1875 FA Cup Final
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1875 FA Cup Final

1875 FA Cup Final
Royal engineers 1875.jpg
The Royal Engineers AFC squad that won the FA Cup. Left to right (standing): Mulholland (did not play in final), Onslow, Stafford, Rawson, Mein, Wingfield; (middle): Ruck, Merriman, Tailyour, Donop; (down): Sim, Jones (did not play in final).
Event1874-75 FA Cup
Royal Engineers won after a replay
After extra time
Date13 March 1875 (1875-03-13)
VenueKennington Oval, London
RefereeCharles Alcock
Date16 March 1875 (1875-03-16)
VenueKennington Oval, London
RefereeCharles Alcock

The 1875 FA Cup Final was a football match between Royal Engineers and Old Etonians on 13 March 1875 at Kennington Oval in London. It was the fourth final of the world's oldest football competition, the Football Association Challenge Cup (known in the modern era as the FA Cup). Heading into the final, the Royal Engineers were playing in their third final after losing the 1872 and 1874 finals while the Old Etonians were playing in their first FA Cup final. [1]

Prior to the final, the Royal Engineers had played one more match than the Old Etonians with the Etonians getting a bye in the second round due to the odd number of the teams that had entered the tournament. 2,000 people saw the match which ended in a 1-1 draw, Henry Renny-Tailyour scored for the Engineers but Alexander Bonsor replied to have the match end in a draw and have the final being replayed for the first time with two goals from Renny-Tailyour sealing the Royal Engineers' first and only FA Cup title.

Route to the final

The Engineers, who lost the final on two of the three previous occasions, kicked off with a resounding 3-0 win over Marlow. They kept the scoring feat up in the next round, beating Cambridge University 5-0. The Quarter Final was a closely fought match against Clapham Rovers, just prevailing 3-2. The Semi-final produced a repeat fixture of the final of 1874, as the Engineers faced Oxford University. This time, the Engineers won 1-0.

The Old Etonians started off against the Swifts, which proved a very tough match. After two drawn games, the Etonians managed to pull off a 3-0 victory. In the second round they received a bye which led them into the quarter-finals. Following a win against Maidenhead, they played Shropshire Wanderers. An extremely close match was just edged out by a single goal to nil.[2]

Final matches

The first match was notable chiefly because it was played in a "howling gale". The conditions considerably favoured the Etonians team, which had the wind at its backs for all but 10 minutes of the 90, and all 30 minutes of extra time (teams in this period changed ends after every goal- this game was the last to feature this rule).[3] Cuthbert Ottaway received an ankle injury after 37 minutes into the final, following a collision with Richard Ruck, and was forced to leave the field; in his absence, the Old Boys were regarded as fortunate to have held on for a 1-1 draw.[4]

Ottaway failed to recover in time for the replay, held only three days later, and Etonians also lost the services of three other players who had prior commitments. Unable to obtain adequate replacements, the Old Boys arrived at the ground an hour late and lost the delayed replay 0-2. Henry Renny-Tailyour scored all three goals in both matches for the Engineers.[5]a

The newspaper The Observer published the following chronicle of the match on 14 March 1875:

... considering the coldness of the weather, there was a large attendance of visitors, who must have numbered over 1,000... With the change of ends, the Engineers soon showed their superiority, and five minutes had scarcely elapsed before Von Donop ran the ball a short distance along the right side, planting it well in front of the Old Etonians goal, and Renny-Tailyour, who was in waiting, had little difficult in scoring the goal. The Engineers wore scarlet and blue jerseys and stockings, and blue serge knickerbockers, the Old Etonians being dressed in blue and white, which difference of uniform made the players on either side very discernible.[6]


Attendance: 2,000


Attendance: 3,000


  • ^a Several modern sources claim that Stafford scored the second goal in the replay,[7][8][9] but no contemporaneous reports support this, most of which report that the ball crossed the line in a goalmouth scramble.[10] In an amendment to his obituary in the Royal Engineers' Journal published in February 1922, the biographer credits Renny-Tailyour with both goals in the replay.[11]


  1. ^ 1874-75 Competition Results by Macario Reyes on the RSSSF
  2. ^ "When the Sappers won the FA Cup". Archive.org. UK: Royal Engineers Museum. 20 December 2006. Archived from the original on 12 September 2010.
  3. ^ Motson, John, "Motson's FA Cup Odyssey: The World's Greatest Knockout Competition", Robson Publishing, 2005
  4. ^ "FA Cup Final: 1875". www.fa-cupfinals.co.uk. Retrieved 2020.
  5. ^ "The English Association Football Challenge Cup". Montrose, Arbroath and Brechin Review. 19 March 1875. p. 4. Retrieved 2020.
  6. ^ 1875 FA Cup Final on Newspapers.com
  7. ^ Gibbons 2001, p. 45.
  8. ^ Collett 2003, p. 528.
  9. ^ "History & Statistics: The English FA Cup". IFFHS. Retrieved 2020.
  10. ^ Warsop 2004, pp. 32-33.
  11. ^ "Memoirs: Col. H.W. Renny-Tailyour" (PDF). The Royal Engineers Journal. XXXII: 123-125. September 1920. Retrieved 2020.
    "The late Colonel H. W. Renny-Tailyour" (PDF). The Royal Engineers Journal. XXXIV: 103. February 1922. Retrieved 2020.


  • Collett, Mike (2003). The Complete Record of the FA Cup. Sports Books. ISBN 1-899807-19-5.
  • Gibbons, Philip (2001). Association Football in Victorian England - A History of the Game from 1863 to 1900. Upfront Publishing. ISBN 1-84426-035-6.
  • Warsop, Keith (30 November 2004). The Early F.A. Cup Finals and the Southern Amateurs. Nottingham: SoccerData. ISBN 978-1899468782.

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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