

Rochdale 3 – 5 Accrington Stanley

Scunthorpe United – 1909-10 Preliminary Round (as Scunthorpe and Lindsey United, member of the Lindsey League))

Scunthorpe and Lindsey United 8 – 0 Withernsea

Formed in 1897 Withernsea entered the FA Cup just twice either side of the Great War being knocked out in the Preliminary Round both times.

Sheffield United – 1889-90 1st Qualifying Round (League not identified)

Scarborough 1 – 6 Sheffield United

Shrewsbury Town – 1887-88 1st Round

Macclesfield 1 – 3 Shrewsbury Town

Southend United – 1907-08 Preliminary Round (as member of the Southern League)

Southend United 3 – 0 East Ham

This East Ham club folded ahead of the First World War and had entered the FA Cup 10 times making the First Qualifying Round twice during that time.

Swindon Town – 1886-87 1st Round

Watford Rovers 0 – 1 Swindon Town

Watford Rovers was formed in 1881 and in the six campaigns they had in the FA Cup they made it as far as the Second Round. The club was absorbed into West Herts in 1892 who themselves merged with Watford St Mary’s seven years later to form the current Watford FC.

Walsall – 1888-89 1st Round (as Walsall Town Swifts, not in any League)

Walsall Town Swifts 5 – 1 Sheffield Heeley

Sheffield Heeley was formed in 1860 and participated in the FA Cup 11 times reaching the Fourth Round in their first campaign in 1881-82 season.

Wigan Athletic – 1933-34 Preliminary Round (as member of the Cheshire County League)

Wigan Athletic 1 – 1 Great Harwood (Wigan Athletic won 4-1 in replay)

Great Harwood was formed in 1877 and folded just over 100 years later. In that time the club entered the FA Cup 48 times making it as far as the First Round in 1970-71 when members of the Northern Premier League.

League Two Clubs – 2015-16

Accrington Stanley – 1971-72 1st Qualifying Round (as member of the Lancashire Combination)

Morecambe 2 – 0 Accrington Stanley

AFC Wimbledon – 1906-07 Preliminary Round (as Wimbledon, member of the Southern Suburban League)

West Norwood 2- 1 Wimbledon

Surrey based West Norwood entered the FA Cup 36 times before the outbreak of WWII making the 5th Qualifying Round (one round away from the 1st Round ‘Proper’) in the season that they beat Wimbledon, eventually losing 9-1 to the original Accrington Stanley.

2004-05 Preliminary Round (as AFC Wimbledon, member of the Isthmian League)

AFC Wimbledon 3  – 0 Ashford Town (Kent)

Barnet – 1912-13 Preliminary Round (as Barnet-Alston, member of the Athenian League)

Barnet-Alston 2 – 0 Luton Crusaders

Playing in the Luton and District League, Luton Crusaders only entered the FA Cup 3 times just prior to WWI reaching the 1st Qualifying Round in their debut season a year earlier than Barnet’s debut.

Bristol Rovers – 1895-96 Preliminary Round (as Eastville Rovers, member of the Western League)

Eastville Rovers 0 – 2 Warmley

Warmley entered the FA Cup nine times, making the 4th Qua;ifying Round twice,  before folding in the last year of the 19th Century and were members of the Western League when beating Eastville Rovers in their debut FA Cup match, eventually joining the Southern League before folding two seasons later.

Cambridge United – 1927-28 Extra Preliminary Round (as Abbey United, member of the Cambridgeshire League)

Great Yarmouth Town 3 – 1 Abbey United

Carlisle United – 1901-02 2nd Qualifying Round (as Shaddongate United, member of the Cumberland Senior League)

Shaddongate United 5 – 1 Keswick

Keswick were members of the Cumberland Senior League along with Shaddongate United and entered the FA Cup a year earlier than their opponents and 18 times in total, twice making the 3rd Qualifying Round.

Crawley Town – 1958-59 Preliminary Round (as member of the Metropolitan and District League)

Crawley Town 0 – 1 Horsham

Dagenham and Redbridge – 1992-93 1st Qualifying Round (as member of the Conference)

Dagenham and Redbridge 1 – 1 Billericay Town (Dagenham won replay 4-1)

Exeter City – 1908-09 1st Qualifying Round (as member of the Southern League)

Exeter City 14 – 0 Weymouth

One of the biggest FA Cup wins of all time, and the second biggest win for a club in their debut FA Cup match.

