The Football Association Challenge Vase is an annual football competition for teams playing in the lower regional leagues of England. Currently over 400 teams compete each season, with two qualifying rounds preceding the six proper rounds, semi-finals and final.
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 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 Amateur Cup. 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.
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 that 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.
Only four 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, however.
|1974-75||Hoddesdon Town||Epsom and Ewell||2-1||Wembley||9,000|
|1975-76||Billericay Town||Stamford||1-0 (aet)||Wembley||11,848|
|1976-77||Billericay Town||Sheffield|| 1-1 (aet) |
replay at City Ground
| 14,000 |
|1977-78||Newcastle Blue Star||Barton Rovers||2-1||Wembley||16,858|
|1978-79||Billericay Town||Almondsbury Greenway||4-1||Wembley||17,500|
|1979-80||Stamford||Guisborough Town||2-0 (aet)||Wembley||11,500|
|1981-82||Forest Green Rovers||Rainworth Miners Welfare||3-0||Wembley||12,500|
|1982-83||VS Rugby||Halesowen Town||1-0||Wembley||13,700|
|1984-85||Halesowen Town||Fleetwood Town||3-1 (aet)||Wembley||16,715|
|1986-87||St Helens Town||Warrington Town||3-2||Wembley||4,254|
|1988-89||Tamworth||Sudbury Town|| 1-1 (aet)|
replay at London Road
| 26,487 |
|1989-90||Yeading||Bridlington Town|| 0-0 (aet) |
replay at Elland Road
| 7,932 |
|1990-91||Guiseley||Gresley Rovers|| 4-4 (aet) |
replay at Bramall Lane
| 11,314 |
|1992-93||Bridlington Town||Tiverton Town||1-0||Wembley||9,061|
|1993-94||Diss Town||Taunton Town||2-1 (aet)||Wembley||13,450|
|1994-95||Arlesey Town||Oxford City||2-1||Wembley||13,670|
|1996-97||Whitby Town||North Ferriby United||3-0||Wembley||11,098|
|1997-98||Tiverton Town||Tow Law Town||1-0||Wembley||13,139|
|1998-99||Tiverton Town||Bedlington Terriers||1-0||Wembley||13,878|
|1999-00||Deal Town||Chippenham Town||1-0||Wembley||20,083|
|2000-01||Taunton Town||Berkhamsted Town||2-1||Villa Park||8,439|
|2001-02||Whitley Bay||Tiptree United||1-0 (aet)||Villa Park||4,742|
|2002-03||Brigg Town||A.F.C. Sudbury||2-1||Boleyn Ground||6,634|
|2003-04||Winchester City||A.F.C. Sudbury||2-0||St Andrews||5,080|
|2004-05||Didcot Town||A.F.C. Sudbury||3-2||White Hart Lane||8,862|
|2005-06||Nantwich Town||Hillingdon Borough||3-1||St Andrews||3,286|
|2006-07||Truro City||A.F.C. Totton||3-1||Wembley||36,232|
|2007-08||Kirkham and Wesham||Lowestoft Town||2-1||Wembley||19,537|