See four of the nine oldest Association Football Cups in the world (including the very first)

I am giving a talk as part of the Off the Shelf Book Festival on my new book called “A History of Sheffield Football 1857-1889: Speed, Science and Bottom” at the Creative Lounge at the Showroom Cinema, Paternoster Row on Wednesday 25 October 7.30pm. You can book here:


The exciting news is that four of the nine oldest Association Football Cups in the world will be on display as part of the presentation. These cups represent the true artefacts of the Association football game and have never been in the same room at the same time before:
Youdan Cup 1867 – World’s Oldest Association Cup
Sheffield Association Challenge Cup 1876/77 – England’s first County Association Cup
Sheffield New Association Challenge Cup 1877/78- World’s 6th Oldest Association Cup
Wharncliffe Charity Challenge Cup 1878/79 – England’s first Charity Association Cup (Glasgow Cup started 1877)
Plus the Lewis Cup of 1892


(Pictured is the Sheffield Association Challenge Cup 1876/77)


The talk takes place the day after the 160th anniversary of the foundation of the world’s first football club – Sheffield FC and the hour-long talk will look at the four sole survivors of the 95 football clubs that existed in Sheffield in the period 1857 to 1889 and will feature maps, videos and statistics that are not currently in the public domain. After the talk we will open it up to a question and answer session and we hope to have official representatives from Sheffield FC, Hallam FC, Wednesday FC ,United and the Sheffield &Hallamshire County F.A. present, so that between us we should be able to answer any questions that you may have about the Victorian era of Sheffield football.


After the event I will be available to sign and dedicate my book “A History of Sheffield Football 1857-1889: Speed, Science and Bottom” and it will be priced at just £10.00 instead of the usual £15.95.


Come and find out why Sheffield is the true home of Association football.


If you cannot attend and wish to purchase the book it is available here:


Read the reviews for the book.


Thomas Youdan: The man behind the world’s oldest football trophy

Thomas Youdan appeared in the Sheffield press as early as 1857 as the proprietor of the Surrey Music Hall, organising a free ‘Monster Tea Party’ for 2,000 women over 60 years of age, held in the cattle market on 600 yards of tables. A charge for admission was made for all, except the old ladies, and the net proceeds went to aid the sufferers of the mutiny in India. His new idea in 1867 for publicity was to exploit the fast-growing popularity of Sheffield football. This year marks the 150th anniversary of Hallam FC winning the Youdan Cup on the 5th March 1867.

(See my blog for more information about the actual tournament and there is a lot more information about the Youdan Cup in my new book )

Thomas Youdan was born in 1816 and died on the 28th November 1876; his last address was listed as Flotmanby House in Filey. He died a rich man with ‘effects under £25,000’ and left a controversial legacy behind him Sheffield. His niece Harriette Youdan erected an expensive monument to her uncle in the Sheffield General Cemetery in the Autumn of 1878, but this was defaced year later with a hammer and chisel by Thomas’s brother John. You can see below that the Aberdeen granite has been repaired with the addition of a new strip of stone:

Some background family history is required to try to understand the actions of John Youdan in 1879, when he defaced his brother’s monument. I am very grateful to Paul Youdan (Samuel Youdan’s great grandchild x4) who sent me additional information on his family’s history.

Thomas Youdan was born in Streetthorpe, near Doncaster and was first employed as an agricultural labourer. He moved to Sheffield aged 18 and eventually learned the trade of silver stamping. He became keeper of a beer house in the park and then left if for a house in West Bar, which he opened as ‘Spink’s Nest’ This property was gradually extended and became the Surrey Theatre. On completion it was a ballroom, a concert hall, theatre, museum and a menagerie! However, on the 25th March 1865 it was burnt to the ground with a loss of £30,000.

He used an existing lease he owned on Blonk Street and opened the Alexandra Opera House and turned this into another success, using amongst other marketing ideas, the launch of the Youdan Cup. After retiring in 1874 with his £30,000 fortune restored, he moved to Filey to raise and breed stock and became a member of the Town Council.

