Monday, March 29, 2010

29 March 1884 - The Scots Invade England

On 29 March 1884, Glasgow club Queen's Park FC became the first non-English club to appear in an FA Cup Final, losing 2-1 to Blackburn Rovers (pictured, with the Cup).

Queen's Park, founded in 1867, was Scotland's first football club. In 1870, they joined England's Football Association in order to challenge themselves against tougher competition than was available in Scotland (Scotland did not yet have its own FA at the time).

The Scottish side started the 1883-84 FA Cup in brilliant fashion, traveling to Crewe Alexandra, where they crushed their hosts 0-10 in the First Round. The did even better in the Second Round, beating Manchester FC 15-0, then kept their momentum with wins over Oswestry Town (1-7) and Aston Villa (6-1) in the Third and Fourth Rounds, respectively. Their closest match on the way to the Final was a 0-1 Fifth Round victory over Old Westminsters, but they regained their dominant form in the semifinals, beating Blackburn Olympic 4-0.

While Blackburn's road to the Final was not as dominating (despite a couple of 7-0 wins, the matches were generally closer contests), they proved to be more than a match for the Scots. The two sides maintained an even balance for the first twenty minutes until Blackburn roared ahead with two late first-half goals in quick succession. Queen's Park pulled one back before the half-time whistle, but could not find an equalizer as Blackburn bossed them around the pitch in the second half.

Queen's Park returned to the Final the following season, again losing to Blackburn, this time 2-0. They remained the only non-English side to reach the Final until Welsh club Cardiff City finished as runners-up in 1925. Two years later, Cardiff became the first non-English side to win the Cup, with a famous 1-0 victory over Arsenal at Wembley.

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