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Northern Ireland - Unofficial Football World Champions

The CW Alcock Cup
When Northern Ireland's senior team next take the field they will face Italy for the virtual honour of the CW Alcock Cup and the title: Unofficial Football World Champions [UFWC]. The last time we competed for the crown we were a missed penalty away from taking it from the Netherlands!

The idea of the UFWC follows the boxing model, a title holder defends his belt in each match, retaining it if he wins or draws, or passing it on to the one that defeats him.

The idea goes back to 1967 when Scotland defeated World Cup holders England, and were jokingly proclaimed as World Champions. Given Northern Ireland had faced England in their first post-'66 match, we could have held the UFWC title if not for the small matter of a 2-0 defeat!

Formalised in 2003 by Paul Brown, the award was retrospectively dated back to the second ever international fixture in 1873, when England claimed the title with a 4-2 win over Scotland. This was a repeat of the first ever international fixture between the same two teams which had finished scoreless and thus the title sat vacant for its first year.

Elisha Scott, 
Ireland's last UFWC,
 winning captain
struggling to get his
hands on a virtual cup!

The crown was swapped between England and Scotland (who remain top of the all-time rankings) until Ireland managed to claim it for the first time in 1903, and Wales became the fourth different title holders in 1907. The title was held almost exclusively by the Home Nations up to the Second World War (it was briefly taken by Austria in 1931-32), so Ireland usually had at least one chance to claim the title per year. Since the War, Northern Ireland's opportunities to compete for the title have become increasingly rare - the forthcoming match against Italy will be only their 12th time challenging for the UFWC since international football resumed in 1947 while they contested 52 title matches prior to 1939.

In total (Northern) Ireland have held the title on four different occasions (1903-1904, 1914-1920, 1927-1928 and, most recently, in 1933). The period 1914-1920 straddled the First World War and the reign of 6 years and 28 days is a record unlikely to ever be beaten. Another record, though this one unwanted, is the 87 years (and counting) since our last title. This is the longest of any nations (for context, Zimbabwe, Georgia and Costa Rica have all held the title more recently than us!).

Northern Ireland's Record in UFWC Matches:

#

Date

Home

Score

Away

Venue

 

Result

Reign matches /days

 

20

26/01/1884

Ireland

0-5

Scotland

Belfast

BC

SCO retain

 

{1}

23

14/03/1885

Scotland

8-2

Ireland

Glasgow

BC

SCO retain

 

 

26

20/03/1886

Ireland

2-7

Scotland

Belfast

BC

SCO retain

 

 

29

19/02/1887

Scotland

4-1

Ireland

Glasgow

BC

SCO retain

 

 

34

31/03/1888

Ireland

1-5

England

Belfast

BC

ENG retain

 

 

36

02/03/1889

England

6-1

Ireland

Liverpool

BC

ENG retain

 

 

40

29/03/1890

Ireland

1-4

Scotland

Belfast

BC

SCO retain

 

 

43

28/03/1891

Scotland

2-1

Ireland

Glasgow

BC

SCO retain

 

 

45

05/03/1892

Ireland

0-2

England

Belfast

BC

ENG retain

 

 

48

25/02/1893

England

6-1

Ireland

Birmingham

BC

ENG retain

 

 

51

03/03/1894

Ireland

2-2

England

Belfast

BC

ENG retain

 

{2}

54

09/03/1895

England

9-0

Ireland

Derby

BC

ENG retain

 

 

57

07/03/1896

Ireland

0-2

England

Belfast

BC

ENG retain

 

 

61

27/03/1897

Scotland

5-1

Ireland

Glasgow

BC

SCO retain

 

 

64

26/03/1898

Ireland

0-3

Scotland

Belfast

BC

SCO retain

 

 

66

18/02/1899

England

13-2

Ireland

Sunderland

BC

ENG retain

 

 

69

17/03/1900

Ireland

0-2

England

Dublin

BC

ENG retain

 

