Forgetable FA Cup Final ground | inside World Soccer


Forgetable FA Cup Final ground

Monday, May 5, 2008

Everyone knows the FA Cup Finals is held at Wembley, beside it has been played at Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge.

But do you know it was also played in a ground called Lillie Bridge? Where the hell is it?!

The Lillie Bridge Grounds, that was the official name of it, was a sports ground in London and opened around 1867. It wasn't far to present day Stamford Bridge.

The ground was closed on 1888 after Stamford Bridge had opened and a riot on September 18, 1887, when a mob went wild and set fire to the stands after an athletics event was cancelled.

Lillie Bridge was most famous for hosting the second FA Cup Final on 1873. The kick-off was scheduled at 11 A.M., so that people could go on to watch the Boat Race afterwards.

Wanderers, the last year winner, went through to the final without having to play anyone. It was The FA Challenge Cup and that was the rule then.

They were also allowed to choose the venue and they selected for Lillie Bridge - they didn't have a home ground back then.

The FA Cup in 1873 was the one and only time that the cup was a challenge, hence the name FA Challenge Cup.

The term challenge had been added to the cup's title because the original intention of the FA was that the holders would be challenged by the last team left in the competition for the trophy itself.

Wanderers entered the match as champions and Oxford University as challengers. But last year's winning captain, Charles Alcock, and the winning goal scorer on 1872, Morton Betts, were absent due to the Boat Race.

In 1873 the Boat Race was a big sporting event and ironically it was on the same day at the time and both players and spectators alike wouldn't want to miss it.

The Lillie Bridge was a top London sporting venue back in 1873. Besides football, the grounds also hosted boxing, cricket and athletics.

The ground was hosted The Amateur Athletics Club until 1877 and numerous world records were set there. One of them was a new world record for the high jump with a leap of 6' 2.5" named by Marshall Brooks.

The ground also hosted hot air ballon festivals and county fairs back in the Victorian era.

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