FA Competitions - Season 2008-09
Details of the entries accepted, exemptions and the early round draws for The FA Cup, Trophy, Vase and Youth Cup competitions will be released on TheFA.com on 1 July 2008

Once again there is going to be a record number of clubs in the coming season's FA Cup competition.

There were 731 accepted entries last season and now the figure has gone up to a phenomenal 762.

The first competition back in 1871-72 had just 15 and those pioneering clubs were: Barnes, Civil Service, Clapham Rovers, Crystal Palace, Donnington School, Hampstead Heathens, Harrow Chequers, Hitchin, Maidenhead, Marlow, Queen's Park (Glasgow), Reigate Priory, Royal Engineers, Upton Park and Wanderers.

In those far-off days, the attraction of taking part in a national knockout competition boosted the membership of The FA and spread its influence over a wider area. Within ten years of the first FA Cup the number of member clubs had increased from the original 12 to a healthy 128.

The number of Cup entries reached 100 for the first time in 1883, 200 in 1895, 300 in 1906, 400 in 1909 and 500 in 1920. Only ten years ago the figure was 558, more than 200 fewer than the present total.

New clubs entering this time will face a big challenge to actually lift The Cup - but they will be involved in something special.

This is from the Introduction to The Official Illustrated History of The FA Cup:-

"Every season it (The FA Cup) touches, directly, the heart of hundreds of cities, towns and assorted dots on the map; and it enchants scores of millions, all over the globe, by way of television and radio. It offers fantasy, passion, democracy, warfare, tradition, ritual, instant fame and handy profit in one big and irresistible package. It is a band of gold in the fabric of a sporting nation. It is…The Football Association Challenge Cup…The FA Cup…The Cup. It is the daddy of them all".

It all starts again on 16 August with the Extra Preliminary Round. We can't wait. 

Log onto TheFA.com on Tuesday 1 July when we'll have first news of the draws for the earlier rounds of the 2008-09 FA Cup, Trophy, Vase and Youth Cup competitions...