 

72

23/02/1901

Scotland

11-0

Ireland

Glasgow

BC

SCO retain

 

 

75

01/03/1902

Ireland

1-5

Scotland

Belfast

BC

SCO retain

 

 

80

21/03/1903

Scotland

0-2

Ireland

Glasgow

BC

IRE claim

 

{3}

81

28/03/1903

Ireland

2-0

Wales

Belfast

BC

IRE retain

 

 

82

12/03/1904

Ireland

1-3

England

Belfast

BC

ENG claim

2 (357)

 

84

25/02/1905

England

1-1

Ireland

Middlesbro

BC

ENG retain

 

 

87

17/02/1906

Ireland

0-5

England

Belfast

BC

ENG retain

 

 

93

14/03/1908

Ireland

0-5

Scotland

Dublin

BC

SCO retain

 

 

101

12/02/1910

Ireland

1-1

England

Belfast

BC

ENG retain

 

 

105

18/03/1911

Scotland

2-0

Ireland

Glasgow

BC

SCO retain

 

 

108

16/03/1912

Ireland

1-4

Scotland

Belfast

BC

SCO retain

 

 

111

15/03/1913

Ireland

1-2

Scotland

Dublin

BC

SCO retain

 

 

113

14/02/1914

England

0-3

Ireland

Middlesbro

BC

IRE claim

 

 

114

14/03/1914

Ireland

1-1

Scotland

Belfast

BC

IRE retain

 

 

115

25/10/1919

Ireland

1-1

England

Belfast

BC

IRE retain

 

{4}

116

14/02/1920

Ireland

2-2

Wales

Belfast

BC

IRE retain

 

 

117

13/03/1920

Scotland

3-0

Ireland

Glasgow

BC

SCO claim

4 (2219)

 

119

23/10/1920

England

2-0

Ireland

Sunderland

BC

ENG retain

 

 

125

03/03/1923

Ireland

0-1

Scotland

Belfast

BC

SCO retain

 

{5}

130

15/03/1924

Ireland

0-1

Wales

Belfast

BC

WAL retain

 

 

132

28/02/1925

Ireland

0-3

Scotland

Belfast

BC

SCO retain

 

 

135

27/02/1926

Scotland

4-0

Ireland

Glasgow

BC

SCO retain

 

 

138

26/02/1927

Ireland

0-2

Scotland

Belfast

BC

SCO retain

 

 

143

22/10/1927

Ireland

2-0

England

Belfast

BC

IRE claim

 

 

144

04/02/1928

Ireland

1-2

Wales

Belfast

BC

WAL claim

1 (105)

 

146

23/02/1929

Ireland

3-7

Scotland

Belfast

BC

SCO retain

 

 

152

22/02/1930

Scotland

3-1

Ireland

Glasgow

BC

SCO retain

 

 

156

20/10/1930

England

5-1

Ireland

Sheffield

BC

ENG retain

 

 

173

16/09/1933

Scotland

1-2

Ireland

Glasgow

BC

IRE claim

 

 

174

14/10/1933

Ireland

0-3

England

Belfast

BC

ENG claim

1 (28)

 

178

06/02/1935

England

2-1

Ireland

Liverpool

BC

ENG retain

 

 

181

13/11/1935

Scotland

2-1

Ireland

Edinburgh

BC

SCO retain

 

 

184

31/10/1936

Ireland

1-3

Scotland

Belfast

BC

SCO retain

 

 

186

17/03/1937

Wales

4-1

Ireland

Wrexham

BC

WAL retain

 

 

192

08/10/1938

Ireland

0-2

Scotland

Belfast

BC

SCO retain

 

 

249

09/10/1948

Ireland

2-6

England

Belfast

BC

ENG retain

 

 

254

01/10/1949

Ireland

2-8

Scotland

Belfast

WQ

SCO retain

 