Thomas Youdan had five brothers;

George (b. 1802)
Charles (b. 1803)
Samuel (b. 1808)
Robert (b. 1812)
John (b. 1818)

and four sisters:

Anna (b. 22/11/1804)
Sarah (b. 1806)
Anne (b. 01/04/1810)
Jane (b. 1814)

For unknown reasons George Youdan’s daughter Harriet was living with his brother Thomas Youdan from 1849 ‘practically as his daughter’. Harriet Youdan was born in York in 1843. In the 1851 census Thomas was married to Mary aged 23, and living with them are two nieces Emily and Harriette at 66 West Bar, Sheffield. (During the course of this story Harriet’s name is spelt in two different ways)

By the 1861 census Thomas is listed as a ‘proprietor of a music hall’ aged 43 and Harriette is the only named family member living with him with no job or relationship listed; just her age of eighteen. They were living in Ecclesfield at Lane Head House and employed a cook and a housemaid.

It is interesting to see how time has added a historical perspective to the life of Thomas Youdan, His obituaries from 141 years ago make no mention of his involvement with football and his eponymous cup, but it is football that has made his name famous in this the 150th anniversary year of the Youdan Cup.

Thomas Youdan left his extensive estate to Harriet and the will was finally proved at York on the 6th of September 1877, ten months after his death. The reason for the delay was because the will was contested by Samuel Youdan  claiming that Thomas was not of sound mind when he made his will leaving everything to Harriet. At the hearing, it was repeated that Harriet had lived with Thomas and was to him as a daughter. He had sent her to Paris to be educated and ‘spent money lavishly on her and obviously loved her as a daughter’. However, in 1870 Harriet became engaged to Frederick Stanton and this caused an ‘estrangement that lasted from June 1870 to April 1871. At that time, the engagement was broken off and the parties (Thomas and Harriet) once again became friends’.

The hearing decided that Thomas was of sound mind when he made his will and Harriette inherited the money and not long after married Frederick Stanton, six years after their original break up. They married on the 5th April 1877, five months after Thomas’s death and three months before finally inheriting his fortune.

Newly married and newly wealthy Harriette decided to erect the £200 monument to her uncle and benefactor in Sheffield General Cemetery in 1878. The original inscription included the line: ‘erected by his adopted daughter, Harriette Youdan’ and it was this line that led her Uncle John (not her natural father George) to chisel out the words ‘adopted daughter’. A witness to the event was William Lomas who saw John Youdan ‘busily engaged in cutting out the letters with hammer and chisel and he asked him what he was doing and John replied that ‘the words were not true and had been inserted without any right’. It was decided that a repair to the monument would cost ‘£75 and John Youdan admitted causing the damage’.

‘The Defendant; I am his (Thomas Youdan’s) eldest surviving brother. I dispute that she was his adopted daughter. He never adopted her. She was his niece and the word ‘niece’ should not have appeared’

‘Mr Roberts: If the words are put in again, will you take them out?’

‘The Defendant; Until I am convinced that she was his adopted daughter. He never did adopt her’.

He was found guilty and fined £10 and costs, or two months imprisonment.

What is the truth behind the scandal? Was it a family arguing over money? Or was it Thomas’s relationship with his niece that caused such bad feelings?

As you see from the above video of the monument Harriette did not feel strongly enough to repeat her claim on the replacement granite after the repair and perhaps that reflected her desire to let the matter rest.


Paul Youdan

Sheffield Daily Telegraph – Wednesday 01 August 1877

Derbyshire Courier – Saturday 28 July 1877

Sheffield Daily Telegraph 27th September 1879

The Youdan Cup : the oldest Football Cup in the world-150 years ago today

The Youdan Cup

Hallam FC were the winners of the oldest Football Cup in the world, the Youdan Cup, in 1867.

