1903 FA Cup Final (lost footage of football match; 1903)

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Photo of the match.

Status: Lost

The 1903 FA Cup Final culminated the 32nd FA Cup season. Occurring on 18th April in front of 63,102 at the Crystal Palace, the match saw Bury defeat Derby County 6-0 to claim its second FA Cup. It is the joint-biggest one-sided match in FA Cup Final history, alongside the 2019 Final.


Bury and Derby County, as Football League First Division members, entered the tournament in the First Round Proper.[1][2] Bury's road to the Final saw them defeat Wolverhampton Wanderers, Sheffield United, Notts County, and Aston Villa.[2] Meanwhile, Derby's campaign saw the club overcome Small Heath, Blackburn Rovers, Stoke, and Millwall Athletic.[2] Bury were seeking to claim their second FA Cup, having claimed their first in 1900.[3] Meanwhile, Derby aimed to finally claim the Cup for the third time, after having been defeated in the 1898 and 1899 Finals.[4]

Heading into the match, Derby was deemed the favourites after recording a strong period.[5] However, Bury held the advantage of having all its preferred line-up at its disposal, with the Rams concerned regarding Steve Bloomer and goalkeeper Jack Fryer's fitness.[6][5] Of the two, only Fryer competed, deeming himself fit enough to play despite managing an injury from an earlier league game.[6] Bury had also entered the Final without conceding a goal throughout the tournament.[5][6] Meanwhile, The Bury Times noted that at one of Crystal Palace's stands, a cinematograph could be seen at the top.[6] The organisation conducting the filming of the Final was the Warwick Trading Company, with The British Film Catalogue listing its films titled "The Football Cup Final" as being about 300 feet.[7] Previously, the company had filmed the 1899 FA Cup Final between Sheffield United and Derby, which marked the first instance of the Final being filmed.[8]

The Match

The Final itself commenced on 18th April with 63,102 fans in attendance at the Crystal Palace.[9][5] Despite being deemed the underdogs, it was Bury who controlled play early on.[5] After 20 minutes, the Shakers took the lead courtesy of a bouncing shot from George Ross.[6][9] But in spite of Bury's control, Derby nearly equalised near half-time, only for Ross to clear the shot from the goal-line.[6] Early into the second-half, Bury made it 2-0 when Charlie Sager collided with Fryer as the former scored.[6][5][9] Fryer further injured himself as a result of the collision.[6][5] He was replaced by left-back Charlie Morris, who could not prevent a chip from Joe Leeming from entering the goal after 56 minutes.[6][5][9] Fryer placed himself back in goal, and was immediately forced to deflect a shot from Frank Thorpe.[6] Ultimately, it allowed Willie Wood to capitalise on the rebound to make it 4-0.[6][5][9]

Two minutes afterwards, Jack Plant ploughed through the defence on the left-hand side of the pitch, slamming the ball into the corner to allow the Shakers to lead 5-0.[6][5][9] Morris replaced Fryer for the remaining duration of the game after 65 minutes, with him conceding a sixth goal when Leeming fired a seemingly unsavable shot ten minutes later.[6][5][9] Most observers noted that Derby were absolutely outclassed by the opposition, with the few attacks being nullified by the Shaker defence.[5][6] Therefore, Bury claimed their second FA Cup Final, and delivered the biggest win in Final history, which was previously held by Blackburn Rovers during its 6-1 1890 victory against The Wednesday.[6][5] Only Manchester City have since matched that record, with a 6-0 win against Watford in 2019.[10] The club also became the second to win the FA Cup without conceding a goal throughout the entire tournament, the first being Preston North End in 1889.[6][5][9] The Daily Chronicle praised the Bury team and sharply criticised the Rams, claiming it could have been a 20-0 thumping had Bury not shown mercy.[6]

For Bury, this was to date its last FA Cup win.[3] On 27th August 2019, the club was expelled from League One after experiencing severe financial difficulties.[11] As of the present day, the club still "exists" but is currently not playing in a league, with talks of a merger with phoenix club Bury AFC ongoing.[12] Meanwhile, some again believed Derby was the target of a rather politically incorrect "gypsy curse" following its third consecutive FA Cup Final defeat, allegedly inflicted onto the club when its owners evicted Romani gypsies living within the area of the Baseball Ground.[13] Concerns of a so-called "curse" at FA Cup Finals was finally lifted in 1946, when Derby beat Charlton Athletic 4-1 after extra time to claim its first, and to date, only, FA Cup.[13][4]


Ultimately, early football films are scarce, with Warwick Trading Company's recording of the 1899 FA Cup Final also being declared missing.[8] No footage of the 1903 film, believed to have been recorded by H.M. Lomas, is known to have survived either, although a photo of the event has resurfaced.[14][7]

See Also


  1. World Football detailing the 1902/1903 Football League First Division table. Retrieved 24th Nov '22
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 RSSSF detailing the road to the 1903 FA Cup Final. Retrieved 24th Nov '22
  3. 3.0 3.1 Transfer Markt detailing Bury's trophy cabinet. Retrieved 24th Nov '22
  4. 4.0 4.1 Derby County detailing its trophy cabinet. Retrieved 24th Nov '22
  5. 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 5.11 5.12 5.13 Archived FA Cup Finals summarising the 1903 Final. Retrieved 24th Nov '22
  6. 6.00 6.01 6.02 6.03 6.04 6.05 6.06 6.07 6.08 6.09 6.10 6.11 6.12 6.13 6.14 6.15 6.16 Archived Bury detailing its 1903 win and providing quotes from The Bury Times and The Daily Chronicle. Retrieved 24th Nov '22
  7. 7.0 7.1 British Film Catalogue listing the Warwick Trading Company film of the Final Retrieved 24th Nov '22
  8. 8.0 8.1 The Bioscope detailing the Warwick Trading Company missing film of the 1899 Final. Retrieved 24th Nov '22
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 9.7 11 vs 11 detailing the result of the match and other statistics. Retrieved 24th Nov '22
  10. BBC Sport reporting on Manchester City beating Watford 6-0 at the 2019 Final. Retrieved 24th Nov '22
  11. BBC Sport reporting on Bury being expelled from League One in 2019. Retrieved 24th Nov '22
  12. The Guardian reporting on the Bury merger situation. Retrieved 24th Nov '22
  13. 13.0 13.1 Spooky Isles detailing Derby County's alleged "gypsy curse". Retrieved 24th Nov '22
  14. Blog dedicated towards Charles Urban films summarising H.M. Lomas and his work. Retrieved 24th Nov '22