Picture : Linfield FAC 1891


The most goals in a single national cup final were also scored by a Scot. On March 12, 1892, Robert Hill scored four goals for Linfield FAC (Belfast) against Black Watch (Limerick). “Bob” Hill, 24 years old at the time, had come to Ireland with the Gordon Highlanders Regiment, and also scored in the Irish league. During the 19th century, six players scored three goals in a national cup final: two Scots, two Irishmen as well as one Englishman and one Welshman. 


4 Goals:Robert Hill (Scotland)
 Belfast, 12.03.1892:  Linfield FAC – Black Watch Limerick  7:0
3 Goals:William John Townley (England)
 London, 29.03.1890: Blackburn Rovers FC – Sheffield Wednesday FC 6:1
 Albert Thomas Davies (Wales)
 Oswestry, 31.03.1891: Shrewsbury Town FC – Wrexham AFC 5:2
 Alexander McMahon (Scotland)
 Glasgow, 09.04.1892: Glasgow Celtic FC – Queen’s Park FC Glasgow 5:1
 James Logan (Scotland)
 Liverpool, 31.03.1894: Notts County FC – Bolton Wanderers FC 4:1
 Joseph Croft McAllen (Ireland)
 Belfast, 23.03.1895: Linfield FAC – The Bohemians FAC Dublin 10:1
 Robert George Milne (Ireland)
 Belfast, 23.03.1895: Linfield FAC – The Bohemians FAC Dublin 10:1


            The top scorers at national cup finals during the 19th century were three Scots, with six goals each. However, the first place goes to Thomas Cochrane Highet, who only played in four Scottish Cup finals (including one replay) and scored minimum one goal in each final, thus also helping Queen’s Park FC to three cup wins. “Tom” Highet, born in Ayr in 1853, attended the Ayr Academy before joining Queen’s Park FC (Glasgow) in 1873. He played under the pseudonyms “Herriot” and “Cochrane” for a good while at first. He was a vigorous, lively and diligent player. He also was an excellent cricketer. The four times Scottish international died on January 28, 1907.


In second place comes the famous Alexander McMahon, who from 1892 to 1900 scored six goals in seven Scottish Cup finals. Details about his career are given elsewhere on this site. Likewise forRobert George Milne, who was a Scot by birth but played in Ireland’s national team. The centre-half scored his six goals in ten Irish Cup finals. 


 Player (Nationality)ClubPeriod Number of
of goals
 Spieler (Nationalität)VereinPeriodeAnzahl der
der Tore
 Jugador (Nacionalidad)ClubPeríodoNúmero de 
de goles
 Joueur (Nationalité)ClubPériodeNombre de
de buts
1.Thomas Cochrane Highet (Scotland)Queen’s Park FC Glasgow1875 – 188046
2.Robert George Milne (Ireland)Linfield FAC1890 – 1899106
3.Robert Hill (Scotland)Linfield FAC1891 – 189225
4.Olphert Martin Stanfield (Ireland)Distillery FC Belfast1888 – 189655
5.Alexander McMahon (Scotland)Glasgow Celtic FC1892 – 190075
6.William John Townley (England)Blackburn Rovers FC1890 – 189124
7.George Alfred Owen (Wales)Chirk AAA1887 – 189344
 Joseph Croft McAllen (Ireland)Linfield FAC1894 – 189944
 James Vaughan (Wales)Druids FC Ruabon1898 – 189944
10.John Vaughan (Wales)Druids FC Ruabon1878 – 188664
11.John James Campbell (Scotland)Glasgow Celtic FC (3)1892 – 190084
  Aston Villa FC (1)   
12.Edward Bowen (Wales)Druids FC Ruabon1878 – 1886104


            The worldwide most successful scorer of national FA-run national cup competitions in the 19th century was Henry Alfred Cursham, who from 1880 to 1887 scored 48 English Cup goals for Notts County. He was born in Wilford (Nottingham) on November 27, 1859, and attended Repton School, where he also found his football legs. He joined Notts County early, where he made a name for himself as a wing forward and a very good dribbler. He remained true to his club, although he occasionally played for Corinthians (London) and Thursday Wanderers (Sheffield). Henry Cursham played for England eight times from 1880 to 1884 and was the younger brother of six times English international Arthur William Cursham. Henry Alfred Cursham also was a good cricketer, and from 1889 to 1939 worked as an insurance salesman. He died on August 6, 1941.


