1938 FA Cup Final (partially found footage of football match; 1938)

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BBC television camera pointed towards the pitch

Status: Partially Found

The 1938 FA Cup Final culminated the end of the 63rd FA Cup season. Featuring Preston North End facing and winning its second FA Cup against Huddersfield Town at Wembley Stadium in front of an audience of 93,497,[1] this was the first FA Cup to be fully televised, a trend that continues to the present day.


Both Preston North End and Huddersfield Town, as First Division members, entered the tournament in the Third Round proper. Preston North End defeated West Ham United, Leicester City, Arsenal, Brentford and Aston Villa to reach the Final. Meanwhile, Huddersfield Town's journey to the Final including it overcoming Hull City, Notts County, Liverpool, York City and previous year's champion Sunderland.[2] Preston North End were looking to add to their 1889 win, and to redeem themselves following their 1937 FA Cup Final loss to Sunderland.[3][4] The team also had vengeance as motivation. Indeed, Huddersfield Town were motivated to win their second title too, following their 1922 victory, which ironically involved the club defeating Preston in the Final.[5]

Meanwhile, the BBC had achieved success broadcasting football matches for its relatively new Television Service. After the BBC had partially shown the 1937 FA Cup Final, it broadcasted a match between Arsenal and Arsenal Reserves.[6] For the following year's FA Cup, the BBC were more ambitious, seeking to transmit the entirety of the game on television. The company had a conducted a test earlier the year, by broadcasting an international game between England and Scotland in full. With that broadcast a success, the BBC were looking to ramp things up by broadcasting what was deemed a bigger event. Having obtained permission by the Football Association (FA) to broadcast the game at Wembley, work was conducted throughout by having the outside broadcast unit of two vans relaying all football action to Alexandra Palace, the connection achieved through an aerial placed between the stadium's domes.[7]

Ultimately, Preston North End would go on to win its second and to date final FA Cup 1-0. The match was goalless, leading to extra time when Preston's George Mutch scored the winning goal in the final minute via a penalty. To this day, neither side has reached the FA Cup Final again. Meanwhile, the FA Cup became a cornerstone of football television broadcasts, to the extent where it must be broadcast on free-to-air television channels.


Like other early BBC television broadcasts, the 1938 FA Cup was broadcast live and was not recorded. Therefore, any televised footage of the event is most likely permanently missing. However, the match itself is not fully missing. Fragments of the match itself were recorded by British Movietone and British Pathé, and are still publicly accessible.


Footage of the match from British Movietone.

Footage of the match from British Pathé.


See Also

Association Football/Soccer Media

Early BBC Sports Television

Early BBC Television

Early Sports Television Media