On 20 July 1871, FA secretary Charles Alcock made a proposal for the competition that became the FA Cup, the oldest association football competition in the world.
At the meeting, Alcock, who had already been instrumental in the sport's development as captain of the English national team and organizer of the first international match between England and Scotland, suggested "That it is desirable that a Challenge Cup should be established in connection with the Association, for which all clubs belonging to the Association should be invited to compete." The idea was inspired by an inter-house competition at Alcock's alma mater, the Harrow School.
The FA approved Alcock's proposal and fifteen teams competed in the inaugural tournament, which ran from November 1871 to March 1872. Wanderers FC, based in London's Battersea district, lifted that first trophy, led by their captain, Charles Alcock. They repeated as champions in 1873, and won the tournament again in 1876, 1877, and 1878.