FA Cup is formed
The 20th of July 1871 AD
The Football Association came into being on October 26 1863, at a gathering in the Freemason’s Tavern in London ’s Great Queen Street. The meeting had been suggested by player Ebenezer Cobb Morley, partly to codify the laws of the game. Morley himself drew up a set of laws, and these were debated and revised during six meetings at the hostelry, the last of which took place in December 1863. The undeveloped nature of the game at that point can be understood from the withdrawal of Blackheath from the FA when running with the ball was disallowed at the penultimate meeting.
There were 11 founder members of the FA, Charterhouse having attended the first meeting but declined to join.
It was not until eight years had passed that the idea of a challenge cup was mooted by Honorary Secretary Charles Alcock at a meeting at the offices of The Sportsman Newspaper, held on July 20 1871. His suggestion was based on memories of enjoying the inter-house competition when at Harrow .
By 1871 the membership of the association had risen to 50, but only 15 were accepted to take part in the competition once its rules had been established – this took three months of discussions following Alcock’s original proposal. At the draw for the first round of the new tourney Hampstead Heathens were lucky enough to get a bye, and the first four matches were arranged for November 11 1871. It is not known if Sir Trevor Brooking oversaw the draw that year.
The FA had codified the rules governing the game, and now they hoped by arranging a grand competition to unify the association’s membership, and perhaps to spread the word about the still new game. More than 130 years on their hopes can be said to have been exceeded.
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