            Details on the career of Scotsman James Donaldson Ross, who from 1885 to 1900 played for the English clubs Preston North End, Liverpool, Burnley and Manchester City and scored a total of 43 goals at the FA Cup, are given elsewhere (see national championships). Just as of the third-placed Scotman Alexander McMahon, who scored its cup goals from 1889 to 1900 for Hibernian (Edinburgh) and Glasgow Celtic.


            Samuel “Sam” Torrance(see full international) played 62 Irish Cup matches from 1887 to 1900 and scored 34 goals all together, even though he played in defence for the last few years of the 19th century. Far more effective, however, was his compatriot Robert McIlvenny, who from 1889 to 1895 played for Distillery FC Belfast and local rivals Ulster FC, scoring 31 goals in only 23 Irish Cup matches.


            Archibald Hunter, the son of a farmer, was born in Joppa (Ayrshire, Scotland) on September 23, 1859. He left school early and joined Ayr Star FC. His three brothers were all good athletes. “Archie” Hunter played for Eastern Glasgow (1874-1875) and 3rd Lanark Rifles Volunteers before he came to Birmingham in 1878 shortly after he had reached the Scottish Cup final with 3rd Lanark Rifles Volunteers (1878), the forerunner of Third Lanark. With Aston Villa he quickly developed into an outstanding inside forward who could also play as half-back. He played an at times grand game and was always very dangerous in front of goal. Although he became the team captain of Aston Villa and was the playmaker on the field, he never did make any friends. From the 1878/79 to the 1889/90 season, Hunter scored 32 English Cup goals for the “Villans”. Add to this the goals which he scored at the Scottish Cup for 3rd Lanark Rifles Volunteers in the previous years. In 1890 “Archie” Hunter left the “Villans” and returned to Scotland, where he coached Linthouse FC (Glasgow). Health problems later caused him to return to Birmingham, where he died on November 29, 1894, at the age of 35.  



 Player NationalityClubPeriod Number of
Number of
 Spieler NationalitätVereinPeriodeAnzahl der
der Tore
 Jugador NacionalidadClubPeríodoNúmero de
de goles
 Joueur NationalitéClubPériodeNombre de
de buts 
1.Henry Alfred CurshamEnglandNotts County FC1878-1887 48
2.James Donaldson RossScotlandPreston North End FC (37) /    
   Liverpoll FC (3) /   
   Burnley FC (2) /   
   Manchester City FC (1)1885-1900 43
3.Alexander McMahonScotlandHibernian FC Edinburgh (  )1889-1891  
   Glasgow Celtic FC (35)1891-1900 >35
4.Samuel TorransIrelandLinfield FAC1887-19006234
5.Archibald HunterScotland3rd Lanark Rifles Volunteers (  )   1876-1878  
   Aston Villa FC (32)1879-1890 >32
6.Robert McIlvennyIrelandDistillery FC Belfast (6) /    
   Ulster FC Belfast (25)1889-18952331
7.James BrownEnglandBlackburn Rovers FC1879-1889 30
8.Harry Chester GoodhartEnglandOld Etonians (London)1878-1884 29
 Edward Hagarty ParryEnglandOxford University (7) /    
   Old Carthusians (London) (22)1874-1890 29
10.Olphert StanfieldIrelandDistillery FC Belfast / 1887-18983828
11.John PedenIrelandLinfield FAC (23) /    
   Distillery FC Belfast (4) /   
   Newtown Heath FC (1)1887-18994528
12.John BarryIrelandCliftonville FC Belfast1887-18913126
13.John SouthworthEnglandBlackburn Rovers FC1887-1893 26
 George GaffikinIrelandLinfield FAC1888-18954826
15.Edward Charles BambridgeEnglandSwifts London (22) /    
   Upton Park FC (3)1879-1890 25
 Dennis HodgettsEnglandBirmingham St.George‘s (3) /   
   Aston Villa FC (22)1883-1896 25
 Stephen BloomerEnglandDerby County FC1892-1900 25
18.Francis BectonEnglandPreston North End FC (20) /    
   Liverpool FC (4) /    


