Manchester City owner Sheik Mansour secretly bought the oldest surviving FA Cup trophy for £760,000, Sportsmail can reveal.
David Gold, the co-owner of West Ham, opted to sell the cup last year and there were fears that the trophy – in use between 1896 and 1910 – could disappear from the UK.
Mansour stepped in to buy the second edition of the FA Cup, considered an item of international historic significance by the Arts Council, at auction in September. City will loan the trophy to the National Football Museum indefinitely.
The specific trophy holds special significance for City, whose victory in 1904 was their first taste of success and is credited with switching the region’s loyalties away from rugby. Rivals Manchester United would go on to lift their first FA Cup five years later.
‘This cup is a visible reminder of the rich and long history of English football to which Manchester City is inextricably entwined,’ said City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak.
‘Winning this actual trophy in 1904 was a turning point for the club and for the city of Manchester in that it firmly cemented football in the heart of its community.
‘Sheik Mansour’s view is that a trophy of such cultural significance must be shared with the people of Manchester and the English football family. The National Football Museum is in a unique position to do that.’
The National Football Museum had displayed the cup at Preston North End’s home, Deepdale, before the gallery switched locations to Manchester in 2012. But it was removed in 2019 when Gold – who spent £478,000 to save it in a similar situation while in control at Birmingham City 15 years ago – decided to sell it.
The museum’s chief executive Tim Desmond said: ‘We feared we may never see it again and that Britain would be losing the FA Cup for good.
‘The fact that it has been bought by His Highness Sheik Mansour and offered back to us is simply wonderful news for the preservation of our sporting heritage in this country.
‘We are blessed to have many wonderful items on display but, as the oldest surviving FA Cup, this particular trophy was among the ‘crown jewels’ of our artefacts.’
City are commemorating their 1904 FA Cup win with a documentary produced by the club’s television arm, CityTV, set for release on Friday.