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If you are a footballer in England, especially a professional one, you are surely dreaming of playing a game at Wembley Stadium. But if you don’t play for top-tier clubs, the only chance for that might be FA Trophy.
This unique competition marked 50 years of existence in 2019, which is why we decided to dedicate an entire article to it. Our guide includes basic FA Trophy information, as well as interesting details from its history.
How Did the Competition Start?
The full name of the competition is The Football Association Challenge Trophy, but we all know it as FA Trophy. Its history started in 1969 when the FA decided to start a new tournament designed only for non-league clubs.
Over time, the competition proved to be a success. Today, it is open to clubs playing in the first for tiers of the National League System, which includes the National League and its subdivisions, as well as the Northern Premier League, Southern Leagues, Isthmian League, and their subdivisions.
You can even bet on the outcomes on these matches as reputable bookies include them to their offer. But if you are a player, that might not be a wise move. Instead, you can play games in an online casino. According to the Platinum Play Review, you can try slots, roulette, live games, and take advantage of great bonuses available on this platform.
Wembley Stadium Was Always the First Choice for the Final Game
The Football Association wanted to make a fuss about the competition from the start. Thanks to the great support of the governing body, the FA Trophy final was always the first choice for the final game.
All final matches, except for three replays, had been played on the original Wembley. Once the time came for its reconstruction in 2000, the FA moved the final matches to Villa Park. The Boleyn Ground (Upton Park) was the host of a single final in 2006 before the new Wembley Stadium became eligible in 2007.
And if you were wondering, the other stadiums where replays of the final match took place included The Hawthorns (home of West Bromwich Albion F.C.) and Victoria Ground (Stoke City used to play there).
Only One Club from Those Who Won Three Trophies Is Still Active
At this moment, a total of 33 clubs had the privilege to win at least a single FA Trophy. Ten of them won the cup on two occasions, and only three teams were the winners three times. The list includes Telford United, Woking, and Scarborough.
The interesting thing is that only Woking is still active from those clubs. Telford United won their last trophy in 1989, and they are considered to be the most successful FA Trophy club because they also lost two finals. Unfortunately, the club was forced to shut down the club fifteen years later. The supports established a successor to the club called AFC Telford United.
Scarborough shared a similar destiny, except this club was dissolved in 2007. It was exactly three decades after they won their last FA Trophy.
The Biggest Attendance Occurred in 2007
Unfortunately, an FA Trophy match still hasn’t managed to fill the entire capacity of the New Wembley Stadium. The closest to that was in 2007 when Stevenage Borough beat Kidderminster Harriers 3:2. The exact attendance was 53,262 spectators, and that is still the record of the competition.
It is interesting to note that it was one of the best matches in the history of the finals. Kidderminster had a big lead at halftime, but Stevenage scored three goals in the second half to win the cup.
Here are some other interesting facts about the competition:
- Macclesfield Town was the first club ever to lift the FA Trophy cup.
- Scarborough won all three trophies between 1973 and 1977.
- Woking, Scarborough, Kingstonian, and Grays Athletic are the only teams who won the FA Trophy consecutively. Nobody ever won it more than two times in a row.
- The famous manager Martin O’Neill won two trophies with Wycombe Wanderers.