160 years ago today : The 1858 Sheffield Football Rules were published

The 27th of October 2018 marks the 160th anniversary of the writing of the 1858 Sheffield Rules. These rules were the crown jewels in the Sheffield FC Archive that was sold at Sotheby’s in July 2011 for £881,250.

The video of the actual sale is here: 

http://www.gettyimages.co.uk/detail/video/sothebys-book-auction-england-london-sothebys-int-various-news-footage/688325982

This places the Sheffield Football Archive as the world’s second most expensive piece of football memorabilia in history. Ahead of Alan Ball’s World Cup Medal (£164,800), Jules Rimet Trophy Replica (£254,500), Oldest Surviving FA Cup (£478,400) but behind Geoff Hurst’s World Cup Winning Shirt (£2.3 Million).

The purchaser and the current location of the actual archive remain a mystery but thanks to the amazing hard work of Sheffield Libraries, copies of this incredibly important piece of football heritage were displayed at the  Sheffield Football Treasures Day held at Sheffield Central Library on October 25th. This 1858 Sheffield Football Archive display will continue until the end of half term -the 3rd of November.

I have fully revised and updated my book ‘A History of Sheffield Football 1857-1889: Speed, Science and Bottom’ to coincide with this important anniversary. The new book has 28 extra pages, 20 new images and a new fold out map. It features new chapters celebrating the 160th anniversary of the 1858 Sheffield Rules and the fact that Sheffield is the Home of Football.

You can buy the book here: http://bit.ly/2qYw0r0

The 1858 Sheffield Rules
A year after Sheffield FC had founded, the club members clearly felt a need to produce a set of rules to play by and in October 1858 this process began. This is a hugely important milestone in the history of Association football. For the third time in history a football club decided to write itself some rules to play by, following in the footsteps of John Hope’s Foot-Ball Club (1833) and Surrey FC (1849). The difference from their predecessors is that the Sheffield Rules of 1858 would go on to be very influential in the evolution of the current Association football game. This moment is a full five years before the London Football Association would begin their bad-tempered debate at the Freemason’s Tavern in 1863 to devise a set of universal footballing laws.
What follows is from a Sheffield FC club manuscript written in 1907:
After season 1857-8 the Hon. Sec. Nathaniel Creswick and committee drew up printed rules, regulations and laws for the club, and from these is to be seen that game was half rugby and half association.”
The process for creating the 1858 Sheffield Rules began with a copy letter by Nathaniel Creswick dated 9th October 1858, calling a meeting of the club at his office ‘on Thursday next 7 O’ Clock’. The minutes of that meeting included the resolution that ‘the following Rules & Laws be submitted to a meeting of the Members to be held at 6 O’ Clock on Thursday next the 28 inst. at the Adelphi Hotel’. These included a draft of four club rules, minutes of a meeting on 14 October appointing club officers and committee signed by the President Frederick Ward. It is not known where these later meetings took place, but it is likely they were held at Park House.
The first draft of the rules from 14th October were written down by Nathaniel Creswick:

