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FA Vase
FA Vase logo, incorporating the name of sponsor Carlsberg
Founded 1974
Region England, Wales, Channel Islands, Isle of Man (The FA)
Number of teams 514 (2008–09)
Current champions Whitley Bay
Most successful club Billericay Town (3 times)

The Football Association Challenge Vase is an annual football competition for teams playing below Step 4 of the English National League System. For the 2008–09 season 514 entrants were accepted, with two qualifying rounds preceding the six proper rounds, semi-finals (played over two legs) and final to be played at Wembley Stadium.

The 2009 winners were Whitley Bay, who beat Glossop North End 2-0 on 10 May at Wembley Stadium.



Nantwich Town celebrate winning the Vase in 2006.

Until 1974, football players were either professionals or amateurs. Professionals were paid to play by their clubs, and the only cup competitions such clubs were allowed to enter were the FA Cup and, for clubs outside The Football League, the FA Trophy. Amateurs, on the other hand, did not get paid (at least not officially) by their clubs, and such clubs had their own cup competition, the FA Amateur Cup.

In 1974, with many of the top amateur players receiving payment for playing, The Football Association abolished the distinction, scrapped the Amateur Cup and introduced the FA Vase for the majority of clubs who had previously played in the competition. Well over 200 clubs entered in the first season, 1974–75 and Hoddesdon Town of the Spartan League beat Epsom & Ewell of the Surrey Senior League 2-1 in the final at Wembley Stadium before a crowd of 9,000.


Whitley Bay take on Abbey Hey in an FA Vase match in 2008.

In recent years, entry to the FA Vase has been restricted to clubs in the eighth and lower tiers of the English football league system, (those in the three levels above qualified for the FA Trophy). Reorganization of the National League System for 2004 onwards moved the dividing line down to the new "Step 5" (ninth tier overall). Clubs from the Channel Islands (First Tower United and Vale Recreation) and the Isle of Man (Douglas HSOB) also entered the Vase in the past, though none have done so in recent years.


The record attendance for an FA Vase match was set on Sunday 13 May 2007, when 36,232 spectators watched Truro City come from behind to beat AFC Totton 3-1 at Wembley in the final.[1]

FA Vase winners and finalists

Only five teams have managed to win the FA Vase more than once. Two FA Vase winners, Forest Green Rovers and Tamworth, have gone on to play in the Football Conference at the top level of the non-league pyramid. No FA Vase winner has yet reached the Football League, although 2008-09 finalists Glossop North End had briefly competed in the old First Division over a hundred years earlier.


External links



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