The first two rounds were on a knockout basis; however, the final was contested between three teams playing each other in turn. The final between Hallam FC and Norfolk FC was played at Bramall Lane, on 5 March 1867 and attracted 3,000 spectators, each paying 3d admission. Thomas Youdan, ever the business man had the final played on Shrove Tuesday, when the “common man” would have a day off work. The throng did not have a great deal to cheer, with the match ending goalless, decided by rouges scored:

“THE YOUDAN FOOTBALL CUP. -The Hallam and Norfolk Football Clubs played the final match for this prize at Brammall-lane Cricket Ground, Sheffield, on Shrove Tuesday. The toss for choice of goals was won by Norfolk, who kicked with the wind, but were unable to score. After playing half time ends were changed, when it was soon evident the Hallamites had the game in their own hands. After half an hour’s play the ball was kicked by Elliott, not through the goal, but just over it, and was touched down be Ash in splendid style, after running round two of his opponents before getting to the ball, thus securing a rouge. The Norfolk captain immediately kicked off, thus hoping to secure a goal for his side whilst his opponents were off their guard, but in their haste and confusion they left their goal unprotected, which was taken advantage of by one of the Hallam players securing another rouge, when time was called. Thus, Hallam won scoring two rouges to their opponent’s nothing.” Bell’s Life in London and Sporting Chronicle – Saturday 09 March 1867

The promised Youdan Cup should have been presented on the 11th of March but instead a silver claret jug was awarded, as the Jarvis-designed Cup was announced as not being ready on time:

“THE YOUDAN FOOTBALL PRIZE. – During the last three weeks, the members of the local football clubs have been competing for a silver cup, presented by Mr. Thomas Youdan. After a protracted and keen competition, the Hallam club was declared victorious. At the conclusion of this competition it was resolved that the Mackenzie and Norfolk Clubs, who had been beaten by the Hallam, should play for a second prize. Accordingly, the clubs met at Brammall-lane Cricket Ground, on Saturday last, and after a well-contested match- each side in turn appearing to have the best of the game- Norfolk eventually won by one rouge. Last evening representatives from each of the clubs to the number of about forty sat down to dinner at the Adelphi Hotel, Arundel-street. After partaking of an excellent repast, served in Mr. Sampson’s usual excellent style, Mr. Councillor Hawksley was called on to preside, while the vice-chair was occupied by Mr. J. Birley. The usual loyal and patriotic toasts having been given and duly responded to, the prizes were put upon the table. They consisted of two handsome cups. The first prize, presented by Mr. Youdan, is a richly-ornamented claret jug, and the second a double-handled goblet. The first prize is not from Mr. Jarvis’s design on account of the protracted time which would have been required in its manufacture; but it is understood that Mr. Youdan will present one after that design next year. The goblet is enriched with appropriate figures. After the prizes had been handed round the company, Mr. Sampson very generously “hanselled” them by filling them and setting them on the table. The chairman being a member of the victorious club, Mr. Birley presented the goblet to the Hallam Club. In doing so, he proposed a vote of thanks to the donor for the handsome gift- a gift which he was sure had been keenly contended for and honourably won.” Sheffield Daily Telegraph – Tuesday 12 March 1867

The History of Sheffield football. 150 years ago today-Norton FC v. Hallam FC in Youdan Cup 1867

Undoubtedly Norton FC’s biggest ever match was in the Youdan Cup on the 25th of February 1867 against Hallam FC, the eventual winners. After a draw the two clubs played again two days later, an astounding 3,000 spectators witnessed the contest, probably at Oakes Park:

“Hallam v. Norton. The match between these two clubs was played on the ground of Norton Club, which is distant about five miles from Sheffield, and resulted in one of the closest and most exciting games ever witnessed at football. The result of two hours and a half hard play on Saturday was, that neither side had been able to score, a sufficient proof of the equality of the contest. According to the rules formed for the regulation of matches played for the Youdan’s Cup, published in THE SPORTSMAN of the 19h inst., play had to be renewed on Monday last, the 25th, at 3pm. After a second long-protracted fight, and another game as well contested as the first, the match was finally decided in favour of the Hallam by one rouge, cleverly secured by H. Ash. As a proof of the great interest excited in Sheffield by these contests for the Youdan’s Cup, we may mention that the match between the above clubs was witnessed by nearly three thousand spectators. For the Hallam Club, T. Armitage, G. Jones, J. Dale, and S. Gilbert, while for the Norton Club, J. Linley, F. Morton, Jackson, and H. Butterly greatly distinguished themselves. The following is a list of the players: Hallam Club: J. C. Shaw (captain), H. Ash, W. Adsetts, J. Dale, J. Bradbury, G. Jones, T. Armitage, J. Bownes, S. Gilbert, A. Hobson, G. Elliott, and H. Branwell (goal-keeper). Umpire, Mr. J. Bradshaw. Norton Club: F. Morton (Captain), J. Linley, W. Jackson, J. Jackson, T. Birch, R. Kilner, S. Needham, H. Butterly, C. Mills, G. Osborne, John Shaw, and James Shaw. Umpire, Mr. T. Downing, referee, Mr. W. J. Bingham.” 