  1. Kick off from the middle must be a place kick.
  2. Kick out must not be more than 25 yards out of goal.
  3. Fair catch is a catch direct from the foot of the opposite side and entitles a free kick.
  4. Charging is fair in case of a place kick (with the exception of a kick off) as soon as a player offers to kick, but he may always draw back unless he has actually touched the ball with his foot.
  5. No pushing with the Hands or Hacking is fair under any circumstances whatsoever.
  6. Knocking or pushing on the Ball is altogether disallowed. The side breaking this rule forfeits a free kick to the opposite side.
    The next item in the club archive is the minutes of a committee meeting held on the 21st October with drafts of nine club rules and the ‘First draft of the Laws of the Game, with 12 Laws’ which had been extensively revised in pen and pencil by Nathaniel Creswick. We can see by comparing the two drafts that the committee was strongly opposed to hacking and tripping but were not averse to pushing. Use of hands was acceptable to push or knock it were permitted but holding of the ball (except when fielding a fair catch) was against the rules. These rules clearly favour the dribbling game and legislate against a rugby-type game.
    Second draft 21st October 1858:
  7. Kick off from the middle must be a place kick.
  8. Kick out must not be more than 25 yards out of goal.
  9. Fair catch is a catch from any player provided the Ball has not touched the ground and has not been thrown from touch. Entitles a free kick.
  10. Charging is fair in case of a place kick (with the exception of a kick off) as soon as a player offers to kick, but he may always draw back unless he has actually touched the ball with his foot.
  11. Pushing with the Hands is allowed but no Hacking (or tripping up) is fair under any circumstances whatsoever.
  12. Holding the Ball, excepting the case of a free kick is altogether disallowed.
  13. No player may be held or pulled over.
  14. It is not lawful to take the ball off the ground (except in touch) for any purpose whatever.
  15. The ball maybe be pushed or hit.
  16. A goal must be kicked but not from touch nor by a free kick from a catch.
  17. A Ball in touch is dead, consequently, the side that touches it down, must bring it to the edge
    of touch & throw it straight out at least six yards from touch.
  18. Each player must provide himself with a red and dark blue flannel cap- one colour to be worn by each side.
    Finally, in the archives we see the minutes of a meeting from 28th October passing the above rules and laws, which included even more revisions. This final seminal meeting was held at the Adelphi hotel, which was demolished in the 1970s to make way for the Crucible Theatre.
    Before the rules were handed over to Pawson and Brailsford of the High Street to print in 1859 an official ‘Rules, Regulations, & Laws of the Sheffield Foot-ball Club’ some further restructuring ensued, and the twelve laws were reduced to eleven. Original laws 6 and 9 were removed and replaced by a new law: ‘The Ball may be pushed or hit with the hand, but holding the Ball (except in the case of a free kick) is altogether disallowed.
    Sheffield football can be credited with the following rule innovations:
    The crossbar.
    The half way line kick-off.
    Corner kicks.
    Umpires.
    The 1867 Youdan Cup rules introduced the concept of the golden goal and that matches should last for ‘one hour and a half’.
    Heading the ball initially developed in the Sheffield game but was not mentioned in the rules, it was just accepted as part of the local game. They did not realise how alien it looked until it generated mirth from members of the London FA in a match in 1866.
    The penalty arc of ‘D’ became an FA law in 1937 but it was Sheffield football that first suggested the idea a long time before in 1924, following an incident match between Sheffield United and Burnley FC. A Sheffield & Hallamshire County FA referee submitted a sketch to the Green ’Un newspaper that could prevent further disputes. The idea was also submitted to Sir Charles Clegg the President of the FA, but nothing was instigated for thirteen years. The idea was claimed later by a Mr. Leitch but was disputed by a new article that reprinted the original Green ‘Un story.

Bring your Sheffield memorabilia and memories to the Football Treasure Day on October 25th

The free event will feature all the best football treasures that Sheffield FC, Hallam FC, Sheffield & Hallamshire County FA, Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United can offer. This is the first time many of their precious items have ever been displayed and it is certainly the first time in 160 years that they have all been in the same room at the same time. If that wasn’t enough the current FA Cup will be on display and you will be able to have your photograph taken alongside it on the day. We are expecting a large crowd so please register your interest at https://bit.ly/2yfGFTC

What we also need are the Sheffield football fans to bring in their treasured memorabilia for the  club historians to appraise and their earliest or best recollection of Sheffield football to be put on to a digital record.

It doesn’t have to be an amazingly collectible piece of football memorabilia , just something that is important to you. Perhaps the very first football shirt you bought, or the earliest programme in your collection. What is up in your loft that you plan to pass down to the next generation? Dust it off and bring it along for our experts and the fellow fans to enjoy.

The other exciting initiative we have planned is to ask everyone attending to leave an oral record of their most treasured football memories. We hope that this will eventually build into a permanent oral history of  Sheffield football. What was the first match you went to? What’s your favourite football chant or song? Which was your first Sheffield derby? What’s your best ever memory of a Sheffield football match?

I have fully revised and updated my book ‘A History of Sheffield Football 1857-1889: Speed, Science and Bottom’ to coincide with this important anniversary. The new book has 28 extra pages, 20 new images and a new fold out map. It features new chapters celebrating the 160th anniversary of the 1858 Sheffield Rules and the fact that Sheffield is the Home of Football.

You can buy the book here: http://bit.ly/2qYw0r0

Sheffield United’s historian supports Football Treasure Day with important Blade’s memorabilia

The 27th of October 2018 marks the 160th anniversary of the writing of the 1858 Sheffield Rules. Thanks to the amazing hard work of Sheffield Libraries, copies of this incredibly important piece of football heritage will be displayed at the FREE Sheffield Football Treasures Day which is being held at Sheffield Central Library on October 25th between 10.30 and 2.30. Book your interest here https://bit.ly/2yfGFTC


The free event will feature all the best football treasures that Sheffield FC, Hallam FC, Sheffield & Hallamshire County FA, Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United can offer. This is the first time many of their precious items have ever been displayed and it is certainly the first time in 160 years that they have all been in the same room at the same time. If that wasn’t enough the current FA Cup will be on display and you will be able to have your photograph taken alongside it on the day.
We are expecting a large crowd so please register your interest at https://bit.ly/2yfGFTC

John Garrett , Sheffield United’s historian has very kindly agreed to support the event and is bringing some real treasures from his Legends of the Lane museum for the fans to see.

