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Football League War Cup

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Title: Football League War Cup  
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Subject: London War Cup, 2007 Football League Cup Final, 1980 FA Cup Final, 2015 FA Community Shield, 2002 FA Cup Final
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Football League War Cup

Football League War Cup
Founded 1939
Region England and Wales

The Football League War Cup was an association football tournament held between 1939 and 1945. It aimed to fill the gaping hole left in English Football by the cancellation of the FA Cup during the Second World War.


  • Background 1
  • Honours 2
    • Northern Final 2.1
    • Southern Final 2.2
    • Overall final 2.3
  • Tournament finals 3
    • 1939–40 3.1
    • 1940–41 3.2


Throughout the latter 1930s it was becoming inevitable that a second World War with Germany was coming. On 3 September 1939 following Germany’s invasion of Poland, Neville Chamberlain announced war on Nazi Germany.

Shortly after war was declared, most competitions were abandoned as the country's attention turned to the war effort. Over 780 footballers signed up to fight in the war and as a result many of England's best teams were depleted – for example, Liverpool saw 76 players sign up, Wolves saw 91 sign up and Huddersfield, Leicester and Charlton all saw over 60 players sign up for the war. Because of this many teams fielded guest players instead. The FA Cup Extra-Preliminary Round was played, but with hostilities declared before replays took place, and a 50-mile travelling limit, that competition too was abandoned. The Football League War Cup was held between 1939 and 1945 in an attempt to fill the gaping hole left in English Football by the cancellation of the FA Cup.


Northern Final

Winner Finalist
1942–1943 Blackpool Sheffield Wednesday
1943–1944 Aston Villa Blackpool
1944–1945 Bolton Wanderers Manchester United

Southern Final

Winner Finalist
1942–1943 Arsenal Charlton Athletic
1943–1944 Charlton Athletic Chelsea
1944–1945 Chelsea Millwall

Overall final

Winner Finalist
1939–1940 West Ham United Blackburn Rovers
1940–1941 Preston North End Arsenal
1941–1942 Wolverhampton Wanderers Sunderland
1942–1943 Blackpool Arsenal
1943–1944 Charlton Athletic and Aston Villa (shared)
1944–1945 Bolton Wanderers Chelsea

Tournament finals


West Ham United 1–0 Blackburn Rovers
Sam Small Goal
Wembley, 8 June 1940.
Attendance: 42,399

137 games (including replays) were played to get to the final of the inaugural Football League War Cup. These matches were condensed into just 9 weeks. Despite the fears that London would be bombed by the Luftwaffe fans came in thousands to watch the game at Wembley, despite its obvious danger as a bombing target.


Preston North End 1–1 Arsenal
Andrew McLarenGoal Denis Compton Goal
Wembley, 10 May 1941.
Attendance: 60,000
Preston North End 2–1 Arsenal
Robert Beattie GoalGoal Frank Gallimore (OG) Goal
Ewood Park 31 May 1941
Attendance: 45,000

In the nine months leading up to the final, 127 large-scale night-raids had taken place, with London, the home of the final, being a regular target. This threat did not stop 60,000 people turning up to watch the game.

Preston North End beat Bury, Bolton, [[Tranmere Rovers

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