It was probably inevitable that a football themed crossword would roll out of the Eclogue stable at some point. For the record, Logogriph is a Southampton supporter, so are noted as one of only eight teams ever to have won the FA Cup from a division below the top flight; Eclipse is a Birmingham fan, so can't lay claim to the same feat, so for the sake of balance, his true alter ego made it into the grid also.
This puzzle represents something of a departure for Eclogue in the shape of a blocked grid (the only other one to date being 'Henpecked' in the Magpie) and also in the use of 'normal' cryptic clues for the most part. No message was to be produced, so no misprints or any other such device was needed.
Instead, the nicknames of the eight teams were undefined and the theme loosely defined elsewhere in the answers indicated in the title, namely that these teams were, FA CUP(22) B(E)LEAGUER(1D) BEATER(1A)S!
|The FA Cup|
In the solution notes, Eclogue helpfully provided the full list of the official names (and a little more information besides).
At the time of going to press, Eclogue has yet to receive any feedback for this puzzle, but would be delighted to receive all and any comments from 1 Across subscribers who joined in our (hopefully) beautiful game.