An Exclusive reported on-line on the " Independent's " website ....
" The Football Association and the Football League have backed a proposal from The National Association of Football Statisticians to downgrade the first 22 years of the FA Cup, to the equivilant of the FA Amateur Cup which commenced in 1893-94, and ran until the 1973-74 season.
The years affected run from 1872 to 1893, and the winners of the Cup for those years will not be permitted to claim these successes as FA Cup wins on their official Club websites or publications. Explaining the reasoning, N.A.F.S. Secretary, Dr John Hickson said " Any objective analysis of the early years of the " FA Cup " reveals a large number of " byes ", " walkovers " and hugely one-sided results, and in the modern age, we no longer feel it appropriate that these early incarnations of the greatest Club knockout Cup should be classed as true F.A. Cup Competitions ". He added, " The dominance of Public School Old Boys and Military Clubs in the early years, as well as mis-matches with the early Professional Clubs coming up against "true amateur " sides, does not sit well in the modern professional age ".
An FA spokesman endorsed the decision, which is expected to be passed unopposed at next month's FA Council meeting, where the renaming of the Football Association, as the " English Football Association " is also expected to gain approval .
Some of the affected downgrading concern Clubs no longer in existance, such as Wanderers, Royal Engineers and Clapton Rovers. David Singleton, West Bromwich Albion's head of media relations said, " We accept this decision with some reluctance, but understand the reasoning behind it " . West Bromwich Albion will no longer be able to claim their 1888 & 1892 victories on their official " Roll of Honour" .
Aston Villa, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Preston North End are also affected losing one victory each, but the Club most affected is Championship side Blackburn Rovers who will have 5 of their FA Cup wins effectively deleted from the history books. No one at Blackburn Rovers was available for comment, although a source inside the Club said " they were studying the implications of the decision closely, and a statement is expected to be issued in due course ".