FA CUP PICTURE SPECIAL: Glorious photos look back at the history of the competition

Adapted from The Cup: A Pictorial Celebration Of The World’s Greatest Football Tournament by Richard Whitehead, published by Pitch at £25. To order a copy for £22.50 (offer valid to 21/05/22; UK P&P free on orders over £20), visit www.mailshop.co.uk/books or call 020 3176 2937.

The FA Cup was born from humble roots – a clash between Wanderers and Royal Engineers in the first ever final on March 16, 1872 at the Kennington Oval in London. 150 years on, and it is a global institution.


Today, 90,000 supporters will pack into Wembley to watch their teams fight it out for the prestigious trophy, in what is the greatest knockout competition in history.

It has grown ever more popular, with just 15 teams entering the first edition in comparison to the 729 that took part this season in the hope of making memories.

This campaign, Chelsea and Liverpool will renew their fierce rivalry. 

For the Blues, it is their second successive appearance in the final, while the latter are gunning it out for a sensational Quadruple under Jurgen Klopp.

But ahead of the game, Sportsmail has looked back at the best pictures from the FA Cup over the years, stretching all the way back to grainy images from 1883.

Below, the construction of Wembley, upsets and Bobby Moore relaxing with a beer will delight and enthral in the build-up to the biggest cup game of them all.


1883: The Blackburn Olympic side who won the FA Cup are pictured; they were the first northern club to clinch the trophy

1915: Wounded soldiers watch the FA Cup final between Sheffield United and Chelsea at Old Trafford, Manchester 

1923: The construction of Wembley was underway (L) in the same year Bolton and West Ham faced each other in the final (R)

1931: West Bromwich Albion’s victorious players return home with the trophy, pictured in front of a train at Paddington Station

1939: George Formby holds the trophy at the start of a Portsmouth match, soon after they won the FA Cup by beating Wolves

1946: Derby County’s captain Jack Nicholas and the squad return with the trophy after they beat Charlton Athletic in the final

1949: Wolverhampton Wanderers’ captain Billy Wright and the FA Cup are held aloft after they beat Leicester City in the final

1956: Manchester City’s Don Revie (R) and Bert Trautmann (L) celebrate with the FA Cup after their side beat Birmingham

1958: Manchester United captain Bill Foulkes takes part in a coin toss in their first match after the Munich Air Disaster

1963: West Ham captain Bobby Moore spends some quiet minutes with a beer after his team reached the FA Cup final

1967: Young Huddersfield supporters invaded the pitch after their team opened the scoring against Chelsea in the third round

1972: Over 40,000 people turned up to watch West Ham play Hereford, but those without tickets watched from a building

1973: Sunderland goalkeeper Jim Montgomery is pictured making his famous, superb double save against Leeds United

1974: Liverpool manager Bill Shankly is seen with the FA Cup at his feet on the train back from their 3-0 win over Newcastle

1976: Southampton players celebrate with the FA Cup trophy during a parade in the streets after they beat Manchester United

1985: Kevin Moran of Manchester United is sent off by referee Peter Willis in their 1-0 defeat by Everton in the FA Cup final

1989: Liverpool and Nottingham Forest players are seen lining up for their reconvened game after the Hillsborough Tragedy

1991: Paul Gascoigne celebrates with Tottenham team-mate Gary Lineker after scoring his second goal against Oxford United

1999: Manchester United great Ryan Giggs is mobbed by his team-mates after scoring his infamous goal against Arsenal

2012: Chelsea defender Ashley Cole celebrates with the FA Cup trophy after his side beat Liverpool in the final at Wembley

2020: Christian Pulisic wheels away after scoring Chelsea’s goal against Arsenal in the behind closed doors final in the capital


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