Hartlepool United – 1908-09 1st Qualifying Round (as Hartlepools United, member of the North Eastern League)

Hartlepools United 2 – 1 West Hartlepool

West Hartlepool were members of the Northern League and entered the FA Cup eight times, making the 4th Qualifying Round in 1905-06, before folding the season after losing to Hartlepools United.

Leyton Orient – 1904-05 1st Qualifying Round (as Clapton Orient, member of the Southern League)

Cheshunt 0 – 0 Clapton Orient (Clapton Orient won 4-1 in replay)

Luton Town – 1885-86 1st Round ‘Proper’

Marlow 3 – 0 Luton Town

Mansfield Town – 1909-10 Extra Preliminary Round (as Mansfield Wesley, as member of the Notts and Derbyshire League)

Mansfield Wesley 3 – 2 Shepshed Albion

Formed in 1897 this was also the debut FA Cup match for the original Shepshed Albion club who entered the FA Cup 11 times in the early 20th Century as members of the Leicestershire Senior League.

Morecambe – 1920-21 Preliminary Round (as member of the Lancashire Combination)

Morecambe 1 – 1 Breightmet United (Breightmet won 2-0 in the replay)

Formed in 1889, Breightmet United entered the FA Cup 25 times between the start of the 20th Century and the outbreak of WWII, variously as a Bolton and District Amateur League side and members of the West Lancashire League, making it to the 1st Qualifying Round on nine separate occasions.

Newport County – 1913-14 Preliminary Round (as member of the Southern League)

Newport County 6 – 0 Mond Nickel Works

Playing in the Swansea League, Mond Nickel Works entered the FA Cup in the final two years before the outbreak of WWI making the Preliminary Round on both occasions.

Newport County folded and re-formed in 1989 and the first FA Cup match of the re-formed club known as Newport AFC was in 1992-93 Preliminary Round (as member of the Southern League)

Dawlish Town 0 – 3 Newport AFC

Formed in 1889, Dawlish Town first entered the FA Cup 100 years later entering 14 times, but never making it beyond the Preliminary Round before folding in 2011.

Northampton Town – 1898-99 1st Qualifying Round (as member of the Northants League)

Hinckley Town 1 – 2 Northampton Town

Formed in 1889, Hinckley Town eventually became Hinckley Athletic via being named Hinckley United, and entered the FA Cup 80 times making the Second Round ‘Proper’ twice in 1954/55 and 1962/63. In 1997 the club merged with another Hinckey Town to form another Hinckley United.

Notts County – 1877-78 1st Round ‘Proper’

Notts County 1 – 1 Sheffield (Sheffield won 3-0 in replay)

Oxford United – 1931-32 Extra Preliminary Round (as Headington United, member of the Oxford Senior League)

Headington United 2 – 8 Hounslow Town

Formed in 1884 as Hounslow, only becoming Hounslow Town ahead of this 1931-32 season, the club entered the FA Cup 65 times, making the 1st Round ‘Proper’ twice in 1954/55 and 1962/63. Club reverted back to the name Hounslow before merging with Feltham in 1991 to form Feltham and Hounslow Borough, who themselves merged with Bedfont in 2012 to form Bedfont and Feltham.

Plymouth Argyle – 1903-04 3rd Qualifying Round (after getting a bye in Q2, member of the Southern League)

Plymouth Argyle 7 – 0 Whiteheads

Dorset based Whiteheads entered the FA Cup nine times in the first years of the 20th Century making the 5th Qualifying Round in 1902-03 where they lost 9-0 to Swindon Town.

Portsmouth – 1899-1900 1st Qualifying Round (as member of the Southern League)

Portsmouth 10 – 0 Ryde

Formed in 1888, Isle of Wight based Ryde were members of the Hampshire League, re-named Ryde Sports at the start of the 20th Century and entering the FA Cup 49 times, reaching 1st Round ‘Proper’ twice in the 1930s, before dissolving in 2004.

Stevenage – 1983-84 Preliminary Round (as Stevenage Borough, member of the United Counties League)

Stevenage Borough 2 – 0 Milton Keynes City

Original known as Bletchley and Wipac Sports, then as Bletchley Town, this Milton Keynes City club entered FA Cup 24 times before folding in 1985, making the 4th Qualifying Round in 1964/65 and 1965/66.