            The players who played the most national cup matches during the 19th century cannot be determined precisely since line-ups of cup matches were not always recorded back then, and this information is lost now. The exception is Ireland, where there were seven players who during this period played 40 or more Irish Cup matches. Six of them played for Linfield either exclusively or for several years. The seventh, William Crone, played 47 Irish Cup matches for Distillery FC (Belfast) from 1881 to 1892. Three Linfield players have more matches to their credit: George Gaffikin (48), Thomas Gordon (51) and Samuel Torrans (62). Such detailed records were not kept for Welsh and Dutch cup competitions, and while data for the English and Scottish Cups do exist, they are incomplete. 


 Player NationalityClubPeriod Number of matches
 Spieler NationalitätVereinPeriodeAnzahl der Spiele
 Jugador NacionalidadClubPeríodoNúmero de partidos
 Joueur NationalitéClubPériodeNombre de matches
1.Samuel TorransIrelandLinfield FAC1887-190062
2.Thomas GordonIrelandLinfield FAC1887-189751
3.George GaffikinIrelandLinfield FAC1888-189548
4.William CroneIrelandDistillery FC Belfast 1881-189247
5.John PedenIrelandLinfield FAC (34) /   
   Distillery FC Belfast (10) /  
   Newtown Heath FC (1)1887-189945
6.Robert MilneIrelandGordon Highlanders Belfast (7) /  
   Linfield FAC (36)1889-190043
7.William Dalton IrelandOldpark FC Belfast (2) /  
   Belfast YMCA (9) /   
   Linfield FAC (30)1887-189641
8.Olphert StanfieldIrelandDistillery FC Belfast1887-189838
9.John Turnbull GibbIrelandWellington Park FC Belfast (10) /   
   Cliftonville FC Belfast (23) 1884-189133
10.John BarryIrelandCliftonville FC Belfast1887-189131


            The club which won the national cup competition of its national FA most often during the 19th century was Queen’s Park FC (Glasgow), who from 1874 to 1893 won the Scottish Cup 10times. In second place comesDruids FC (Ruabon), who from 1880 to 1899 won the Welsh Cup 7 times. The third place is shared by two Belfast clubs, Distillery FC and Linfield AFC, which won the Irish Cup six times each. Five cup wins were registered by the English clubs The Wanderers (London) and Blackburn Rovers FC and the Welsh club Chirk AAA.


