IN the build-up to Town's FA Youth Cup tie with Liverpool next Tuesday, the official STFC website will take a look back at some of Swindon Town's memorable youth cup moments, starting with a brief account of how the competition started...
The FA Youth Cup has been contested for more than half a century. The competition that has showcased the emerging talent of players like George Best, Paul Gascoigne, David Beckham and Wayne Rooney was started way back in 1952.
At the end of the war The FA had decided to organise a 'Youth Championship' for County Associations. That was considered to be the best way to stimulate the game among those youngsters who had recently left school and were not yet old enough to play senior football. Matches in the new competition didn't attract large crowds but outstanding players were selected for Youth Internationals and thousands of other boys were given the chance to play in a national contest for the first time.
By 1951 it was realised that a competition for clubs would probably have a wider appeal. In the first season of 'The FA Youth Challenge Cup' (1952-53) entry was restricted to the youth teams of clubs, both professional and amateur, who were in direct membership with The FA.
The competition as a whole got off to a great start with the two legs of the final pulling in 21,000 and 15,000 fans respectively. Manchester United’s ‘Busby Babes’ went on to lift the trophy, defeating Wolverhampton Wanderers 9-3 on aggregate.
Keep an eye out for Flashback features on the official website this week charting Town's FA Youth Cup history.