The Football Association Challenge Trophy, or the FA Trophy as it is more commonly referred to as in the game, is a football competition run for mainly semi-professional football clubs run by the English FA.
The competition was introduced in 1969 for clubs who paid their players, therefore, could not be involved in the FA Amateur Cup, a competition run from 1893 to 1974.
The FA Trophy has proven popular among semi-professional teams, as it offers them the chance to win silverware, which they were unlikely to pick up in other competitions.
Some teams have thrived in the competition, but who has won the competition the most times? Here are the most successful clubs in FA Trophy history:
The north Yorkshire club enjoyed great success in the FA Trophy in the 1970s. In fact, Boro lifted the trophy on three occasions during the decade, winning the competition in seasons 1972/73, 1975/76 and 1976/77. They were even runners-up in season 1974/75.
Apart from winning the Conference (now the National League) in 1987, the victories are arguably the club’s biggest achievement to date.
The original Scarborough Football Club went out of business in 2007. However, the phoenix club Scarborough Athletic F.C. is now in the National League North.
Joining Scarborough as the most successful team in the history of the FA Trophy is Telford United, who have also won the competition on three occasions.
Telford successfully lifted the trophy in seasons 1970–71, 1982–83 and 1988–89. Like Scarborough, the competition provided the club with the high moments in the club’s recent history.
United had also won the Welsh Cup in seasons 1901–02, 1905–06 and 1939–40 as Wellington Town, although the FA Trophy victories will likely be of more significance for most associated with the club.
Similar to Scarborough, Telford United encountered financial issues and was wound up in 2004. However, the supporters resurrected the club under the new moniker AFC Telford United.
The third team to win the FA Trophy on three occasions is Woking, who are amongst the older clubs in the non-League pyramid, having been founded in 1887. They won the FA Trophy in seasons 1993–94, 1994–95 and 1996–97. Woking had previously won the FA Amateur Cup in season 1957/58.
Unlike their fellow three-time winners, they have remained solvent, despite ups and downs in their history. Much of their recent history has been spent in the National League.
The Boro have lifted the FA Trophy on two occasions. The 2000s saw major success for Stevenage in the competition, as they lifted the trophy in 2007 and 2009. They also finished as runners-up in the competition in 2002 and 2010.
At the time of writing, Stevenage (no longer using the word Borough in their club name) doesn’t compete in the FA Trophy, as the club is currently in League Two.
The Chairboys have experienced some significant highs and lows during their history. Despite their current position in League One, during their non-League years, Wycombe won the FA Trophy twice in 1991 and 1993 under former Nottingham Forest hero Martin O’Neill.
In the first final in May 93,’ Wanderers defeated Kidderminster Harriers 2-1 at Wembley in front of a then-record crown for a FA Trophy final.
The north west outfit also won the FA Trophy on two occasions, in 1970 and in 1995. However, like many of the most successful teams in the history of the FA Trophy, Macclesfield Town endured some difficult financial issues.
In September 2020, Macclesfield Town was served with a winding-up order, which came into effect on 12th October 2020. However, soon afterwards, on October 20th, a local business person Robert Smethurst purchased Town’s assets and founded a phoenix club called Macclesfield F.C. The new club started life in the North West Counties Football League in season 2021/22.
The Minstermen won the FA Trophy in 2012 and 2017. In their first FA Trophy final, the Yorkshire outfit defeated Newport County 2-0 at Wembley. York then defeated Macclesfield Town 3-2 to lift the trophy in 2017.
York City has fluctuated between different leagues in recent decades, so they have not always competed in the FA Trophy. However, they are now back in the National League.