FA Cup: The War of the Roses (1890)

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It’s the FA Cup final this weekend, the traditional showpiece end of the football season – so we’ve been looking at some interesting finals of the past. Today’s final is from 1890, when Blackburn Rovers played Sheffield Wednesday in the first battle of the football War of the Roses…

The 1890 FA Cup final was the first time a team from Yorkshire had faced a team from Lancashire in the competition. If you know your history, you’ll know that this fact was guaranteed to add a little spice to the proceedings!

Held again at the Kennington Oval (which, incidentally, is one of only two venues to have hosted England football and cricket internationals as well as FA Cup finals – the other being Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane ground), this final marked the eighth and last appearance of Major Francis Marindin as referee.

An influential figure in the early development of what we would now see as the modern game during the nineteenth century, Marindin began as a player and was later described as “one of the outstanding referees who really knows the rules”.

On the day, poor old Wednesday were absolutely thrashed 6-1, which, I believe, is still a Cup final record score. Another record was set that day, when William Townley (who was later to go on to great success as a coach on the Continent) scored the first ever Cup final hat-trick, which helped send Blackburn home to Lancashire with the FA Cup trophy for the fourth time.

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