Wycombe Wanderers – 1895-96 1st Qualifying Round (not in any League)

Wycombe Wanderers 2 – 3 Wolverton London & North Western Railway

Wolverton LNWR were formed in 1887 as Wolverton and had several name changes up until folding in 1992 when simply called Wolverton again. They entered the FA Cup 69 times under the guises of Wolverton LNWR, Wolverton Town, Wolverton Town and British Rail, Wolverton Town (Milton Keynes), Milton Keynes Wolverton Town and as plain Wolverton. The club made the 4th Qualifying Round in 1957-58 as Wolverton Town and British Rail.

Yeovil Town – 1919-20 Preliminary Round (as Yeovil and Petters United, member of the Western League)

Bath City 4 – 4 Yeovil and Petters United (Bath City won 2-0 in replay)

York City – 1923-24 Extra Preliminary Round (as member of the Midland League)

York City 2 – 1 Castleford and Allerton United

Castleford and Allerton United entered the FA Cup six times in the years following the end of WWI making the 3rd Qualifying Round in 1921-22 season.

Worst Performing Clubs in FA Cup

Updates to list provided by @FACupFactfile followers are in Bold

Since the FA Cup began way back in 1871 there have been 3,130 different clubs that have participated in the competition in at least one season (up to and including 2014/15 season).

Of those 3,130 clubs, 134 (now 133) have only taken part in just one season and in that solitary season they were knocked out in the Extra Preliminary Round. These clubs could be adjudged to have the worst FA Cup record.

Below is a list of these 133 clubs indicating the season the club participated in this famous competition and what League the club competed in during that season.

Finding affiliated leagues for some clubs has proved to be very difficult and for 31 clubs in this list I have been unable to verify their league status (if any). Additionally, club histories are notoriously difficult to get absolute clarity on, and it is possible that some of the clubs in the list are actually a different incarnation of another club that has also participated in the competition.

So if you can help identify league status or provide evidence of a link to another club then please leave a comment or contact me on Twitter @FACupFactfile.

Otherwise just simply enjoy some of the more obscure names in FA Cup history!


Clubs with FA Cup Best Performance of Just Once Being Knocked Out in Extra Preliminary Round