 ClubSeasonsNumber of cup
 VereinSaisonsZahl der
 Club TemporadasNúmero de las
victorias de copa
 ClubSaisonsNombre de
victoires de coupe
1.Queen’s Park FC Glasgow1873/74 (Sco), 1874/75 (Sco), 1875/76 (Sco), 10
  1879/80 (Sco), 1880/81 (Sco), 1881/82 (Sco),  
  1883/84 (Sco), 1885/86 (Sco), 1889/90 (Sco), 
  1892/93 (Sco) 
2.Druids FC Ruabon1879/80 (Wal), 1880/81 (Wal), 1881/82 (Wal),7
  1884/85 (Wal), 1885/86 (Wal), 1897/98 (Wal),  
  1898/99 (Wal) 
3.Distillery FC Belfast1883/84 (Irl), 1884/85 (Irl), 1885/86 (Irl),6
  1888/89 (Irl), 1893/94 (Irl), 1895/96 (Irl) 
 Linfield FAC1890/91 (Irl), 1891/92 (Irl), 1892/93 (Irl), 6
  1894/95 (Irl), 1897/98 (Irl), 1898/99 (Irl) 
5.The Wanderers (London)1871/72 (Eng), 1872/73 (Eng), 1875/76 (Eng), 5
  1876/77 (Eng), 1877/78 (Eng) 
 Blackburn Rovers FC1883/84 (Eng), 1884/85 (Eng), 1885/86 (Eng), 5
  1889/90 (Eng), 1890/91 (Eng) 
 Chirk AAA1886/87 (Wal), 1887/88 (Wal), 1889/90 (Wal),5
  1891/92 (Wal), 1893/94 (Wal) 
8.Wrexham AFC1877/78 (Wal), 1882/83 (Wal), 1892/93 (Wal),4
   1896/97 (Wal) 
 Cliftonville FC Belfast1882/83 (Irl), 1887/88 (Irl), 1896/97 (Irl),4
   1899/1900 (Irl) 
10.Vale of Leven FC Alexandria1876/77 (Sco), 1877/78 (Sco), 1878/79 (Sco)3
 Aston Villa FC1886/87 (Eng), 1894/95 (Eng), 1896/97 (Eng)3
 Glasgow Rangers FC1893/94 (Sco), 1896/97 (Sco), 1897/98 (Sco)3
 Glasgow Celtic FC1891/92 (Sco), 1898/99 (Sco), 1899/1900 (Sco)3


            The coach who won the most national cup competitions during the 19th century was the above-mentioned Archibald Rae of Scotland. From 1874 to 1893, he led Scotland’s first superteam, Queen’s Park (Glasgow), to win the Scottish Cup nine times. The second place goes to Thomas Brown Mitchellof England, who led Blackburn Rovers to win the English Cup five times – in 1884, 1885, 1886, 1890 and 1891. In third place are the ScotsmenJ. B. Wright, who won Scottish Cup three time Vale of Leven FC Alexandria, George Ramsayof Scotland, who won the English Cup three times with Aston Villa, and William Wilton, who won the Scottish Cup three time with Glasgow Rangers. Nine coaches (secretary-managers) won repeated the national cup competition, six Scotmen, two Irishmen, but only a Englishman.



 EntraîneurNationalitéClubSaisonsNombre de
victoires de coupe
1.Archibald Rae (Scotland)Queen’s Park FC Glasgow1873/74 (Sco), 1874/75 (Sco), 9
    1875/76 (Sco), 1879/80 (Sco),  
    1880/81 (Sco), 1881/82 (Sco),  
    1885/86 (Sco), 1889/90 (Sco),  
    1892/93 (Sco) 
2.Thomas Brown Mitchell (England)Blackburn Rovers FC1883/84 (Eng), 1884/85 (Eng), 5
    1885/86 (Eng), 1889/90 (Eng),  
    1890/91 (Eng) 
3.John B. Wright (Scotland)Vale of Leven FC Alexandria1876/77 (Sco), 1877/78 (Sco), 3
    1878/79 (Sco) 
 George Ramsay (Scotland)Aston Villa FC1886/87 (Eng), 1894/95 (Eng), 3
    1896/97 (Eng) 
 William Wilton (Scotland)Glasgow Rangers FC1893/94 (Sco), 1896/97 (Sco), 3
    1897/98 (Sco) 
6.James Chapman (Scotland)Heart of Midlothian FC Edinburgh 1890/91 (Sco), 1895/96 (Sco)2
 Robert Torrans (Ireland)Linfield FAC1897/98 (Irl), 1898/99 (Irl)2
 Hugh McAteer (Ireland)Cliftonville FC Belfast1896/97 (Irl), 1899/1900 (Irl)2
 William Maley (Scotland)Glasgow Celtic FC1898/99 (Sco), 1899/1900 (Sco)2


