A 120-year-old football used in the 1892 FA Cup Final could fetch £15,000 when it goes under the hammer in Shropshire next month.
The leather ball was kicked around the Kennington Oval in Lambeth – now the Oval Cricket Ground – as 30,000 fans cheered on West Bromwich Albion and Aston Villa. The 1892 final was the first to be contested using nets attached to goal posts with Albion beating Villa 3-0.
Auctioneers Mullock’s say the football will draw interest from collectors and sports fans when it goes up for auction on September 6 at Ludlow Racecourse.
According to auctioneers, the football from the match was presented to an Alderman Heelis by West Brom officials soon after the club’s victory. He then passed it on to Mr W. Richards – whose link to the club is not known – and the ball has been passed down generations of the family ever since.
John Mullock, from Mullock’s in Church Stretton, said: “The leather ball is gilded, painted and inscribed with the words: ‘This ball was used in the final for the English Cup when the Albion defeated the Aston Villa 3 goals to nil at the Oval London on March 19th 1892 C Perry captain’.
“Some small areas of the ball have suffered paint loss and staining but overall the ball is in good condition.”
According to match reports, crowds gathered in West Bromwich High Street where special telegrams were sent from London to local businesses that relayed the scores.
One account remarked how ‘a remarkable feature was the keen interest shown by the ladies, many of whom were as excited as the men’ about the good news arriving from London.
The report which appeared in the Albion News also said: “When the final announcement came that Albion had turned the tables on their victors of 1887 and won the cup the excitement in the town was tremendous. The winning of the English Cup in the year 1892 will long be remembered.”