Contrary to popular belief, Chelsea FC’s history actually predates 2003 and they even won an assortment of trophies over the first 98 years of their existence. But now Brentford supporters have started a petition to reclaim one of those trophies — the London War Cup, which has resided in Chelsea’s trophy cabinet since 1945.
Between 1939 and 1945, the FA Cup went on hiatus as more than 700 Football League players enlisted to fight in World War II. To fill the void, clubs brought in replacement players and temporary competitions were established, as the very real danger of bombings couldn’t keep fans from attending matches in large numbers so as to retain some fragment of normal life.
The London War Cup was one of those competitions. In its first year, the 1940/41 season, Reading defeated Brentford in the final. In the 1941/42 season, Brentford returned to the final and beat Portsmouth to lift the cup, which was promptly fumbled by captain Joe “The Original Sergio Ramos” James. (You can see this moment 6:18 into the video below.)
After that, the London War Cup was merged with the Football League War Cup, with the same trophy being carried over and awarded to the South Final winner. In 1945, Chelsea defeated Millwall 2–0 in the South Final to become the final club that would win the trophy as the end of the war brought a resumption of football as usual.
And that brings us to 70 years later, with Brentford supporters launching a Change.org petition with a letter to Chelsea demanding the Premier League club return the forgotten trophy to its “rightful” owners. The petition’s rallying cry reads:
Brentford are the current holders of the London War Cup — a competition that took place during World War 2 replacing the FA Cup — so why does the trophy reside in the Chelsea FC museum? Return it to Brentford, as we are the holders, as it should be at Griffin Park!
According to GetWestLondon, these Brentford fans are willing to negotiate, though.
Another possibility being discussed by Bees fans is asking Chelsea for a loan of the trophy, or having a replica made.
When reached for comment Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich said: