Photographs from the launch of the Sheffield Home of Football walking app

Photographs of the Sheffield Library event courtesy of Ellis Carr, Nick Partridge and Stephen Elliot. Discover the app yourself -download here:

The crowd gathers at Heeley Parish Church – The grave of Nathaniel Creswick and the world’s oldest football club formed from a church.


Geoffrey Norton – oldest surviving descendant of Nathaniel Creswick.

Richard Tims (Chairman of Sheffield FC) outlines his plan to build the Home of Football Stadium.

Mark Metcalf co author of Fred Spiksley book outside the site of where the Olive Grove was situated.

The B&Q Store on Queens Road, the site of Sheffield FC’s East Bank Ground in 1857. The ground where Association football began.

Martin Westby the app designer, explains that the Olive Grove Campus stands on the site of the long demolished Park House. This is where the early Sheffield FC players would change before matches and where they held their inaugural meetings.


The bust of William Prest (co founder of Sheffield FC ) at the Cutlers Hotel.

Half time oranges at the Town Hall with Sheffield’s Lord Mayor.

John Garrett talks about Sheffield United’s early history in the Cricketers Arms on Bramall Lane.

Walk finishes at Highfield Library -the site of Sheffield Wednesday’s first ever ground.

Q&A session with local football club historians after the walk from left to right : John Wilson, Mark Metcalf, Jason Dickinson, Andy Dixon, Ben, Martin Westby and Clive Nicholson.

All washed down with free tea and cakes courtesy of those lovely people at Tesco!

Discover the app yourself -download here:


Sheffield Home of Football Launch Walk 22nd April Practicalities

We hope you are looking forward to the Sheffield: Home of Football walk on Sunday as much as we are.  In advance of the event, we want to highlight a few practical considerations for everyone to bear in mind.

About the Sheffield: Home of Football app

  • Please make sure you have downloaded the Sheffield: Home of Football app from your app store before the day of the launch walk and check that your phone is fully charged. Visit to download.
  • Please familiarise yourself with what the various buttons do on the app so that you are ready for the walk. The best way to do this is to read the pre-planning section.
  • The audios repeat the same information that is available as text in the app and ordinarily you could choose whether to do the walk either by listening or reading. However, on the 22nd we ask that you concentrate on the text and the pictures only rather than the audio; that way you will be able to hear what the historians leading your group have to say at the various points on the tour.

Football Historians attending the walk:

  • Martin Westby author of A History of Sheffield Football 1857 -1889
  • John Wilson organiser of the ‘Home of Football’ project
  • Andy Dixon Sheffield FC Club Historian
  • Scott Loveluck Hallam FC Club Historian
  • Jason Dickinson Sheffield Wednesday FC Club Historian
  • John Garrett Sheffield United FC Club Historian
  • Clive Nicholson and Mark Metcalf authors of ‘Flying over an Olive Grove’

Health and safety
We want everyone to have the best possible experience, so here are a few recommendations:

  • The weather forecast for Sunday is warm. We recommend wearing suitable clothing, sun cream and a hat.
  • Please bring water and any snacks you might need.
  • If you would usually take medication during the day, please ensure you bring it with you.
  • Although entirely on paved areas, 4.7 miles is a long walk so please wear appropriate, sturdy shoes.
  • If you have any physical limitations that may prevent you from completing the walk, please let us know. If you think you will be unable to complete the 4.7 mile walk, please do not take part.  However you might still wish to join us at Highfield Library from 2.30pm for tea, cake and a Q&A session with the historians.
  • Everyone should proceed at a pace they are comfortable with which does not cause over exertion. Those who suspect they are unable to complete the necessary distance should inform the walk leader and not proceed.
  • Once the walk begins, we ask that you do not leave the walk without informing the walk leader.
  • Please take care when crossing roads and don’t allow the phone to distract from normal road safety.
  • Please remain on pavements except when crossing roads.
  • Give way to other pedestrians and be mindful of the group size and traffic around you.
  • If at any point you require medical assistance, inform the walk leader.
  • Ultimately, all attendees are responsible for their own safety.


On arrival at Heeley Parish Church
Please arrive for 12noon, for registration and an introduction and briefing.  Report to the walk leader who will be wearing a high visibility jacket.

Please note, there is a church service going on until 11.45am, so please respect the church yard and keep the noise down until after that time.

On arrival at Highfield Library
The walk concludes at Highfield Library where we will be serving refreshments and cake.  The football historians will be giving a Q&A session and Martin Westby, author of ‘A History of Sheffield Football 1857 -1889 will be selling his book at the discounted price of £15.00.

Feel free to wear your favourite Sheffield football club’s shirt, be it Sheffield FC, Hallam FC, Wednesday FC or United. The walking tour app is about celebrating Sheffield’s collective contribution to football.

Thanks for reading; we look forward to seeing you on Sunday!

The Events Team

Sheffield: The Home of Football walking app

As the author of A History of Sheffield Football 1857-1889: Speed, Science and Bottom (available to purchase here I was approached by Sheffield Libraries to design the route and write the content for a free to download app that offers a walking guide to the heritage of Sheffield football, it is called ‘Sheffield: The Home of Football. It covers the rich history of the four remaining clubs (out of the 95 that existed between 1857 and 1899) and the Sheffield & Hallamshire County F.A. (England’s first County Association)

The walk is just over 4.7 miles and while visiting the ten stops over the 90-minute walk you will be introduced to the places and the people that made Sheffield the home of Association football. (You should allow another 30 minutes of extra time to linger at the various points of interest). Enhanced with audio clips and map mash-ups showing Sheffield in the 1850s and today; you will be transported back to the Victorian era when the world’s first football club started.

The app is available as a free download from the 8th of April at

Join us for the launch day walk on Sunday April 22nd from midday onwards, when all the home football club historians will join you to answer any questions. Also attending are the authors of ‘Flying over an Olive Grove: The Remarkable Story of Fred Spiksley’; Mark Metcalf and Clive Nicholson. The vicar of Heeley Parish Church and Geoffrey Norton, who is a descendent of Nathaniel Creswick will say a few words before the walk commences. The Lord Mayor will be providing half time oranges at the Town Hall and the walk ends at Highfield Library which will supplying free refreshments. Please wear your favourite football club shirt to show the true spirit of Sheffield the Home of Football. It is important to book for this free event at

There is a Facebook Group set up to support the app and the launch walk; just search for Sheffield the Home of Football once you have logged in to Facebook. Or click here

Sheffield the home of football

I have been researching English football history for over 10 years and as a Sheffielder I became increasingly perplexed as places such as Lancashire, London and Zurich all laid claim to the ownership of the birth of Association Football. Meanwhile in Sheffield itself we seem content not to shout about our footballing achievements from the rooftops, but hopefully that will change as momentum grows in the city to talk more about our unique footballing heritage.

To prove that Sheffield is the home of football I recently produced the following roll call of footballing accolades held by Sheffield:

Oldest Football Club in the World: Sheffield FC

Oldest Club Rules in the World: Sheffield FC

Second Oldest Football Club in the World: Hallam FC

Third Oldest League Football Club in the World: Sheffield Wednesday FC

Oldest ground in the World still to be hosting Association Football: Sandygate

Oldest stadium in the World still to be hosting professional Association football: Bramall Lane

Oldest Knockout Cup in the World: Youdan Cup

Second Oldest Knockout Cup in the World: Cromwell Cup

Oldest County Football Association in England: Sheffield Football Association

Oldest English County Knockout Cup: Sheffield Challenge Cup (Jointly with Birmingham F.A.)

Oldest English Charity Knockout Cup: Wharncliffe Charity Challenge Cup

World’s first use of Floodlights at a football match: Bramall Lane

World’s first League Club to be called ‘United’: Sheffield United FC

Oldest Church Team in the World: Heeley FC

Oldest ‘State’ School Football Club in the World: All Saints’ Night School FC

Oldest School Tournament in the World: Clegg Shield

Oldest Pub Team in the World: Garrick FC

Oldest Player Insurance Scheme in the World: Sheffield

First ever Chairman of the Football Association: Sir Charles Clegg

First ever F.A. Cup: Made in Sheffield by Martin, Hall & Co.

The facts above to my mind prove incontrovertibly that Sheffield is the home of football a fact further confirmed by my 2017 book ‘A History of Sheffield Football 1857-1889… ‘Speed, Science and Bottom.’ which is available to purchase here