            At the top of the world ranking of the players who won the most national cup competitions during the 19th century are the aforementioned Scots Charles Campbelland Robert George Milne(each 7 times), the latter of which played for Ireland, followed by Samuel Torransof Ireland (6 times). A condition for this category is that a player must have participated in a final or the replay of a final. Seven players won the national cup 5 times; three Welshmen, two Englishmen and two Scots. Two of these were:

            William Owen, born in Chirk in 1862, found his football legs at his local Amateur Athletic Association, where he developed into a diligent and tricky, if selfish, player. “Billy” Owen loved the art and show in football, which often caused him to lose sight of the goal in a game, scoring. He also was known as the John L. Sullivan of inside forwards, after the heavyweight world champion in boxing. He always stayed with Chirk AAA, winning the Welsh Cup with them five times, and from 1884 to 1893 played for Wales 16 times. Inside forward “Billy” Owen concluded his career as a player in 1895 and became a referee. He always worked as a miner in the Chirk area. People later helped him with charity matches. His brother “Jack” Owen, who was four years his junior, played one match for Wales in 1892. “Billy” Owen died in his native town on March 2, 1946.


            James Henry Forrest, born in Blackburn on June 24, 1864, first played for the local clubs Imperial United, Witton and King’s Own Blackburn before joining Blackburn Rovers in 1883. Lightly built, he was a superb runner and gave remarkably precise passes, truly one of football’s greats. He played as either left half-back or centre-half, won the English Cup five times with the “Rovers”, and from 1884 to 1890 played 11 full internationals for England. “Jim” Forrest transferred to Darwen in 1895, but ended his career the same year still. In 1906 he became one of the directors of Blackburn Rovers, which post he held until his death on December 30, 1925.


            13 players won 4 national cups during the 19th century, and 62 did so three times. The first player to win a national cup competition with three different clubs – and then in two different countries – was David Kennedy Russellof Scotland. Russell, who was born in Airdrie on April 6, 1886, played for Stewarton FC and Broxburn before he moved to England and joined Preston North End (PNE), with whom he was both English champion and cup winner. In 1890 he joined the “Hearts” (Edinburgh) and won the Scottish Cup during the following season. In 1893 he returned to PNE, but one year later was back with Heart of Midlothian FC, with whom he then won both the Scottish championship (1894/95) and the Scottish Cup (1895/96). Thereafter he transferred to Celtic FC (Glasgow), with whom he won the national championship during the 1897/98 season. In 1898 he moved to England for a third time and joined PNE again, then in 1899 went back to Glasgow Celtic yet again, with whom he won the Scottish Cup both before and after the turn of the century. The powerful centre-back played for Scotland six times from 1895 to 1901. After World War I he worked as a miner in Fauldhouse. 


 Player NationalityClubSeasonsNumber of cup
 SpielerNationalitätVereinSaisonsZahl der
 JugadorNacionalidadClubTemporadasNúmero de las
victorias de copa 
 JoueurNationalitéClubSaisonsNombre de
victoires de coupe 
1.Charles CampbellScotlandQueen’s Park FC Glasgow1873/74 (Sco), 1874/75 (Sco), 1875/76 (Sco),7
     1879/80 (Sco), 1880/81 (Sco), 1881/82 (Sco), 
    1885/86 (Sco),  
 Robert George MilneIrelandGordon Highlanders Belfast (1)1889/90 (Irl), 1890/91 (Irl), 1891/92 (Irl), 7
   Linfield FAC (6)1892/93 (Irl), 1894/95 (Irl), 1897/98 (Irl), 
     1898/99 (Irl) 
3.Samuel Torrans IrelandLinfield FAC1890/91 (Irl), 1891/92 (Irl), 1892/93 (Irl), 6
    1894/95 (Irl), 1897/98 (Irl), 1898/99 (Irl) 
4.Charles Henry Reynolds
EnglandThe Wanderers (London)1871/72 (Eng), 1872/73 (Eng), 1875/76 (Eng), 5
      1876/77 (Eng), 1877/78 (Eng) 
 Henry McNielScotlandQueen’s Park FC Glasgow1873/74 (Sco), 1874/75 (Sco), 1875/76 (Sco), 5
    1879/80 (Sco), 1880/81 (Sco) 
 Arthur Fitzgerald Kinnaird ScotlandThe Wanderers [London] (3)1872/73 (Eng), 1876/77 (Eng), 1877/78 (Eng)5
   Old Etonians [London] (2)1878/79 (Eng), 1881/82 (Eng) 
 Edward BowenWalesDruids FC Ruabon1879/80 (Wal), 1880/81 (Wal), 1881/82 (Wal), 5
    1884/85 (Wal), 1885/86 (Wal) 
 William WilliamsWalesDruids FC Ruabon1879/80 (Wal), 1880/81 (Wal), 1881/82 (Wal), 5
    1884/85 (Wal), 1885/86 (Wal) 
 James Henry ForrestEnglandBlackburn Rovers FC1883/84 (Eng), 1884/85 (Eng), 1885/86 (Eng),5
     1889/90 (Eng), 1890/91 (Eng) 
 William OwenWalesChirk AAA1886/87 (Wal), 1887/88 (Wal), 1889/90 (Wal),5
     1891/92 (Wal), 1893/94 (Wal) 


