Along with EC Morley, Charles William Alcock was the leading administrator in the early days of football. In combination with his elder brother John, Alcock had been instrumental in the formation of the Forest Football Club and John Alcock represented Forest at the inaugural meeting of the FA. CW Alcock succeeded Morley as the secretary of the FA in 1870 and it was in this role that he proposed what would go on to be the most important domestic cup competition in the world.
This list of participants reflected the overwhelming Southern dominance which existed within the FA at the time. Only Donington Grammar School (based in Lincolnshire) and Queen’s Park (based in Glasgow) entered from outside the South East. The tournament itself did not run smoothly. Harrow Chequers, Reigate Priory and Donington Grammar School all withdrew without playing a game.
Queen’s Park were permitted a bye to the semi-finals on account of the distance and cost of travelling. The club were only able to travel to London for the game due to a special public subscription which was raised to pay for them. When they reached London they faced the Wanderers (the new name of the Forest club which had been changed in1864), and they managed a valiant draw. However, given the additional cost that would have been required for them to stay for a replay they returned to Scotland allowing the Wanderers to progress to the final.
|Wanderers v. Royal Engineers (above) formations|
Shortly after Cresswell’s injury Robert Vidal, known as “the prince of dribblers”, picked up the ball from deep and surged forward supplying a looping cross to “AH Chequer” which allowed him to score. Chequer was actually a pseudonym for Morton Betts and reflected his membership of the Harrow Chequers club. Shortly after Betts had opened the scoring for Wanderers, CW Alcock appeared to have increased their advantage though it was disallowed by referee Alfred Stair on the basis of handball.
The Royal Engineers could find no response, and the result ended 1-0. The game was judged by Sporting Life to have been a “most pleasant contest” and the tournament had certainly proved popular. A month later EC Morley presented the “little tin idol”, as the first FA Cup came to be known, to the Wanderers team. So began the oldest cup competition of them all.