Robert Vidal

Robert Vidal

Robert Walpole Sealy Vidal (born 3 September 1853 in Cornborough near Bideford, Devon, England) was a prominent 19th century footballer who featured in the first three FA Cup Finals for two different clubs.

He was known as Walpole Vidal, not Robert Vidal.

Football career

Not much is known about Robert Vidal's career. He was well known however as the "prince of dribblers". In those days, the rule was that the team that scored also kicked off afterwards. On one occasion this rule allowed Vidal to score three goals in a match without the other team touching the ball.] , BBC website] He played in the first three FA Cup Finals, of 1872, 1873 and 1874. He attended school at Westminster, London and university at Christ Church, Oxford before becoming a reverend. He was a member of the Wanderers F.C. team as they won the first ever FA Cup. It is said that he assisted the first ever FA Cup final goal. Vidal broke away and looped the ball across to Morton Betts, who shot between the posts.

The following year, Vidal had moved to Oxford. His team reached the final, where they faced Vidal's old side, the Wanderers. However Oxford could not penetrate the defences and Wanderers won 2-0.

In the next season, Oxford again qualified for the final, this time to face the Royal Engineers. Vidal played again, setting up Charles Mackarness's goal as Oxford University romped with a 2-0 victory. Vidal became the only person to have played in all three of the first FA Cup Finals. However, he never played in a final again. The University side reached the semi-finals in the next year, 1875, but the Engineers exacted their revenge by winning 1-0.

Vidal also has the very peculiar honour of being the only person to score a hat-trick without anybody else touching the ball! Such were the rules of the day, that the team who had scored got to restart the match. Vidal scored his first, took the ball out of the net, put it down on the centre spot, ran the length of the field and scored again (his second), took the ball out of the net, ran back and repeated the feat (his third). The changing of the rules in 1877 prevented further scenes like this to happen. The "king of dribblers" showed why he was so called with this amazing feat.

He only received one cap for England. His cap came in the second official international football match, against Scotland on 8 March 1873 which England won 4-2.


;Oxford University
*FA Cup winners: 1874


External links

* [ Robert Vidal] — biography on the Oxford University Association Football Club web site

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