Tuesday, September 11, 2012
11 September 1895 - The Theft Of The FA Cup
Established in 1871, the FA Cup is the world's oldest association football competition. Since its beginning, the winner has taken possession of the cup itself, nicknamed "the Little Tin Idol," holding onto it until another team wins the tournament. In 1895, the winners were Aston Villa, who beat West Bromwich Albion in the final, 1-0. To share the accomplishment with their supporters, Villa (pictured with the cup) displayed the cup in the shop window of a local football equipment seller named William Shillcock.
But when Mr. Shillcock arrived at work on the morning of 11 September, he discovered that his shop had been robbed. Not only did the thieves steal a small amount of money, they also took the cup.
Although a £10 reward was offered for information leading to the cup's recovery, it was never located. The FA eventually fined Villa £25 to replace it. (The new trophy was used until 1910 and is currently located in the National Football Museum in Preston.)
In 1958, an 83-year old former criminal named Harry Burge confessed to the theft, saying he melted the cup down to make counterfeit coins. Despite his admission, however, he could provide no evidence linking him to the crime and went unpunished.