Club Season League
Royal Engineers Service Battalion 1903-04 Unknown
Highthorn 1904-05 Sheffield Association League
Birdwell Primitive Methodists 1909-10 Barnsley Association League – Actually Barnsley Junior League
Finedon United 1909-10 Northamptonshire League Division 2
Holme 1909-10 North East Lancashire Combination
Tyldesley Albion 1909-10 Manchester League
Brimington Hotspur 1911-12 East Derbyshire League
New Whittington Exchange 1911-12 East Derbyshire League
North Lindsey Midgets 1911-12 North Lindsey League
South Shields Albion 1911-12 Unknown
Woolwich Royal Artillery 1911-12 Scratched before playing match
Bridlington Albion 1912-13 Bridlington and District League
Cammell’s Sports 1912-13 Unknown – Actually played in Hatchard League
Castleford United 1912-13 Scratched before playing match
Immingham 1912-13 Lincolnshire League Northern Division
Industry Inn 1912-13 Unknown – Actually in Sheffield Licensed Victuallers League
RGA Tynemouth 1912-13 Unknown
Dominion 1913-14 Liverpool County Combination
Hexham Athletic 1913-14 Northern Alliance
Allendale Park 1914-15 Northern Combination
Bolton Athletic (Bradford) 1914-15 Bradford Amateur League
Bournemouth Wanderers 1914-15 Scratched before playing match
Holly Bush (Parkgate) 1914-15 Rotherham Licencsed Victuallers League
Pleasley United 1914-15 Unknown
Tonge Temperance 1914-15 South East Lancashire League
Brompton 1919-20 (Original) Kent League Division 1
Sheffield Simplex Works 1919-20 Sheffield Works League – Actually in Sheffield Association League
Anston United 1920-21 Unknown – Actually played in the Portland Junior League and then changed name to Anston Athletic and has 7 more FA Cup campaigns
Bromborough 1920-21 I-Zingari League Division 1
Frenchay 1920-21 Bristol and District League
Gainsborough Albion 1920-21 Gainsborough and District League
Goldthorpe Colliery 1920-21 South Elmsall League
Grimsby STC 1920-21 Grimsby League
Hull Wanderers 1920-21 Unknown
Jump Working Men’s Club 1920-21 Barnsley Association League – Actually in Barnsley Junior League
Newland Choir 1920-21 East Riding Amateur League
Ryhill Liberal 1920-21 Unknown
Shiphams 1920-21 East Riding County League
Aberaman United 1921-22 Scratched before playing match
Abercarn 1921-22 Monmouth Senior League
Arlington 1921-22 Unknown
Bilston Amateurs 1921-22 Unknown
Blackwood Town 1921-22 Unknown
Boston St Nicholas 1921-22 South Lincolnshire League
Burton Werneth Rangers 1921-22 Burton and District League Division 1
Crofton 1921-22 Unknown
Cross Keys 1921-22 Monmouth Senior League
Darnall Welfare 1921-22 Unknown
Daventry Victoria 1921-22 Northamptonshire League
Donnington Wood Institute 1921-22 Unknown
Earles Welfare 1921-22 Unknown
Machynlleth 1921-22 Welsh National League Central Division
Mansfield Woodhouse Excelsior 1921-22 North Notts League
Netherseal Colliery 1921-22 Burton and District League Division 1
New Tredegar 1921-22 Welsh League (South) Division 2
Rawden 1921-22 Leeds Amateur League
Risca Stars 1921-22 Unknown
Rycroft Athletic 1921-22 Unknown
Staithes United 1921-22 Cleveland League
Sunbeam Motors 1921-22 Walsall Senior League
Hetton United 1922-23 Palatine League
Hitchin Athletic 1922-23 Herts County League North East Division
Blundells 1923-24 Unknown
Hadfield 1923-24 Manchester League
Wingate Athletic 1923-24 Mid-Durham League
8th Durham Light Infantry 1924-25 Houghton and District League Division 2
Croston 1924-25 West Lancashire League
Hereford RAOC 1924-25 Unknown
Hull Technical College Old Boys 1924-25 Unknown
Savoy Hotel 1924-25 Great Western Suburban League
Boxmoor 1925-26 Unknown
Grays Sports 1925-26 Scratched before playing match
Melton 1925-26 East Riding County League
Bean 1926-27 Birmingham Combination
Colne Town 1926-27 Lancashire Combination
East Hull United 1926-27 Unknown
Grimsby YMCA 1926-27 Grimsby League
Savoy (Southall) 1926-27 Unknown
Hemsworth Colliery 1927-28 Doncaster Senior League
Hessle 1928-29 East Riding County League
Pickering St George’s 1929-30 Unknown
West Hartlepool Perseverence 1929-30 Teesside League
Suttons 1930-31 Reading and District League Division 1 West
Westland Works (Petters) 1930-31 Western League Division 2
Portsmouth Albion 1931-32 Portsmouth League
Hebburn St Cuthbert’s 1932-33 Tyneside League
Ramsgate Press Wanderers 1933-34 (Original) Kent League Division 1
Pegswood United 1934-35 North Eastern League Division 2
Whitburn Colliery Welfare 1934-35 Unknown
London Labour 1935-36 Unknown
Imperial Paper Mills 1936-37 Kent Amateur League (Western) Premier Division
4th Royal Tank Regiment 1937-38 Unknown
Leasingthorne 1937-38 Central Durham League
Venner Sports 1937-38 London League Division 1
Chopwell Colliery 1938-39 Northern Alliance
Golcar (Huddersfield) 1938-39 Scratched before playing match
Middleton Wanderers 1938-39 Darlington and District League Division 1
Port of London Authority (Police) 1938-39 London League Division 1
Wardle and Barbridge United 1938-39 Crewe and District League
Washington Chemical Works 1938-39 Wearside League
Trafalgar Sports (Portsmouth) 1946-47 Portsmouth League
Pica 1947-48 West Cumberland League
Botley 1948-49 Hampshire League Division 2
David Brown Athletic 1948-49 Unknown
De Havilland Vampires 1948-49 London League Division 1
Hessle Old Boys (Hull) 1948-49 East Riding County League
St Frideswide (Oxford) 1948-49 Oxfordshire Senior League
Wells Amateurs 1948-49 Scratched before playing match
West End Rovers 1948-49 Unknown
Dickinsons (Apsley) 1949-50 Metropolitan and District League
Ferrybridge Amateur 1949-50 Unknown
Southport Leyland Road 1949-50 Lancashire Amateur League
Usworth Social Club 1949-50 Washington and District Amateur League
Callington 1950-51 Cornwall Senior Cup Eastern Division
Mablethorpe United 1950-51 Lincolnshire League
Neville’s Athletic 1950-51 North Notts League
South Shields Ex-Schoolboys 1950-51 Sunderland Amateur League
Surbiton Town 1950-51 Surrey Senior League
Wallasey Transport 1950-51 Scratched before playing match
Broadbridge Heath 2004-05 Sussex County League Division 2
Cullompton Rangers 2009-10 South West Peninsula League Premier Division
Radford * 2009-10 East Midlands Counties League
Hook Norton * 2010-11 Hellenic League Division 1 West
Askern Villa 2011-12 Northern Counties East League Division 1
Bustleholme 2011-12 West Midlands (Regional) League Division 1
Grimsby Borough 2011-12 Northern Counties East League Division 1
Wellingborough Whitworth * 2012-13 United Counties League Premier Division
Chinnor * 2013-14 Hellenic League Division 1 East
Oldland Abbotonians 2013-14 Western League Division 1
Brimscombe and Thrupp * 2014-15 Hellenic League Premier Division
Hythe and Dibden * 2014-15 Wessex League Division 1
Phoenix Sports * 2014-15 Southern Counties East League
Harrowby United * 2015-16 United Counties League Premier Division
* Club to be removed from this list having competed in 2015-16 FA Cup