The football that scored the first ever goal in the Premier League-Brian Deane 
 Skybet Division 1 Championship Trophy 2016/17 
1899 FA Cup Replica and ball

He is also promising some surprise last minute items, so if you love Sheffield football make sure you don’t miss the amazing event.

I have fully revised and updated my book ‘A History of Sheffield Football 1857-1889: Speed, Science and Bottom’ to coincide with this important anniversary. The new book has 28 extra pages, 20 new images and a new fold out map. It features new chapters celebrating the 160th anniversary of the 1858 Sheffield Rules and the fact that Sheffield is the Home of Football.

You can buy the book here: http://bit.ly/2qYw0r0

Sheffield Wednesday FC and the Tommy Crawshaw family open up their archives to support the Sheffield Football Treasures Day

The 27th of October 2018 marks the 160th anniversary of the writing of the 1858 Sheffield Rules and we are celebrating this important historical moment with the Sheffield Football Treasures Day on 25th October. This day represents the growing momentum surrounding our campaign to raise awareness that Sheffield is indeed the Home of Football.
The free event will feature all the best football treasures that Sheffield FC, Hallam FC, Sheffield & Hallamshire County FA, Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United can offer as well as the current FA Cup, which will be on display and you will be able to have your photograph taken alongside it on the day.
We are incredibly fortunate in that Sheffield Wednesday FC have agreed for the first time (to my knowledge) to exhibit some of their football treasure that normally stays locked up in the club archive. Thanks to Peter Law the club’s archivist the day will feature many previously unseen items.


1874/5 fixture card (the oldest known printed artefact relating to Wednesday)
1880-1886 Wednesday FC Minutes books
1881 club letter headed ‘Wednesday Cricket and Football Club’
1896 FA Cup victory dinner menu card
1899 share prospectus
1900 notification of extraordinary A.G.M.
1900 First Annual Report and Balance Sheet
1904 League Champions celebration dinner menu card
1907 FA Cup victory dinner menu card
1907 Railway handbill for FA Cup final
1928/29 Season ticket (championship winning season)
1929/30 Alf Strange International Cap
1929/30 souvenir prog v Arsenal to celebrate League Championship
1935 FA Cup Final programme
1959/60 Ron Springett International Cap

That impressive list is joined by a collection of memorabilia from the Tommy Crawshaw family. We are incredibly honoured that Tommy’s great grandson is attending the Football Treasures day and bringing a treasure trove of artefacts.

Thomas Henry Crawshaw (27 December 1872 – 25 November 1960) played almost his entire League career with Sheffield Wednesday. Crawshaw was a centre-half whose career lasted from 1894 to 1908 during which time he played a total of 465 games in all competitions, scoring 27 goals. Tommy was born in Sheffield and was brought up in the Park Hill area of the town along with his brothers Percy and George. Both of his brothers played football with Percy appearing nine times for Wednesday while George played for Worksop Town for many years. Tommy Crawshaw’s early football was played with local clubs Park Grange and Attercliffe, in 1893 he moved to play for Heywood Central in the newly formed Manchester Football League and his good form attracted the attention of Sheffield Wednesday in April 1894.

Honours
Two FA Cup Wins: 1896 and 1907
Two League Championships: 1902/3 1903/4
10 Caps for England and 1 International Goal

Exhibits to be displayed at the Football Treasures Day
Player Medal produced by Sheffield Wednesday to commemorate two Division One Wins in 1902/03 and 1903/04.


Two FA Cup Winners medals from 1895/96 and 1906/07. Tommy is the only Wednesday player to succeed in two FA Cup finals.


Three England Caps-two against Scotland and one against Wales.

Six gold medals for appearances for the English Football League side
Plus some other treasured artifacts.

Come and see these amazing items AND MUCH MORE at the FREE Sheffield Football Treasures Day which is being held at Sheffield Central Library on October 25th between 10.30 and 2.30.
Book your interest here https://bit.ly/2yfGFTC

This is the first time many of their precious items have ever been displayed and it is certainly the first time in 160 years that they have all been in the same room at the same time.

I have fully revised and updated my book ‘A History of Sheffield Football 1857-1889: Speed, Science and Bottom’ to coincide with this important anniversary. The new book has 28 extra pages, 20 new images and a new fold out map. It features new chapters celebrating the 160th anniversary of the 1858 Sheffield Rules and the fact that Sheffield is the Home of Football.
You can buy the book here: http://bit.ly/2qYw0r0

Major events organised this month to celebrate the life of Sheffield FC’s Sir Nathaniel Creswick

An important new information point will be unveiled on Wednesday 24th October at 12-noon at Heeley Parish Church. The tomb of Sir Nathaniel Creswick, the co-founder of the world’s oldest football club, has lain uncelebrated for many years.

That will now change with the installation of this new information point, that details his life as well as the interesting story surrounding the football club that started at Heeley Parish Church and ended up playing in the FA Cup.

The 24th October is the 161st birthday of Sheffield FC and I hope this recognition of the global importance of Creswick to the beautiful game will make his last resting place a shrine for football fans from all over the world to come and pay homage.

Please support this important event. The Vicar, Bob Evans will open the proceeding, followed by myself and the chairman of Sheffield FC -Richard Tims. Tea and refreshments will follow in the church.

The following day, the 25th October is the Sheffield Football Treasures Day on 25th October. This day represents the culmination of our campaign to raise awareness that Sheffield is indeed the Home of Football. The free event will feature all the best football treasures that Sheffield FC, Hallam FC, Sheffield & Hallamshire County FA, Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United can offer as well as the current FA Cup will be on display and you will be able to have your photograph taken alongside it on the day.

Nathaniel Creswick wrote the Sheffield Rules  together with a Sheffield FC Committee and the 27th of October 2018 marks the 160th anniversary of the writing of the 1858 Sheffield Rules . Thanks to the amazing hard work of Sheffield Libraries, copies of this incredibly important piece of football heritage will be on display held at Sheffield Central Library on October 25th between 10.30 and 2.30.

Book your interest here https://bit.ly/2yfGFTC

At the event Geoffrey Norton, who is Sir Nathaniel Creswick’s oldest surviving descendant , will exhibit Creswick’s personal diary.  You will be able to see for yourself the momentous entry for 31st December 1857 that says:

“I have established a foot ball club to which most of young Sheffield come and kick.’

I have fully revised and updated my book ‘A History of Sheffield Football 1857-1889: Speed, Science and Bottom’ to coincide with this important anniversary. The new book has 28 extra pages, 20 new images and a new fold out map. It features new chapters celebrating the 160th anniversary of the 1858 Sheffield Rules and the fact that Sheffield is the Home of Football.
You can buy the book here: http://bit.ly/2qYw0r0

The Sheffield FC archive:one of the world’s most expensive items of football memorabilia is at the Sheffield Football Treasures Day on October 25th

The 27th of October 2018 marks the 160th anniversary of the writing of the 1858 Sheffield Rules. These were the crown jewels in the Sheffield FC Archive that was sold at Sotheby’s in July 2011 for £881,250. This places the Sheffield Football Archive as the world’s second most expensive piece of football memorabilia in history. Ahead of Alan Ball’s World Cup Medal (£164,800), Jules Rimet Trophy Replica (£254,500), Oldest Surviving FA Cup (£478,400) but behind Geoff Hurst’s World Cup Winning Shirt (£2.3 Million). 

The purchaser and the current location of the actual archive remain a mystery but thanks to the amazing hard work of Sheffield Libraries, copies of this incredibly important piece of football heritage will be displayed at the FREE Sheffield Football Treasures Day which is being held at Sheffield Central Library on October 25th between 10.30 and 2.30. Book your interest here https://bit.ly/2yfGFTC

The free event will feature all the best football treasures that Sheffield FC, Hallam FC, Sheffield & Hallamshire County FA, Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United can offer. This is the first time many of their precious items have ever been displayed and it is certainly the first time in 160 years that they have all been in the same room at the same time.

If that wasn’t enough the current FA Cup will be on display and you will be able to have your photograph taken along side it on the day.

We are expecting a large crowd so please register your interest at https://bit.ly/2yfGFTC

I have fully revised and updated my book ‘A History of Sheffield Football 1857-1889: Speed, Science and Bottom’ to coincide with this important anniversary. The new book has 28 extra pages, 20 new images and a new fold out map. It features new chapters celebrating the 160th anniversary of the 1858 Sheffield Rules and the fact that Sheffield is the Home of Football.

You can buy the book herehttp://bit.ly/2qYw0r0

140 years ago today. The world’s first ever floodlights at a football match

The year 1878 marked another yet another landmark for Sheffield Football, with the first football match ever to be staged under electric floodlighting at Bramall Lane as instigated by the Sheffield Football Association.

