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Blackburn Olympic
Blackburn Olympic.png
Full name Blackburn Olympic Football Club
Nickname(s) The Light Blues
Founded 1878
Dissolved 1889
Ground Hole-i'th'-Wall
1888-89 The Combination

Blackburn Olympic F.C. was an English association football club based in Blackburn, Lancashire in the late 19th century. Although the club was only in existence for just over a decade, it is significant in the history of football in England as the first club from the north of the country and the first from a working-class background to win the country's leading competition, the Football Association Challenge Cup (FA Cup). The cup had previously been won only by teams of wealthy amateurs from the Home counties, and Olympic's victory marked a turning point in the sport's transition from a pastime for upper-class gentlemen to a professional sport.

The club was formed in 1878 and initially took part only in minor local competitions. In 1880, the club entered the FA Cup for the first time, and three years later defeated Old Etonians at Kennington Oval to win the trophy. This victory was a significant factor in the decision by the sport's governing body, The Football Association, to allow professionalism two years later. Olympic, however, proved unable to compete with wealthier and better-supported clubs in the professional era, and folded in 1889.

Most of Olympic's home matches took place at the Hole-i'-th-Wall stadium, named after an adjacent public house. From 1880 onwards, the club's first-choice colours consisted of light blue shirts and white shorts. One Olympic player, James Ward, was selected for the England team and six other former or future England internationals played for the club, including Jack Hunter, who was the club's coach at the time of Olympic's FA Cup win.


Blackburn Olympic's chief rivalry was with Blackburn Rovers. The first match between the two clubs was a game in February 1879, which resulted in a 3–1 win for Olympic. The clubs played each other forty times, but Olympic won only six of these matches. The rivalry became especially fierce in September 1884, when, amid accusations that the clubs were using underhand tactics in attempts to "poach" each other's star players, the Rovers' secretary sent a telegram to his opposite number stating that his club would play no matches against Olympic in the 1884–85 season. In December, however, the clubs were drawn against each other in the FA Cup, and matches between the rivals resumed later that season. Their final meeting was a benefit match for Olympic in February 1889, which Rovers won 6–1. Rovers agreed to allow the financially embarrassed Olympic to keep all available gate money, instead of sharing it.

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