In competition, two teams can usually determine who the winner in 180 minutes or two matches, at most 210 minutes because of added extra time. Now, most knockout matches in football take place in two legs.
But it wasn’t like that before. About 48 years ago, in November 1971, in England, there was a football match that the winner could only find out after undergoing the sixth match.
The match that brought together FC Alvechurch and Oxford City, became the longest football match in the history of the FA Cup, which is 11 hours. Right on November 22, 1971, Villa Park had been witnessing the end of the record for the longest match in history.
In the fourth qualifying round of the FA Cup, Alvechurch managed to beat Oxford City by a score of 1-0 after in the previous five games they always drew. They played these six games in different places over a period of 17 days in November 1971.
At that time, it was a rule in the FA Cup that if the match ended in a draw then a rematch or replay had to be played until the match found the winner.
Until now these rules are still applied. The difference is, now the match will be followed by extra time and the shootout if it is still a draw. While in the past, there were no penalties and the rematch would continue to be played until it produced a winner.
The first match was won at Alverchuch’s headquarters on November 6, 1971, which ended in a 2-2 draw. The rematch was held three days later at Oxford. But unfortunately, the match ended in a 1-1 draw again.
The same result occurred again in the third rematch which took place at the Birmingham City headquarters in St Andrew. In both the fourth and fifth replay matches were ended with a score of glasses.
In the sixth match, Alvechurch finally won a 1-0 victory over Oxford. Bobby Hope’s single goal successfully nested in the 588th minute or precisely in the 18th minute in the sixth match.
At Villa Park, Aston Villa chairman, Doug Ellis, even poured champagne on all Alvechurch players to celebrate the team’s entry into the Guinness Book of Records.
Except for the first and last fight, the match must pass the extra time. In total, the two teams competed in 660 minutes.
In the long match, several players had suffered injuries. Because, besides playing in the FA Cup, some of them also competed in league competitions.
The most serious injury came after ten minutes of the fifth match, when Oxford player Eric Metcalfe, suffered a fibula crack. Not only players were injured, but during the game, the players must also be soaked by rain and ice for playing in a bad winter.
During the 17 days of competition, both teams seemed to have known each other and knew how each other play. The decision to make a joint squad was agreed upon.
In the next round, Alvechurch (with Oxford) met with Aldershot Town two days later. Aldershot won 4-2. Alvechurch’s defeat was allegedly due to the exhaustion of the players who had previously competed for 17 days against Oxford with only one day rest.
Meanwhile, Aldershot already had many opportunities to learn about his opponent’s game during the long match between Alvechurch and Oxford, which they previously watched, to compete in the first round of the FA Cup.
The FA Cup in that season eventually produced Arsenal as the champion after beating Liverpool in the final.