London (AFP) – Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour has bought the first piece of silverware won by the club — the Football Association Challenge Cup used from 1896 to 1910.
The trophy, a forerunner of the FA Cup in use today, was won by the club in 1904, when they beat Bolton Wanderers 1-0 in the final.
“City are delighted to announce we are now the proud custodian of the 1896–1910 Football Association Challenge Cup (FA Cup) following the recent purchase of the trophy at auction by club owner, His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed,” read a club statement.
“A forerunner of the FA Cup in use today, the trophy is one of the most significant artefacts in world football and the oldest surviving piece of FA Cup silverware in England,” it added.
Sheikh Mansour, who reportedly paid more than £750,000 ($1 million) for the trophy, is loaning it to the National Football Museum in Manchester.
“Winning this actual trophy in 1904 was a turning point for the club and for the city of Manchester in that it firmly cemented football in the heart of its community,” said club chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak.
Tim Desmond, chief executive of the National Football Museum, said it was a huge relief the trophy would stay in England.
“The oldest surviving FA Cup, this particular trophy was amongst the ‘crown jewels’ of our artefacts,” he said.
“When it left us in September 2019 to be auctioned by its then owner, we feared we may never see it again and that Britain would be losing the FA Cup for good.”
Manchester City, who have won the FA Cup six times, get their latest campaign under way this weekend, hosting Championship side Birmingham on Sunday.
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