The FACTAs 2015-16 – Nominations Shortlist

There are four FACupFactfile Team Awards (FACTAs) to be won for this season’s FA Cup endeavours and the short-list of nominees for each award is listed below. The winners will be announced on Friday 8th January before that evening’s Third Round FA Cup match.

Do leave a comment to vote in one or more of these awards and follow @FACupFactfile on Twitter to see who wins.


FACTA awarded to the club with the biggest positive impact on this season’s competition

Nominated clubs:

Didcot Town – for being the lowest ranked club to make the First Round

Eastleigh – for being the last Non-League club standing

Northwich Victoria – for winning six FA Cup ties which only the eventual winner will match

Salford City – for reaching three rounds further than the club had ever been before in the Cup



FACTA awarded to the club which produced the most memorable single performance in this year’s competition

Nominated clubs:

AFC Fylde – for their 9-0 Third Qualifying Round home win over Coleshill Town

Chesham United – for their 1-0 win away at League Two Bristol Rovers in Round One

Coleshill Town – for their 11-0 Extra Preliminary Round home win over Ellesmere Rangers

Didcot Town – for their 4-3 Preliminary Round win at Wantage Town having been 3-0 down with just 20 minutes remaining

South Park – for their 10-1 Preliminary Round win away at Holmesdale

Westfields – for their Preliminary Round replay win at Kidsgrove Athletic scoring a last minute goal to win 6-5 after extra time after having been 4-0 down at half time.

Worthing – for their 6-5 penalty shoot-out win over St Neots Town in the Second Qualifying Round



FACTA awarded to the club which produced the most unexpected result or Cup run

Nominated clubs:

Brockenhurst – for reaching Third Qualifying Round beating higher league opposition twice

Chesham United – for their 1-0 win away at League Two Bristol Rovers in Round One

Hinckley AFC – for making the Second Qualifying Round in their first FA Cup campaign including a 2-1 win over Redditch United, a club three steps above them in the pyramid

Hoddesdon Town – for reaching Third Qualifying Round beating higher league opposition twice

Hook Norton – for reaching Second Qualifying Round as a Step 6 club in only second ever Cup campaign

Whitehawk – for reaching the ‘Proper’ rounds of the Cup for the first time ever



FACTA awarded to the club who epitomised the spirit of the FA Cup

Nominated clubs:

FC United of Manchester – for their stance regarding kick-off times for FA Cup matches

Grays Athletic – for their amusing posters promoting FA Cup matches

Hartley Wintney – for their spirit and performances against higher level teams

Sporting Khalsa – for their preparations for hosting FC United of Manchester in Fourth Qualifying Round

Do leave a comment to vote in one or more of these awards

My Non-League FA Cup Journey 2015

Here’s a short review and a smattering of snapshots of my journey attending 2015/16 FA Cup matches across the Non-League community. This season I set up this blog and @FACupFactfile on Twitter to promote positive achievements from all clubs in the competition from August to May.