There is much more information about this event in the newly revised edition of my book ‘A History of Sheffield Football 1857-1889: Speed, Science and Bottom’ including the actual minutes from the Sheffield FA handbook. You can buy the book here http://bit.ly/2qYw0r0

The experiment was organised by Messrs. Tasker. From the press description, the light was provided by 12 lamps, with two at each corner and two behind each goal:
“At each corner of the ground marked off for the players a wooden stage was erected some ten yards high for carrying the lamp and the reflector. Behind each goal was placed a portable engine, each of which drove two Siemen’s dynamo machines on for each light. The illuminating power equalled 8,000 standard candles and the cost per hour for each light was about 3 and a ½ pence.” 
The new lighting proved to be very popular and a new record attendance was set at Bramall Lane for a football match:
“Everybody seemed highly pleased with the result of the experiment, the light being most brilliant and effective. It may be stated that the experiment turned out to be a great financial success, the novelty of the thing drawing together an immense attendance, reaching in our estimation, nearly twenty thousand people. When everything was in readiness, at 7.30 the distinguishing colours of the two sides were clearly visible, although it was rather difficult to discern the individual movement on the top side of the ground.”
It was a game between Reds and Blues featuring leading players of the day, with each side captained by a Clegg brother. :
“Reds: F. Stacey, J. Housley, J. Hunter, E. Buttery, F. Hinde, J.C. Clegg (captain), W. Mosforth,A. Woodcock, C. Stratford, H.E. Barber, G. Anthony.

Blues; T. Lawson, W.E. Clegg (captain), R. Gregory, T. Buttery, W.H. Stacey, G.B. Marples, A. Malpas, J. Tomlinson, E.H. Barber, T. Bishop, P. Patterson. Umpires: W. Skinner and R.W.Dickinson. Referee W. Pierce Dix.” 


The Blues won by 2 goals to nil:

Sheffield & Hallamshire County FA Senior Challenge Cup: Sheffield FC v Worksop Town FC -1st oldest versus 4th oldest?

I am going tonight to watch Sheffield FC play Worksop Town FC in the Sheffield & Hallamshire Senior Cup. Tickets are still available so support the world’s oldest club playing for a trophy that has been in existence for 151 years; Sheffield FC last won the tournament in 2010 and Worksop last lifted the cup in 2003.
The Sheffield & Hallamshire County FA Senior Challenge Cup is the joint oldest cup competition being run by a County Football Association, sharing this accolade with Birmingham County FA. This year represents the 151st anniversary of the Sheffield Football Association. It was formed in 1867 when Sheffield had 14 football clubs and in excess of 1,000 members and bolstered the struggling London Football Association at a crucial time, who in the same year, were discussing their dissolution because of the lack of interest from London clubs to play by their 1863 laws. The Sheffield & Hallamshire County FA Senior Challenge Cup is the joint oldest cup competition being run by a County Football Association, sharing this accolade with Birmingham County FA.
Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United contracted out of the competition many years ago, their reserve teams then took up the mantle but neither team now enter any level of team. Perhaps to celebrate this important tournament the Wednesday and United under 18 teams, could be invited to join once more, as it would raise crucial awareness in this important and historic tournament.
The Worksop Town FC’s website would bill this match as a game between the world’s oldest football club and the world’s fourth oldest, as they claim that Worksop FC’s foundation date is 1861. I have researched all the Alcock Football Annuals from 1868 till it ceased and the national press and I cannot substantiate Worksop’s claim. Worksop Cricket Club was understandably playing very early in 1850, but the earliest sign of a Worksop football game is a Rugby match against a school on 15th March 1873:
“Perhaps the first football match ever played in Worksop, took place last Saturday between gentlemen of Worksop and neighbourhood and the team of the Pestalozzian school…As the rules of Rugby Union were followed, the superior weight of the Worksop team told greatly against the school team in the scrimmages.”
There are no earlier press reports for a Worksop FC than 1873 and no mentions at all in the Football Annuals for any Worksop club between 1857 and 1889. Furthermore, the club has unfortunately folded twice since its inception so unless someone out there has evidence I am not aware of then Worksop Town FC cannot claim its position as 4th oldest football club. Their 1861 foundation seems to be a creation myth that has been repeated over the years until it has the appearance of a fact.

My research would list the four oldest extant clubs as:
Sheffield FC 1857
Hallam FC 1860
Civil Service FC 1862
Notts. County FC 1864
And places Worksop FC as 90th (but folded in 1893).
You can find out much more in my book:
A History of Sheffield Football 1857-1889: Speed, Science and Bottom
Link to book page – http://bit.ly/2qYw0r0