The FA Vase, or the Football Association Challenge Vase to give it its full name, is a cup competition run by the English Football Association (FA), which started in season 1974/75. The competition replaced the old FA Amateur Cup. The top non-league teams of English football play in the FA Trophy, so they do not appear in the FA Vase.
The competition is played by the teams in tiers five to seven of the English National League system, which means teams from tiers nine to 11 in the overall English football pyramid.
Many teams have been successful in the competition, but which team has won the competition most often? Here are the most successful teams in the competition’s history:
Whitley Bay four-time winners
The Seahorses are the most successful team in the history of the FA Vase, having lifted the trophy on four occasions. The team from the north east first won the trophy in 2002, when they defeated Tiptree United 1-0 in the final at Villa Park after extra time. Whitley Bay won their next three FA Vases at the new Wembley in three consecutive seasons in 2008–09, 2009–10 and 2010–11.
Their 2009 triumph saw Whitley Bay defeat Glossop North End 2-0 before 6-1 and 3-2 victories over Wroxham and Coalville Town, respectively, in their last two FA Vase triumphs. The four victories at Wembley have been the highlights for a club that has existed since 1897 in various forms.
Billericay Town three-time winners
The ambitious Essex outfit currently operates in the seventh tier of English football. However, Ricay won the FA Vase on three occasions before their elevation up the leagues. All three of their FA Vase successes came in the early days of the competition. In fact, Billericay won the competition in its second and third years of existence in seasons 1975–76 and 1976–77 before their final competition victory that came in season 1979/80.
The first victory came via an extra-time 1-0 victory over Stamford, while they needed penalty kicks to see off Sheffield FC in the following year’s final. However, the next season they beat the same opponents 2-1 at the City Ground to lift the trophy.
Tiverton Town two-time winners
The Yellows won their first FA Vase trophy back in 1998, as they defeated north east team Tow Law 1-0 in the final of the competition. They returned the next season to win the competition again, this time seeing off Bedlington Terriers 1-0 to claim the trophy. Town had also previously finished as runners-up in the competition in 1993, having suffered a 1-0 final defeat against Bridlington Town.
Halesowen Town two-time winners
The team from the Midlands are also two-time winners of the competition. The Yeltz first won the trophy in season 1984/85 beating Fleetwood Town 3-1 at Wembley to claim the trophy. They returned to the national stadium the following year to retain their crown, beating Southall 3-0 in the final of the competition. However, Town’s first FA Vase final appearance in 1983 ended in a 1-0 defeat against VS Rugby.
Brigg Town two-time winners
The Lincolnshire team lifted the trophy twice in 1996 and 2003. Their first victory in 96’ saw Town hammer Clitheroe 3-0 at the old Wembley. Their second victory in 2003 was a slightly closer one, as they defeated A.F.C Sudbury at West Ham’s Boleyn Ground.
Stamford one-time winners
Many clubs have won the FA Vase on one occasion. However, none have won the competition once and also finished the competition as runners-up on two occasions apart from the Daniels. Stamford’s solitary triumph in the competition came in 1980 when they defeated Guisborough Town 2-0.
They had previously reached the final of the competition in 1976, only the second season of the competition, and suffered a 1-0 extra-time defeat to Billericay Town. The last time Stamford reached the final was in 1984, when they suffered a 3-2 final loss at the hands of Stansted.
Forest Green Rovers one-time winners
Rovers have enjoyed a spectacular rise up the non-League pyramid and are currently in the Football League. The club from Gloucestershire, famous for its eco-friendly approach to football, are unlikely to be challenging for the FA Vase anytime soon. However, back in 1982, Rovers won the competition by recording a 3-0 win over Rainworth Minors Welfare. It could be argued that the victory was eclipsed slightly in season 2021/22 when Forest Green won the English League Two title.