It all began at Hoddesdon Town on Friday 14th August, 2015, a full nine months and thirteen rounds before the FA Cup final itself. The Lilywhites won the match 4-0 against their Essex Senior League opponents, and went on to add the scalps of Romford, Ashford Town and Sittingbourne before succumbing to Step Three opposition in the shape of Brentwood Town in the Third Qualifying Round. It turned out to be the clubs best FA Cup run for 46 years.

Hoddesdon Town v Sawbridgeworth Town Programme

Next up it was a 400+ mile round trip to visit Nelson of the North West Counties Premier League. This visit had specific significance to me as it not only co-incided with ticking off my 100th different football ground, but it was also the first occasion that one of my FA Cup blogs was incorporated into a match-day programme. In fact two articles actually made it into this programme and in to many other Extra Preliminary Round match programmes that day, too.At Nelson-page-001

A very memorable day for me unfortunately did not turn out to be as memorable for my hosts as Northern League Division One side Newton Aycliffe produced a second successive 4-0 result for me, a result that acted as a springboard for The Newts who went on their way to setting a new club record by reaching the Second Qualifying Round of the FA Cup for the first time. The day didn’t end for me at the final whistle, though, as I was contacted on my way back by BBC Five Live’s The Non-League Show with a request to be interviewed for that evening’s show, to be aired the next morning. I made it back home in time for the interview, thanks to seasoned groundhopper Laurence Reade’s excellent driving, and enjoyed discussing my FA Cup Factfile with Liam Bradford who was standing in for Caroline Barker.

My experience of Friday night FA Cup football in the Preliminary Round almost didn’t happen as major accidents on both the M4 and the A34 on that Bank Holiday weekend meant my expected 40 minute journey to Sholing took nearly three times as long to get there, and the away side, Swindon Supermarine, were in danger of not making it all. Thankfully everyone had allowed enough time to ensure the match went ahead. The first person I met on arrival, though, was not a football supporter but a pigeon fancier attending a meeting at the Vosper Thorneycroft Pigeon Club, sited in the grounds of the sports complex, complete with pigeons in tow.SAM_1024.JPG

A very entertaining game ended with six goals and Supermarine winning 4-2, although this wasn’t to be a platform for a great Cup run as The Marines came undone in the very next round losing 4-0 at home to Winchester. However, all the folks at Sholing made it a fabulous experience for me, including inviting me into the board-room for pre-match and half-time drinks.

The next day was my wedding anniversary, but that didn’t stop me from attending an FA Cup match. My wife and I spent the morning in Liphook looking at potential racehorses, one of which we would be ‘owners for one day’ as a birthday gift. Scouring the Preliminary Round fixtures I determined that this half day experience could be fitted in with a trip to Farnham Town on our return, who were hosting Highworth Town. My better half is not keen on attending football matches, but Farnham was also a favourite town from her youth, so she just about accepted the idea of us doing something different for part of our anniversary day.

Inside the Farnham Town Clubhouse

Farnham town centre proved not to have enough to keep her occupied for the full two hours I was at the ground, so she did make a rare, very exceptional visit to join me pitch-side for the last 20 minutes of the Cup tie won 4-2 by the home side. I’m not sure she enjoyed it as much as I did, but now I can no longer say that she hasn’t ever spent time with me on my hobby. A second successive six-goal thriller meant that I had witnessed 20 goals in my four FA Cup matches so far. I might not have always been able to bring luck to my hosts, but I definitely could bring entertainment to my fellow supporters.

A week or so before the First Qualifying Round I was invited to attend the Bedfont and Feltham versus AFC Rushden and Diamonds tie by the secretary, match programme editor and Twitter Account manager of the Bedfont club. It was a fantastic gesture and one which I agreed to readily, although I did have one specific caveat: access to their Wi-Fi so I could submit results that I collate for the North Berks Football League to BBC Radio Oxford for their transmission before six o’clock. This turned out to require me to be stationed in an ante-room next to the club’s board-room, a room used by the club treasurer for counting the revenue from the gate who hadn’t been informed I’d be there.22 Bedfont

In the match itself The Diamonds made the two league difference between the two teams count and won a tight encounter 2-1, going on from here to reach the Fourth Qualifying Round for the first time ever in their history. As for Bedfont and Feltham, they provided an excellent post-match bar-be-cue and drinks reception which I ruefully had to leave before enjoying to the full.29 Bedfont