            The footballer who won the most national cup competitions in one or more countries as either player and trainer (coach) during the 19th century wasRobert Torransof Ireland. In 1892, 1893 and 1895 he won the Irish Cup three times as player with Linfield FAC, and twice in 1898 and 1899 as trainer with the same club. Robert Torrans, born in Belfast on November 26, 1866, was three years older than his brother Sam. “Rab” Torrans, who also played a full international for Ireland in 1893, was a versatile player who preferred the position of left half-back, but could also play on outside left or left full-back. As a trainer he was very circumspect and determined.


            The same number of national cup victories archieved the Irishman William Cronewith Distillery (Belfast), four time as player and seven years later once as coach. The third place goes to William Maley of Scotland, who was born in Newry (Down) on April 25, 1868. He played for Hazlebank Juniors, Third Lanark and Cathcart FC joining Glasgow Celtic in 1888. The largely built wing half was extremely fast – he also was a 100 yard sprinter and quarter mile runner – and played a very cool game. Quite a character, he always remained an amateur, and in 1890 was made the club secretary. As a player, he won the Scottish championship three times with the “Celts” and played in four Scottish Cup finals before concluding his career in 1897, but before already took on the post of manager at his club, where he would remain for the next few decades. He also owner of sports equipment outlets in Glasgow and Dundee, and of a restaurant in Glasgow. He also wrote the book The Story of the Celtic, which was published in 1939. He died on April 2, 1958.


 Player / CoachNationalityClubSeasonsNumber of cup
 Spieler / Trainer NationalitätVerein SaisonsZahl der
 Jugador / EntrenadorNacionalidadClubTemporadasNúmero de las
victorias de copa 
 Joueur / EntraîneurNationalitéClubSaisonsNombre de
victoires de coupe 
1.William CroneIrelandDistillery FC Belfast1883/84 (Irl), 1884/85 (Irl), 18885/86 (Irl), 1888/89 (Ir) 
   Distillery FC Belfast1895/96 (Irl)5 (4/1)
 Robert Torrans IrelandLinfield FAC1891/92 (Irl), 1892/93 (Irl), 1894/95 (Irl) 
   Linfield FAC1897/98 (Irl), 1898/99 (Irl)5  (3/2)
3.William MaleyScotlandGlasgow Celtic FC1891/92 (Sco) 
   Glasgow Celtic FC1898/99 (Sco), 1899/1900 (Sco)3 (1/2)


“Sam” Rea, one of the founders of Linfield Football and Athletic Club, played on outside left for the club before he started coaching it. His son Robert also played for Linfield, from 1895/96 to 1902/03. His other son, Samuel, played for the Belfast clubs Linfield, Belfast Celtic, Ulster and Glentoran from 1896/97 to 1907/08.

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