West Ham Women in FA Cup Final: History of the competition
PUBLISHED: 09:30 03 May 2019
2016 The FA
Who are the stars of the past in the final?
The women's FA Cup started life in humble beginning to become the enormous sporting event it is today.
While the men's competition started in the 1870s, the women began almost exactly 100 years later.
The inaugural event was in the 1970-71 season and was known as the Mitre Challenge Trophy.
There were 71 entrants, including teams from Wales and Scotland, and it was a Scottish team in Stewarton Thistle who secured that first final.
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In fact, a different Scottish team made the first three finals, but none of them were a match for Southampton Ladies.
The all-conquering south coast club won the inaugural competition by 4-1 at the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre.
They won eight of the first 10 competitions as they dominated the event, while after their run was ended, the likes of Doncaster Belles, Leasowe and Friends of Fulham carved their name on the trophy.
Since the Football Association (FA) began administrating English women's football in 1993, the teams affiliated with FA Premier League and Football League counterparts have dominated the rebranded competition.
Arsenal currently holds the record for most titles, having won 14 times.
The current cup holders are Chelsea, who beat Arsenal 3–1 in the final at Wembley Stadium on May 5, 2018 in front of a FA Women's Cup record crowd of 45,423.
This year's match between West Ham and Manchester City is set to exceed that record.
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