My goals-per-game average had been reduced slightly, but that was quickly addressed when I attended a replay involving the team closest to my home that partake in the FA Cup, Didcot Town. The Railwaymen had come back from three down with 20 minutes to go in the previous round to defeat Wantage Town and had held Isthmian League Premier side VCD Athletic to a one-one draw in the first match of this round. This time the club again had to come back after initially being behind, but eventually won this ding-dong tie 4-3 with yet another late winner. This result not only became part of an amazing run for the South Oxfordshire side all the way to the First Round Proper for the first time in their history (scoring 19 goals in the process), but also re-established my goals-per-game average back up to five.

For the Second Qualifying Round I decided to visit Hook Norton FC, a club who had only ever appeared in the Extra Preliminary Round of the competition some five years previously, and were now being pitted against a National League South side in the shape of Weston-super-Mare. And how glad I was that I did. It’s fair to say that the welcome I received from all clubs I visited this season in the FA Cup was as friendly and as warm as it possibly could be, but if I had to single out one club for the way they embraced me (a complete stranger) then it has to be Hook Norton. The club is sited in a beautiful north Oxfordshire village and it appeared that the whole village had turned out to watch the match.WIN_20150926_134124

I spent time before the game getting to know those involved in running the club and couldn’t help but be in awe of the commitment and enthusiasm there was for the club, and for making sure their big day went off as best as possible. From a cricket hut acting as a beer cellar to the chairman posing for a photo with the tem-sheet on a small white-board, there was something particularly quirky about this Step Six club. In the end, despite matching their higher league opponents for most of the match, the club went down 2-1, although they scored the best goal I saw live this season when equalising late on in the game.

Long-standing family commitments meant that I was unable to attend a Third Qualifying Round match, and so my next trip was for the following Fourth Qualifying tie between Chesham United and Enfield Town. The visitors were celebrating setting a new milestone in their own FA Cup history whilst the Generals were looking to make it to the First Round Proper for the first time in 21 years.WIN_20151024_150127

In the end it wasn’t a spectacular match, although the right team won 2-1 on the day, and it was played in a great spirit watched by two sets of fans happy to be involved. It’s testament to the friendly nature of many clubs in the non-league pyramid that when clubs elect to change ends after the coin-toss, both sets of fans can walk around to the opposite end of the pitch, cross each other’s paths, completely without incident. The Enfield Town Ultras were very vocal, but the atmosphere was always one of joviality and jocularity.WIN_20151024_145843

For my First Round Proper match I wanted to watch a club that was experiencing this far into the competition for the first time in their history. I was able to see Salford City courtesy of the BBC so I opted to attend Barwell versus Welling United instead. I’d heard the club made the best tasting burgers in non-league football so that was a nice extra incentive to visit them. Despite a difficult trip, I made it to the ground in plenty of time where a parking space had been reserved for me, and headed straight for a burger. It did not disappoint (a point I made on an American internet radio show the following week). It was definitely the best non-league burger I had tasted, but (and this is a big but) Barwell was only the 85th non-league ground I’d visited and there are at least 6,000 others I’ve yet to experience.WIN_20151107_135952

As for the game, it wasn’t to be for the home side, commendably bowing out just 2-0 to the National League side, and all the players and officials can be proud of setting a new benchmark in FA Cup glory for the club.

There was only one tie to attend in the Second Round, the all non-league encounter between Stourbridge and Eastleigh. Not only was this the only Second Round tie between two non-league clubs, but whichever side won would be reaching the Third Round for the first time in their history. Despite it being the biggest game Stourbridge had ever put on, and despite having to accommodate BBC coverage at noon before the game kicked off, the club still found time to greet me upon arrival and invite me into the inner echelons of their club house, which had been taken over for the day by the media and priority club sponsors. Another non-league club full of generous spirit.WIN_20151205_131013

Because of demand for tickets I was in with the Spitfires fans, but this didn’t spoil my experience, and in a way because they won the match 2-0 I managed to get the best of all worlds at the match. By winning the game, Eastleigh became the only non-league side to progress to the Third Round Proper, the first time this has happened since 1969, and will host Championship side Bolton Wanderers. Hopes will be high that they can overcome this financially struggling club, and I’m sure the majority of non-league fan, clubs and officials will be willing them to do just that.WIN_20151205_145909