Edinburgh Foot-Ball Club 1824 – 1841

Discussion in 'Scotland's Oldest Football Clubs by name' started by Martin, May 21, 2015.

  1. Martin

    Martin Administrator Staff Member

    In 1824 Hope, then a 17 year old trainee lawyer, organised a season of games for the Foot-Ball Club he had formed in Edinburgh. During the first recorded season the members met on Saturday afternoons to play a form of football. This was not football in its modern form. The club's games probably resembled the rough and tumble of traditional ball games played in many places. A letter of 1825 (NAS ref. GD253/183/14/12) refers to a game involving 39 players, and 'such kicking of shins and such tumbling'. Sticks marked the goals. The only surviving club rules (NAS ref. GD253/183/7/3) forbade tripping, but allowed pushing and holding and the lifting of the ball. A 'chairman' seems to have acted as a referee. Their first known ground was the park on the Dalry estate in the city's south-west suburbs. Hope had been born in Dalry House in 1807, the son of James Hope WS. In 1828 John Hope followed his father into the Society of Writers to His Majesty's Signet. The club was dominated by young lawyers and other professionals, and the sons of the Edinburgh legal fraternity and the landed gentry. Almost all of them lived in the New Town of Edinburgh. Starting with 61 members, the club grew to 85 members in 1826-7 season. The subscription began at 1s. 6d., which paid for the hire of the park, the equipment and a boy, who was probably responsible for blowing up the football. The most frequently purchased items were the bladders, which evidently frequently burst, and covers for the ball. Later, as the park rent increased, the subscription rose to 6s.

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