The Oxford University Association Football Club was established in 1872 and played its first game against Radley College on 10th February of that year.
In 1871, Charles W. Alcock, the Secretary of the Football Association, announced the introduction of the Football Association Challenge Cup. It was the first knockout competition of its type in the world. Only 15 clubs took part in the first staging of the tournament and this included Oxford University.
Oxford reached the final in 1873 but was defeated by the Wanderers. The following year they beat the Royal Engineers. A member of the team was Arnold Hills who went on to establish West Ham United. Hills, and 28 other members of the club won full international caps for England, including Charles Wreford Brown, who represented the club on the Football Association Council.