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Football and the First World War

I am currently writing a book on Football and the First World War based on the article of the same name on this website.

I am very keen to contact any football fans who have information about players who joined the army during the First World War.

Please contact me at


See reviews of Rob Cavallini's The Wanderers FC, and Around The World In 95 Games.

The F.A. Cup Leaves England

Cardiff 1, Arsenal 0

F A Cup Final, 23 April 1927


One of the great cup stories of the 1920s took place in the Final at Wembley when Arsenal met Cardiff. Although both teams were mid-table sides when they won through to the Wembley Final, and Cardiff had played in the final only two years before, Arsenal  under legendary manager Herbert Chapman were hot favourites. 

For Arsenal, however, only Buchan played to form setting up at least three clear chances for his colleagues. Both defences were well on top and seventeen minutes remained of what had been a poor match when McLachlan passed the ball inside to Hugh Ferguson whose speculative shot was fumbled by Arsenal's Welsh international keeper.   With a couple of Cardiff City forwards closing in, Lewis desperately tried to reclaim the ball but only succeeded in knocking it into the net with his elbow. Lewis later blamed the error on his jersey, which being brand new was greasy and made it difficult to grip the ball.  When the final whistle blew, thousands of supporters ran onto the famous turf to celebrate the historic victory.

The match was the first to be broadcast live on radio and back in Cardiff crowds had gathered in Cathays Park to listen to radio commentary of the game on loudspeakers fixed to trees and lamposts around City Hall.  They joined in the celebrations at the final whistle  could barely contain their excitement as that final whistle was blown and the cup began its journey to Wales.

More than 250,000 were present to welcome the team back to Cardiff and the city was decked out in blue and white. The team appeared on the City Hall balcony as the crowd sang Mae Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau - an emotional end to an unforgettable week.

Cardiff City Team

Tom Farquharson, Jimmy Nelson, Tommy Watson, Fred Keenor (Captain), Tommy Sloan, Billy Hardy, Ernie Curtis, Sam Irving, Hughie Ferguson, Len Davies, George McLachlan

Arsenal Team

Dan Lewis, Tom Parker, Andy Kennedy, Alf Baker, Jack Butler, Bob John, Joe Hulme,
Charlie Buchan (Captain), Jimmy Brain, Billy Blythe, Sid Hoar