The FA Cup is, without a doubt, a huge part of English football, and the history of the FA Cup trophy itself is a rich and colourful one. First held in the 1871-72 season, the FA Cup is the oldest football competiton in the world and provides a unique opportunity for smaller teams to face the top teams. The FA Cup Final is a huge sporting event and it has an iconic trophy to match.
All about the FA Cup Trophy
Despite what you might have otherwise thought, there is actually quite a tale to tell in regards to the many versions of the trophy that have been used since the inception of the FA Cup. As of 2016, there have been five different trophies used, which is surprisingly few given how this has spanned over a hundred years. Each one was made by a different manufacturer and comes with its own story on how it came to be and why it was retired.
Between 1872 and 1910, English clubs competed for small trophies. The first was made for £20 by Martin, Hall & Co, but was stolen from a shoe shop in Birmingham in 1895 and never resurfaced. It was revealed almost sixty years later that the cup had, in fact, been melted and used to make counterfeit money. After its disappearance, another trophy was made as a replica of the first and used up until 1910, at which point it was given to Lord Arthur Kinnaird, who was the FA’s long-serving president. It is now on display at the National Football Museum in Manchester for the public to view.
In 1911, Fattorini’s of Bradford designed and made a new trophy, which was significantly larger than the previous two. Even though it still exists, it has become too fragile to use and, therefore, another one was made in 1992 by Toye, Kenning and Spencer. This fourth model was a replica of the one that came before it and even came with a back-up in case anything were to happen to it. This version of the cup was used until 2014, when it was decided that a new trophy should be manufactured.
The fifth trophy created for the tournament is the one that is currently being used. It was made by Thomas Lyte Silver who are both the FA’s silversmiths and the official restorers of silverware to Buckingham Palace. Specifically, it was handcrafted by one of their workers, Kevin Williams, who was actually in charge of looking after the fourth trophy for eighteen years. Made from Sterling 925 silver, this trophy is a lot heavier than the previous versions. More than 250 hours went into its construction and it was designed specifically to be an exact replica of the 1911 trophy.
One aspect of the cup that has changed in its fifth incarnation is that, whilst the previous versions would be placed in the trophy cabinet of the winning team for a year, this one is instead a touring attraction. As such, members of the public are allowed to see it and it can be rented out to the likes of schools. This is one of the reasons that it has been specifically made to be of sturdier construction than its predecessors, which became easily worn down over the years.
The trophy that has left an incredible legacy
The FA Cup is an iconic trophy with a very distinctive history. Since the FA Cup Final was started, the presentation of the trophy to the winning team has been a momentous occasion, especially in regards to the players and the fans of that particular team. Every effort has been made over the years to make sure that each successive trophy has been worthy of the one that came before it, showing just how much the Football Association treasures it. Now in its fifth incarnation, the use of this trophy is more pronounced now than it ever was before and, with the other available ones also on display, the public is allowed to enjoy this history for themselves while dreaming that their team will get the glory of winning.
This article was provided by Aford Awards. There is a lot that goes into the construction of such products and we are proud to share with you the history of something as historic as the FA Cup.