As you all are soccer fans over here, you must have heard about FA Community Shield in the last few days and even before that. FYI, it is a “curtain-raiser” match before the English football season starts. As per the tradition, it is played between the winner of the last year’s FA Cup and the Premier League Season champion from the last year. You may already know about the FA Community Shield match of 2020 between Arsenal and Liverpool where the former won the match on penalties. But do you know about its history? It’s the development and history are as interesting as smokingthigs so, let’s get down to its roots and find out how it has been a tradition for many years.
The history of today’s Community Shield goes back to over 200 years which had been started as Sherriff of London Charity Shield from 1898 to 1907. It used to be played between amateur players and professionals. When the amateur clubs had differences with Football Association, it was discontinued and was renamed The Football Association Charity Shield. The first match was organized in 1908 and was played between the champions of the Football League First Division (Manchester United) and Queens Park Rangers, which were the champions of the Southern League. The match was played at Stamford Bridge and it was played twice since the first game was drawn thus, making this as the only game to be played twice in the history of Charity Shield where Manchester United won.
The format of this charity competition match sustained to change over the years until the rule of the match between FA Cup holders and Season champion came to rule in 1930. Though the first match between cup holders and champions was played in 1921, the rule of the format was not in existence. From 1913 to 1929, six matches between professionals and amateurs were played (1913, 1923-1926, and 1929).
Exceptions in the Format After 1930
Even the rule of the format was established in 1930 as it would be played between cup winners and the champions, there were several exceptions.
- FA Charity Shield (1950) – the FA World Championship selection played against a team from the FA that had completed a promotional tour in Canada.
- FA Charity Shield (1961) – When Tottenham Hotspur became champion of the season as well as FA Cup holder, the match was played between the FA selection team.
- FA Charity Shield (1971) – Arsenal won both the titles in the same seasons but couldn’t appear in the competition due to some other commitments so, the match was played between Leicester City (Division Two champions) and Liverpool (FA Cup finalist)
- FA Charity Shield (1972) – When both FA Cup holder team (Leeds United) and championship winner (Derby County) couldn’t agree to play the match, it was contested between Manchester City (4th number in the First Division) and Aston Villa (Champions – Third Division).
Before 1974, the Charity Shield or Community Shield games were played at various stadiums i.e. Stamford Bridge, White Hart Lane, Old Trafford, and some other. But since then London’s Wembley Stadium (earlier known as Empire Stadium) serves as the permanent stadium for FA Community Shield matches.
While the construction work was in progress from 2000 to 2007 at Wembley Stadium, the national stadium of Wales, Millennium Stadium (Cardiff) served as the temporary stadium.