1985-1986 WFA Cup (lost list of entries for football tournament; 1985)

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Programme for the Final.

Status: Lost

The 1985-1986 WFA Cup was the 16th season of the Women's Football Association (WFA) Cup. Occurring from October 6th, 1985 to May 4th, 1986, the tournament would be won by Norwich Ladies, defeating Doncaster Belles 4-3 in the Final. Prior to the FA taking over the women's game in 1992, documentation of women's football in England was scarce and often received little-to-no secure storage. Among missing information regarding the history of the WFA Cup includes the list of entries for the 1985-1986 edition.


Before 1992, English women's football was not controlled by the FA.[1][2] In fact, the FA banned women from competing on Football League grounds between 1921 to 1969, deeming that "the game of football is quite unsuitable for females and ought not to be encouraged."[3][1][2] Only through the formation of the WFA in 1969 did this ban get overturned, with significant lobbying from the new organisation being influential for the FA's change of mind in 1971.[3][1][2] The first WFA Cup was established in 1970, with the first game being an 8-0 victory for Leicester City Supporters Ladies against Lichfield side Wandering Angels.[1][2]

Despite its u-turn, the FA still kept its distance from the women's game.[2] Thus, the volunteer organisation WFA handled proceedings, albeit with a significantly reduced budget compared to men's football, as well as receiving less coverage.[1][2] With women's football generally overlooked by the mainstream media, many of the games played between the 1970s to the early-1990s were seldom covered by broadcasters and newspapers.[1][2] Thus, when football historians Rob Dale and Tim Roast began their research WFA Cup on matches, they initially were taken aback at the lack of available information.[1] With their endeavours, plus the assistance of former England player Lori Hoey, BBC sports journalist Chris Slegg, and founding WFA member Patricia Gregory, much of the WFA's and the WFA Cup's history has been uncovered.[1][2] By the time Slegg and Gregory's 2021 book A History of the Women's FA Cup Final was published, they had uncovered every single scorer of every WFA Cup Final.[2][1]

The Missing 1985-1986 WFA Cup Entries List

Ultimately, despite the progress achieved by each volunteer, none have been able to find the full list of entries for the 1985-1986 WFA Cup.[4][1][2] Aside from the lack of media coverage, another issue that has caused the disappearance of much of the WFA's history was the storage of WFA documents.[1] According to Gregory, the organisation lacked an office for its first 14 years, forcing volunteers to store the documents in their homes.[1] Additionally, Gregory suspects that when the WFA's control of women's football was handed over to the FA in 1992, the latter organisation lacked interest in safely storing the materials that were passed onto them by WFA volunteers.[1][2]

As of the present day, the 1985-86 tournament remains the only WFA Cup to lack an entries list, with the preceding 1984-1985 tournament known to have received 110 entries, and the sequel 1986-1987 Cup containing 108.[5][6][1] The majority of known matches is also slim, with just four First Round games being identified.[1] Hence, there has been a continual request for anyone with new information regarding the tournament or other WFA Cup matches to come forward with their finds.[7]

Nevertheless, while the entries list is missing, the paths Norwich Ladies and Doncaster Belles took towards reaching the Final have been fully documented.[4] Norwich defeated Leicester, Hemel Hempstead, Cove Krakatoa, Kirby Sports Centre, Tottenham Hotspur, and Aylesbury to reach the Final.[4] Meanwhile, Doncaster's campaign saw it overcome CP Doncaster, Notts Rangers, Droitwich, Biggleswade, Keynsham, and Millwall Lionesses.[4] In the Final at Norwich's Carrow Road, the hosts edged out the visitors 4-3 to win its first, and to date, only WFA Cup.[4][2]

See Also