|Full name||Royal Engineers Association Football Club|
|Ground||Number one ground, Chatham|
|Manager||Simon Mayers |
Head Coach - Keith Stubbs
Assistant Coaches - Alan (EOD GOD) Brown, Scott RoyGK Coach - Rob Fyfe
|League||Army Football Association|
The Royal Engineers Association Football Club is an association football team representing the Corps of Royal Engineers, the ’Sappers’, of the British Army and based in Chatham, Kent. In the 1870s it was one of the strongest sides in English football, winning the FA Cup in 1875 and being Cup Finalists in three of the first four seasons. The Engineers were pioneers of the combination game, where teammates passed the ball to each other rather than kicking ahead and charging after the ball. With the rise of professional teams, in 1888 the Engineers joined a newly formed Army Football Association.
The club was founded in 1863, under the leadership of Major Francis Marindin. Sir Frederick Wall, who was the secretary of The Football Association 1895–1934, stated in his memoirs that the "combination game" was first used by the Royal Engineers A.F.C. in the early 1870s.Wall states that the "Sappers moved in unison" and showed the "advantages of combination over the old style of individualism".
Contemporary match reports confirm that passing was a regular feature of the Engineers' style. An 1869 report says they "worked well together" and "had learned the secret of football success – backing up"; whereas their defeated opponents had "a painful want of cooperation".In February 1871 against Crystal Palace it is noted that "Lieut. Mitchell made a fine run down the left, passing the ball to Lieut. Rich, who had run up the centre, and who pinched another [goal]"
By early 1868, a contemporary match report states "For the R.E.s Lieuts Campbell, Johnson and Chambers attracted especial attention by their clever play"
Another contemporary match report clearly shows that by 1870, ball passing was a feature of the Engineers style: "Lieut. Creswell, who having brought it up the side then kicked it into the middle to another of his side, who kicked it through the posts the minute before time was called"
The Engineers used their team playing style with effect against the Wanderers, a side considered as early as 1870 to be the MCC of football.In a match of March 1871 against Wanderers their victory was due to "irreproachable organisation" and in particular that both their attacks and their backing up were both "so well organised" In November 1871 similar passing tactics are described in a contemporary account of a game against the Wanderers in which two goals were scored through tactical passing: "Betts, however, soon seized his opportunity, and by a brilliant run down the left wing turned the ball judiciously to Currie, who as judiciously sent it flying through the strangers' goal in first rate style" Later in the match it is reported that "Lieut G Barker, turning the ball to Lieut Renny-Tailyour who planted it between the posts" "Turning" the ball clearly points to the short pass.
There is evidence that opponents sometimes adjusted their playing style to counteract the organisation and passing of the Engineers. For example, in February 1872 against Westminster School, a brief contemporary match report states that: "The school captain took the precaution of strengthening his backs, deputizing HDS Vidal to cooperate with Rawson and Jackson and so well did these three play in concert... they succeeded in defying the... RE forwards".What is most notable about this report is that it confirms that the Royal Engineers "played beautifully together" That the engineers were the first side to break the trend of dribbling is shown in a contemporary account of their victory against Crystal Palace in early 1872. This said that: "very little dribbling was displayed"
The Engineers played in the first-ever FA Cup Final, losing 1–0 at Kennington Oval on 16 March 1872, to regular rivals Wanderers.They also lost the 1874 Final, to Oxford University A.F.C..
The Royal Engineers were the first football team to go on a tour, to Nottingham, Derby and Sheffield in 1873.Wall's memoirs state that this tour introduced the combination game to Sheffield and Nottingham. In 1875 the Engineers won the FA Cup, considered their greatest triumph. In the final against Old Etonians, they drew 1–1 with a goal from Renny-Tailyour and went on to win the replay 2–0 with two further goals from Renny-Tailyour.
The winning side was:
Their last FA Cup Final appearance came in 1878, again losing to the Wanderers.They last participated in 1882–83 FA Cup, losing 6–2 in the fourth round to Old Carthusians F.C..
The evidence above contains detailed descriptions of passing that are lacking in reports of the 1872 Glasgow international. For example, in a lengthy account the Scotsman newspaper makes no mention of passing or combination by the Scottish team and specifically describes the Scottish attacks in terms of dribbling: "The Scotch now came away with a great rush, Leckie and others dribbling the ball so smartly that the English lines were closely besieged and the ball was soon behind"and "Weir now had a splendid run for Scotland into the heart of his opponents' territory". Although the Scottish team are acknowledged to have worked better together during the first half, this contemporary account acknowledges that in the second half England played similarly: "During the first half of the game the English team did not work so well together, but in the second half they left nothing to be desired in this respect. " The Scotsman concludes that the difference in styles in the first half is the advantage the Queens' Park players had "through knowing each others' play" as all came from the same club. Unlike the 1872 Glasgow international, the contemporary evidence above shows that the Engineers' team playing style benefited their team play by winning games. Similarly, the 5 March 1872 match between Wanderers and Queens Park contains no evidence of ball passing.
The early accounts all confirm that the Engineers were the first club to play a passing game of cooperation and organisation with both their forwards and their defence. Although they could also play rough – as would be expected for an army team – The Engineers are the first side to be considered to play the football "beautifully".All of these developments occurred before and independent of the 1872 match between England and Scotland.
It was not only in England that the Engineers helped pioneer association football. While stationed in Ireland during the early 1900s the Royal Engineers, together with other British Army regimental teams organised and competed in local competitions. In 1902–03 the Engineers won the Munster Senior Cup.The regiment also entered teams in the Munster Senior League.
Professionalism arrived in Northern England in the 1880s, with the Football League starting in 1888. In the early years, the Engineers was one of several amateur teams who could defeat the professionals in challenge matches.
The Army Football Association was formed in 1888. Its teams were organised by battalion, and later by regiment.
The Engineers' Depot Battalion won the FA Amateur Cup in 1908.
On 7 November 2012, the Royal Engineers played against the Wanderers in a rematch of the 1872 FA Cup Final at The Oval. Unlike the actual final, the Engineers won, and by a large margin, 7–1 being the final score.
In 2014, Keith Stubbs founded the REAFC Ladies squad which runs in line with the male squad.[ citation needed ]
REAFC have a serving veterans team that play in exhibition type games. Recently the "Vets" have played games against the House of parliament and invited to some prestigious events.[ citation needed ]
Various regiments and battalions within the RE Corps have won the Army FA Challenge Cup:
The following six players played for England whilst on the books of Royal Engineers A.F.C. The number of caps gained while playing for club is in brackets.
The following played for Scotland whilst on the books of Royal Engineers A.F.C.:
Wanderers Football Club is an English football club based in Upper Norwood, London. The original club was an amateur one founded as "Forest Football Club" in 1859. In 1864, it changed its name to "Wanderers". Comprising mainly former pupils of the leading English public schools, Wanderers was among the dominant teams of the early years of organised football and won the Football Association Challenge Cup on five occasions, including defeating Royal Engineers in the first FA Cup final in 1872.
1871–72 was the first season of competitive association football in England. The Football Association introduced their Football Association Challenge Cup, a knockout tournament which is the world's oldest national-level football competition.
The 1872–73 season was the second season of competitive football in England. The Football Association staged the second edition of the FA Cup, with Wanderers retaining the trophy by defeating Oxford University in the final. The first officially recognised international football match took place on 30 November 1872 when Scotland hosted England.
Charles William Alcock was an English sportsman and administrator. He was a major instigator in the development of both international football and cricket, as well as being the creator of the FA Cup.
The 1871–72 Football Association Challenge Cup was the first staging of the Football Association Challenge Cup, usually known in the modern era as the FA Cup, the oldest association football competition in the world. Fifteen of the association's fifty member clubs entered the first competition, although three withdrew without playing a game. In the final, held at Kennington Oval in London on 16 March 1872, Wanderers beat the Royal Engineers by a single goal, scored by Morton Betts, who was playing under the pseudonym A. H. Chequer.
The 1872 FA Cup Final was a football match between Wanderers and Royal Engineers on 16 March 1872 at Kennington Oval in London. It was the final of the first staging of the Football Association Challenge Cup, which became the primary cup competition in English football and the oldest football competition in the world. Fifteen teams entered the competition in its first season and, due to the rules in place at the time, Wanderers reached the final having won only one match in the four preceding rounds. In the semi-finals, they drew with the Scottish club Queen's Park, but reached the final when the Scots withdrew from the competition as they could not afford to return to London for a replay.