Youdan Cup. Results of the First Round

“Sheffield – Youdan’s Football Cup. The first series of matches played by some of the Sheffield football clubs for the silver cup presented by Thomas Youdan, Esq, to the clubs of the town and neighbourhood took place at Sheffield, on Saturday last, the 16th last, with the following results: – First Draw; 1. United Mechanics v. Norton, at Norton. – Won by Norton by one goal and three rouges to one rouge. 2 Mackenzie v. Garrick, at the Orphanage – Mackenzie won by one goal and two rouges to nothing. 3, Hallam v. Heeley, at Hallam – Hallam won by two goals and two rouges to one rouge. 4, Norfolk v. Fir Vale, at Norfolk Park – Norfolk won by two goals and four rouges to nothing. 5. Broomhall v. Pitsmoor, at Ecclesall road – Broomhall won by two rouges to nothing. 6. Milton v. Wellington, at the Orphanage – Milton won by two goals and four rouges to nothing. The following is the order in which the matches are drawn to be played on Saturday next:-Norfolk v. Broomhall at Norfolk Park; Hallam v Norton, at Norton; Mackenzie v. Milton, at Orphanage (ground of the latter), The rules for guidance of clubs contending for the cup are as follows: – 1. The games to be played by twelve a-side, 2. The games to commence punctually at three o’clock. No waiting for players allowed. 3. That each game be played one hour and a half in the usual way, but at the end of that time a draw takes place the clubs play again to toss for choice of goals, and play on. The first point scored to decide the game: but if after one hour’s okay the game still remains a draw, it is adjourned to Monday, at three o’clock. 4. That for each match there be two umpires and one referee the decision of the referee to be final.”

Youdan Cup First Round played 150 years ago today

The Youdan Cup is the oldest football competition in the world and it celebrates it’s 150 birthday this month.

This day. The Youdan Football Club. The first series of games for the Cup presented by Thos. Youdan, Esq., to the Clubs of the Town and Neighbourhood, will be played this day, as follows: –

1.     – United Mechanics’ v. Norton, at Norton. – Referee – Mr. W. I. Bingham. – A ‘Bus will leave the Surrey Arms, Granville Street, at Half past One o’clock punctually.

2.     – Garrick v. Mackenzie, at The Orphanage – Referee – Mr. J Faith.

3.     – Hallam v. Heeley. At Hallam – Referee – Mr. R. Dickinson. – A ‘Bus will leave           Heeley bridge about one o’clock, and call at the bottom of Ecclesall Road at Half past One.

4.     – Norfolk v. Fir Vale, at Norfolk Park. – Referee – Mr. J. Tomlinson

5.     – Broomhall v. Pitsmoor, at Ecclesall Road – Referee – Me J Pinder

– Milton v. Wellington, at The Orphanage – Referee – Mr. J Crapper

Every game to commence punctually at Three o’clock – No waiting for Players allowed”.

The Youdan Cup : 150 years old this month

The Youdan Cup is the oldest football competition in the world and it celebrates it’s 150 birthday this month. Twelve Sheffield football clubs entered the first round, played on the 16th of February 1867 and the final was on March 5th between Hallam FC and Norfolk FC with Hallam winning by two rouges to nil.

I will be blogging more about the world’s oldest knock out cup later this month.

New Book coming out this summer called:

“A History of Sheffield Football 1857-1889: Speed, Science and Bottom”

Having spent the last 3 years reclassifying all the English football clubs from 1857 into a chronological order I can now start to release the new information in geographic regions. Of course, I had to start at the beginning with a history of the ninety-five football clubs that played in Sheffield in this period. Not just a book about United and Wednesday but a narrative on the spiritual home of Association football.