In my book “A History of Sheffield Football 1857-1889: Speed, Science and Bottom” (http://bit.ly/2qYw0r0) I list Sheffield Wednesday’s foundation date as September 5th 1867, but online I have noticed that the date referred to is always September 4th 1867.
Which is right?
An article in the Star newspaper on the 30th June last month spoke about the ‘Owls in the Park’ event on Sunday the 3rd of September ‘to coincide with the Championship club’s 150th anniversary celebrations. The club was officially formed on 4 September 1867.’
With alarm bells ringing I went to the official Sheffield Wednesday FC website which also stated the 4th September 1867 as the start date (https://www.swfc.co.uk/news/2012/march/facts-and-figures/).
My original source for the 5th of September foundation date came from the Sheffield Daily Telegraph, dated Friday 6th September 1867, stating it was formed the day before:
‘SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY CRICKET CLUB AND FOOTBALL CLUB. – At a general meeting held yesterday, at the Adelphi Hotel, it was decided to form a football club in connection with the above cricket club, with the object of keeping together during the winter season the members of this influential club. The office-bearers were elected as follows: – President, Mr. B. Chatterton; vice-president and treasurer, Mr. F. S. Chambers; hon. Secretary, Mr. Jno. Marsh; assistant, Mr. Castleton; committee, Messrs. John Rodgers, John Pashley, Wm. Pilch, W, Fry, Wm. Littlehales, John White, C. Stokes, and H. Booking. After which above 60 good men were enrolled as members, and this without any canvass, amongst whom are many of the best players in the town.’
The Sheffield Independent newspaper waits till Saturday September 7th to report the same detail verbatim, but instead said that the meeting had been held on ‘Wednesday last’ , which makes the birth date of Wednesday the 4th of September.
So which local newspaper got it right?
Which day should Wednesday fans celebrate their 150th birthday-the 4th or the 5th?
I decided to go with the 5th of September in my book, firstly because one would hope that the closest report to the actual event should get it right and it was the Telegraph that wrote the original historic content. Secondly and more importantly Wednesday’s definitive (and first) reference book ‘The Romance of Wednesday 1867-1926’,written by Richard Sparling in 1926, states categorically ‘The historic special meeting of the Wednesday Cricket club, which saw the birth of the football club, was held on Sept. 5th 1867 in the Adelphi Hotel.’
My advice for Owls would be to celebrate on Tuesday 5th September , or use the historical confusion as an excuse to make it a two day event and start the day before.
At the moment Sheffield Wednesday Football Club appear not to have a 150th commemorative match planned for the 5th of September (or the 4th!). The most appropriate team to choose for the match would be Dronfield FC , as that was the first external team they played, after a number of months of practice, on December 31st 1867.
In the absence of an official celebratory match, the fixture computer has stepped in to make an appropriate choice for Wednesday’s first opponents after the celebrations, with a home match against Nottingham Forest FC (on the 9th of September). Only the two Nottingham clubs are older than the Wednesday, making the Owls the third oldest professional club in England, so a match between 2nd and 3rd is to be greatly anticipated. (Sky seem to agree and have made the match a live game at 17.30)