The Twohundredpercent Vault: The Parallel Universe Of The FA Amateur Cup

The final day of the Twohundredpercent summer holidays kicks off with a look back at the history of the FA Amateur Cup. In a modern age of sponsors’ names, play-offs and the occasional feeling that we have reached a point in football at which change is the only constant, The FA Amateur Cup is a name that is absolutely reeks of a different age. It calls to mind an era of oak-panelled board rooms infused with the aroma of cigar smoke, of The Great And The Good, decked out with monocles and walrus moustaches, making decisions for the benefit of “The Game”, but which largely served to benefit themselves the most. It is a long lost world of obsolete phrases such as “Old Boys”, “gentleman players” and “shamateurism”, and its decline was rapid as the FA ended one of its most enduring idiosyncracies in the face of a problem that threatened to mushroom out of all control. Yet at its height the FA Amateur Cup Final was, albeit briefly, a sporting event that could almost rival the FA Cup Final itself. The formation of the competition came at the behest of the oldest football club in the world, Sheffield FC. By the start of the 1890s, the professionals had won the argument over who provided the best players. The Football League had begun in 1888 and this was a...

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