{6}

323

15/06/1958

W.Germany

2-2

N. Ireland

Malmo-SWE

WC

GER retain

 

{7}

381

22/10/1966

N.Ireland

0-2

England

Belfast

EQ

ENG retain

 

{8}

421

16/02/1972

N.Ireland

1-1

Spain

Hull-ENG

EQ

SPA retain

 

 

450

17/05/1975

N.Ireland

0-0

England

Belfast

FR

ENG retain

 

 

674

09/11/1996

Germany

1-1

N.Ireland

Nuremburg

WQ

GER retain

 

 

680

20/08/1997

N.Ireland

1-3

Germany

Belfast

WQ

GER retain

 

 

881

30/05/2014

Uruguay

1-0

N.Ireland

Montevideo

FR

URU retain

 

{9}

961

10/10/2019

Netherlands

3-1

N.Ireland

Rotterdam

EQ

NED retain

 

 

963

16/11/2019

N.Ireland

0-0

Netherlands

Belfast

EQ

NED retain

 

 

973

25/03/2021

Italy

-

N.Ireland

tbc

WQ

tbd

-

-

Notes:

1

Ireland's first UFWC match; title had only been held by ENG or SCO up to this point; this was the first ever British Championship match and hence first competitive international fixture (all previous encounters had been "friendlies")

2

first time Ireland avoided defeat in UFWC match; holders England retain title

3

Ireland become first country other than England or Scotland to hold the title

4

first UFWC match after First World War

5

first UFWC match after partition of Ireland [separate FAI created in 1921, first match by Irish Free State in 1924]

6

match doubled as British Championship and World Cup qualifier; first time Ireland played a UFWC match that wasn't exclusively a Home Nations match

7

first UFWC match for "Northern Ireland"; Northern Ireland’s first UFWC match against non-UK side, Northern Ireland’s first match against FIFA World Cup holders

8

England's first match after claiming FIFA World Cup and UFWC title

9

Northern Ireland's first UFWC match against non-UEFA side

Summary:

Matches

Pl

W

D

L

As challengers

55

4

8

43

As champions

8

1

3

4

TOTAL

63

5

11

47


Results by Opponent:

As challengers

As champions

 

Pl

W

D

L

W

D

L

England

23

2

4

14

0

1

2

Germany (W.)

3

0

2

1

-

-

-

Italy

0

-

-

-

-

-

-

Netherlands

2

0

1

1

-

-

-

Scotland

28

2

0

24

0

1

1

Spain

1

0

1

0

-

-

-

Uruguay

1

0

0

1

-

-

-

Wales

5

0

0

2

1

1

1

 

63

4

8

43

1

3

4


Venues:

As challengers

As champions

City

Type

Pl

W

D

L

W

D

L

Belfast (NIR)

H

33

1

4

21

1

3

3

Birmingham (ENG)

A

1

0

0

1

-

-

-

Derby (ENG)

A

1

0

0

1

-

-

-

Dublin (IRL)

H

3

0

0

3

-

-

-

Edinburgh (SCO)

A

1

0

0

1

-

-

-

Glasgow (SCO)

A

11

2

0

8

0

0

1

Hull (ENG)

H

1

0

1

0

-

-

-

Liverpool (ENG)

A

2

0

0

2

-

-

-

Malmo (SWE)

N

1

0

1

0

-

-

-

Middlesbrough (ENG)

A

2

1

1

0

-

-

-

Montevideo (URU)

A

1

0

0

1

-

-

-

Nuremburg (GER)

A

1

0

1

0

-

-

-

Rotterdam (NED)

A

1

0

0

1

-

-

-

Sheffield (ENG)

A

1

0

0

1

-

-

-

Sunderland (ENG)

A

2

0

0

2

-

-

-

Wrexham (WAL)

A

1

0

0

1

-

-

-

tbc (ITA)

A

0

-

-

-

-

-

-

 

 

63

4

8

43

1

3

4


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