A Burnley FA Cup final shirt and winner’s medal will take pride of place in a new exhibition at the National Football Museum to mark football’s important role in World War One.
Entitled “The Greater Game – Football & The First World War”, the new exhibition, which is free to all visitors, opens on 19th December 2014 and celebrates the centenary year of WW1 together with the role that football played within the war.
The National Football Museum has included a 1914 Burnley FA Cup Final shirt and winner’s medal, belonging to legendary player Edwin Mosscrop, at the heart of the numerous exhibits on display.
Edwin “Eddie” Mosscrop was an English professional footballer who played as a winger. He won two caps for the England national football team in 1914 and was part of the Burnley side that won the last pre-war FA Cup in the same year.
He served with the British Army in Salonika during the First World War, before returning to Burnley in 1919.
He was forced to retire from professional football in November 1922 due to a serious illness and subsequently returned to his hometown of Southport to work as a schoolteacher. He was the last surviving pre-World War I England international.
The 1914 FA Cup Final was contested by Burnley and Liverpool at Crystal Palace. Burnley won by a single goal, scored by ex-Evertonian Bert Freeman. The game was the last ever final at Crystal Palace and was played in front of a reigning monarch, George V, for the first time. Neither club had reached the FA Cup Final before.
Mosscrop started playing football in Southport with Blowick FC, before a spell with Shepherd’s Bush FC of London, when he also represented Middlesex FA, whilst he was training to be a teacher.
But he soon returned north to play for Southport YMCA and then Southport Central FC, then signed amateur forms with Burnley FC in 1912, signing professional forms in September 1912.
In his 176 appearances for Burnley, a career broken up military service in Salonika, he notched up 19 goals.
Kevin Moore, Director of the National Football Museum, said: “We’re delighted to be able to exhibit Eddie Mosscrop’s 1914 FA Cup Final shirt and winner’s medal. His story is typical of the footballers of the day – his career put on hold while he fought in the war – and then re-started on his return from the front lines.
“His place in history is assured not only by his service in the armed forces but also by the fact that he was a player in Burnley’s 1914 FA Cup final victory, which was the last played at Crystal Palace and the first played in front of a reigning monarch.”
By 1914 football was Britain’s most popular spectator sport and is forever connected to WWI through Christmas truce matches or troops advancing behind a football. However, there is plenty more to discover at the museum from the controversy surrounding the continuation of the 1914/15 football season during hostilities, to players of the ‘Footballers battalion’ who fought and died.
“The Greater Game” tells these stories through an incredible collection of memorabilia and artefacts donated from across the globe. Separating fact from fiction, the exhibition dissects the Christmas Truce matches as well as commemorating the sacrifices made by players from clubs across the land.
The National Football Museum provides a world-class home for the new exhibition and the greatest collection of football memorabilia ever assembled, in addition to housing its nationally-recognised Hall of Fame in Manchester.