Henry Waugh Renny-Tailyour was an amateur all-round sportsman who appeared for Scotland in some of the earliest international football and rugby union matches, remaining to this day the only player to have represented the country in both codes. He also played first class cricket for Kent County Cricket Club and was an accomplished athlete.
The 1874 FA Cup final was a football match between Oxford University and Royal Engineers on 14 March 1874 at Kennington Oval in London. It was the third final of the world's oldest football competition, the Football Association Challenge Cup. Both teams had previously reached the final but been defeated by Wanderers. The Engineers had reached the final with comparative ease, scoring sixteen goals and conceding only one in the four previous rounds. Oxford's opponents in the earlier rounds had included two-time former winners Wanderers.
The 1875 FA Cup Final was a football match between Royal Engineers and Old Etonians on 13 March 1875 at Kennington Oval in London. It was the fourth final of the world's oldest football competition, the Football Association Challenge Cup. Heading into the final, the Royal Engineers were playing in their third final after losing the 1872 and 1874 finals while the Old Etonians were playing in their first FA Cup final.
The Combination Game was a style of association football based around teamwork and cooperation. It would gradually favour the passing of the ball between players over individual dribbling skills which had been a notable feature of early Association games. It developed from "scientific" football and is considered to be the predecessor of the modern passing game of football. It originated in Britain and its origins are associated with early clubs: Sheffield FC, The Royal Engineers AFC, Queen's Park FC and Cambridge University AFC. Each of these claimants is supported by retrospective accounts from men who were notable in the early history of football. They are considered below in the order of earliest contemporary evidence of "scientific" football playing styles.
The 1878 FA Cup Final was a football match between Wanderers and Royal Engineers on 23 March 1878 at Kennington Oval in London. It was the seventh final of the world's oldest football competition, the Football Association Challenge Cup. Wanderers had won the Cup in the previous two seasons and on four previous occasions in total, including the first FA Cup Final, in 1872, in which they defeated the Engineers. The Engineers had also won the Cup, having defeated Old Etonians in the 1875 final.
Passing the ball is a key part of association football. The purpose of passing is to keep possession of the ball by manoeuvring it on the ground between different players with the objective of advancing it up the playing field.
The 1872 association football match between the national teams of Scotland and England is officially recognised by FIFA as the sport's first-ever international. It took place on 30 November 1872 at Hamilton Crescent, the West of Scotland Cricket Club's ground in Partick, Glasgow. The match was watched by 4,000 spectators and finished as a 0–0 draw.
William Stepney Rawson was an amateur footballer who played at full-back for England in the 1870s, and was also an FA Cup Final referee in 1876.
The 1874–75 FA Cup was the fourth season of England's oldest football tournament, the Football Association Challenge Cup or "FA Cup". 29 teams entered, one more than the previous season, although four of the 29 never played a match. The final was contested by Royal Engineers – playing in their third final in the four seasons of the FA Cup – and Old Etonians – playing in their first final. On their way to the final, Royal Engineers knocked out Cambridge University in the Second Round and holders Oxford University in the Semi-finals, while Old Etonians only managed to score more than one goal in one match: their second replay against Swifts, which they won 3–0. The biggest win of the competition was recorded by two-time FA Cup winners Wanderers, who beat Farningham 16–0 in the First Round.
Edgar Lubbock LLB was an English amateur footballer who twice won the FA Cup and played first-class cricket. He later became a partner in the Whitbread Brewery, a Director and Deputy Governor of the Bank of England and the Master of the Blankney Foxhounds.
Capt. Hugh Mitchell was a Scottish member of the Royal Engineers who later became a barrister. In his youth he was a keen footballer who played for the Royal Engineers in the 1872 FA Cup Final and appeared for Scotland in two of the representative matches played against England in 1871 and 1872.
Colonel William Merriman was a British officer in the Royal Engineers who played as a goalkeeper in three FA Cup Finals, winning the cup in 1875.
Colonel Sir William George Morris was a British Army officer who served with the Royal Engineers in the 19th and early 20th centuries, observing the 1882 transit of Venus and developing an expertise in geodesic surveying. He also played football as an amateur for the Royal Engineers, appearing in the 1878 FA Cup Final.
Brigadier-General William Francis Howard Stafford was a British Army officer who served with the Royal Engineers in various campaigns in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Towards the end of his career, he was in command of the South Irish coastal defences.
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