Ahead of the First Round of this season’s Emirates FA Cup, The FA has today launched a campaign to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the world’s longest-running knockout football competition.
The FA Challenge Cup was established 150 years ago, with the first matches taking place on 11 November 1871 following a proposal by the then Secretary of the Association, Charles W. Alcock, with a vision to bring hope, opportunity and equality to football.
To kick-off the season-long campaign celebrating the competition’s 150th anniversary, The FA has unveiled a film which features two-time winner Ian Wright and showcases how Alcock’s founding values are just as relevant and important today.
The film has been released across The Emirates FA Cup’s digital channels and brings to life the rich history and traditions of the competition, while highlighting the impact that it continues to provide at all levels of the football pyramid. No other competition offers amateur or semi-professional players a chance to take on the world’s best and provide a financial and emotional lift to clubs and communities in the process.
Supporting the film will be a series of large-scale image projections up and down the country. Key figures and moments through the years have been displayed on landmarks that best depict the competition’s values alongside scripted lines from the film. These projection sites are:
- The Oval, London – Charles W. Alcock features on the playing surface at the venue of the very first Final which was contested by Wanderers and Royal Engineers on 16 March 1872
- Trulife Factory, Sheffield – Jamie Vardy became the first person to play in every possible round when he lifted the trophy with Leicester City last season and is celebrated at his place of work when he appeared in it for the first time with Stocksbridge Park Steels in 2007
- Coventry Transport Museum – Cyrille Regis, a pioneer for players of black heritage, lights up the home of the open-top trophy tour bus which transported him and his Coventry City teammates through the streets of the city after they won the competition in 1987
- LNER Stadium, Lincoln – the home of Lincoln City, who became the first non-league team in 103 years to make the Quarter Finals when they faced Arsenal in 2017, securing their financial future and funding a new training ground complex
- Marine Travel Arena, Merseyside – the 3,000 capacity ground ‘hosted’ 32,000 virtual ticket holders due to the Coronavirus pandemic when Marine AFC faced Tottenham Hotspur in the Third Round of last season’s competition. The fixture represented the biggest gap in league places  between teams facing each other in competition’s history and created a lasting legacy for both the club and local community
Mark Bullingham, The FA’s CEO, said: "The Emirates FA Cup may be 150 years old but it’s a competition that has never felt more relevant as it continues to lift the clubs, communities and supporters of more than 700 teams that take part each year. The competition has transformed the fortunes of many clubs and individuals over 15 decades and this campaign will highlight some of these life-changing stories.
"Over £25 million in broadcast fees and prize money will be distributed this season, which should help clubs across the country to tackle some of the issues that they face as we move out of the pandemic. We will continue to celebrate the competition throughout its historic season and look forward to seeing clubs across the country create even more memories through to the Final in May."
The Emirates FA Cup continues this weekend with the lowest-ranked side left in the competition, AFC Sudbury, kicking-off the First Round against their local rivals Colchester United on Friday 5 November. The game will be broadcast live on BBC Two from 19:55 and be followed by five further ties across the weekend that have been selected for live television coverage by the BBC and ITV. The return of ITV as a host broadcaster means that the competition will be completely free-to-air for the first time since 2015.
The 150th anniversary of the competition will continue to be recognised and celebrated by The FA throughout the season, culminating in the Final at Wembley on Saturday 14 May 2022.
The film can be viewed here or below and more details about the competition can be found on TheFA.com
Michelle Regis, daughter of Cyrille, next to the Coventry Transport Museum projection
Michelle Regis, daughter of Cyrille, next to the 1987 bus