Modern Non-League History
England Representative Football 1970-1977
Good Bye to the Amateurs
In 1974 Bishop’s Stortford beat Ilford 4-1 at Wembley in the last FA Amateur Cup Final.
The word ‘amateur ‘ was no longer descriptive of any footballers who all became ‘players’ and if they received payments they were expected to pay income tax.
There were no more Amateur Internationals and Great Britain no longer entered a team in the Olympic Games. Traditionally amateur leagues, such as the well respected Isthmian, Northern and Athenian competitions, gradually accepted the fact that their clubs would be semi-professional in the future.
While club officials quickly adapted to the new regime, there was no replacement for the Amateur internationals - in future what honours could be earned by the best non-league players?
Would the Football Association continue to send FA X1s to play the universities and services, as these games had been used as amateur International trials?
How would our best non-league players be recognised or rewarded and should they be recognised anyway?
Could the FA Trophy and FA Vase be expected to provide the glamorous end to the season that The FA Amateur Cup Finals provided at Wembley? It was certainly still a thrill for any small club to earn the right to compete in a Wembley Final.
Supporters of Hoddesden and Epsom & Ewell football clubs will always look back at their meeting at Wembley in the first ever FA Vase Final as a wonderful milestone in their particular histories. It was certainly special for them. In The FA Trophy competition the reputation of the Northern Premier league clubs also received an impressive boost as they enjoyed consistent FA Trophy Wembley successes. But attendances certainly couldn’t compete with the old Amateur Cup support but of course times were changing.
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