The Derbyshire Senior Cup – officially known as the Derbyshire County Football Association Senior Challenge Cup Competition – is another of the County FA trophies with a history which goes back almost to the very beginning of organised football.
The competition, which is now open to Derbyshire FA affiliated clubs from Step 7 up to the professional game, began in the 1883/84 season and was won by Staveley who defeated Derby Midland in the final. Many of our clubs will be familiar with Staveley Miners Welfare FC through meetings in FA competitions down the years. This is not the same club as the original Staveley FC although there are links for those interested to follow up on this one.
Over the years there have been several controversies regarding the participation of the two professional clubs in Derbyshire namely, Derby County and Chesterfield. The first of these goes way back to the 1884/85 season when what was described as “miscommunication” resulted in Derby County being thrown out of the competition for, essentially, not fulfilling a fixture. Derby County took offence at this and only returned to the competition in the 1887/88 season.
More recent controversies also relate to the participation of both Derby County and Chesterfield in the competition. In the 2010/11 season, these two professional clubs returned to the competition after a 25-year absence. Good news we may think but such a move was not universally welcomed. Indeed, following a 14-1 scoreline in a match between Derby County and Shirebrook Town played at Derby College several complaints were made about the disparity in playing standards between the professional teams and those somewhat lower down the football pyramid on the grounds that such matches were not a contest, did nothing for the morale of the losing side and devalued the competition as a whole.
This last point goes further in that it was contended that whilst the competition was important for the semi-professional clubs it was treated with some disdain by the two professional clubs. This debate still rumbles on from time to time but having said that it was that 2010/11 season which last saw Derby County win the competition.
Of more recent times, Derby County and Chesterfield tend to enter youth or Reserves sides into this competition but they don’t participate every season.
The current holders are Alfreton Town who defeated Mickleover Sports 2-1 in the final played at Pride Park on April 24th 2019. Mention of Pride Park as the venue for the final is of some interest herein that, for any number of reasons, the final has, of recent times, been played at Pride Park, the Proact Stadium (home to Chesterfield FC) and Alfreton Town FC.
Astute readers will note that we have made no comment as yet about the trophy itself and there is a simple reason for that in that there is no readily available information. If we have a look at the photo of the trophy we can suggest that this trophy was not competed for back in 1883/84. Such comment is made simply on stylistic grounds in that a trophy dating from the 1880s would be expected to be much more ornate than this one. If anyone has any more information about the trophy then please feel free to get in touch.
The footprint of the NWCFL is such that we don’t have many member clubs from the Derbyshire County FA area. In fact, we have only had two since the beginning of the League those being New Mills and Glossop North End. Indeed, Glossop North End won this trophy in 2000/1 season when they were members of the NWCFL by defeating Glapwell in what was then a two-legged final. New Mills has never won it.