The History of Newton Heath LYR Football Club 1878-1902

1878- Workers at the carriage and wagon department of The  Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company applied to their employers for assistance in forming a football team. They chose the name Newton Heath LYR (Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway) to distinguish them from another railway company team, Newton Heath Loco. The founders were based at North Road (Monsall) and their ground was near to the railway yard.
1879- The club adopts the railway company's colours,gold and green. Fixtures against other teams of railway workers.

1880 20th November-the first official match a 0-6 defeat at the hands of Bolton Wanderers reserves.

1882–83 season 26 recorded friendly matches.

1883-84 First appearance in the Lancashire Cup , a 2-7 defeat by Blackburn Olympic reservesOne of their matches, versus Hurst Brook Olympic on March 1st, was abandoned after 30 minutes, with Newton Heath 1-3 down, when the ball went into the river.

1884-85 Manchester and District Challenge Cup beaten in  the final by Hurst, 0-3, at Whalley Range.   

1885–86Manchester and District Challenge Cup- Newton heath win their first trophy, beating Manchester 2-1 in the final.

1886 Expansion, signing players of national reputation.

1886–87 the club entered the FA Cup for the first time. Following a  2–2 draw away to Fleetwood Rangers in the 1st round, Newton Heath refused to play a period of extra time, Fleetwood were awarded the tie. Following a protest to the Football Association, Newton Heath boycotted the competition until 1889.


1887-88 Manchester and District Challenge Cup winners, beating Denton 7-1 in the final.

1888-89 Denied entry to the newly formed Football League, Newton Heath become founder members of The Combination. Club colours change to red and white. The Manchester Derby v Ardwick on 16th March was watched by 2000, Newton Heath's lowest attendance of the season!  

 In April The Combination season was cut short due to financial difficulties. Hooley Hill were beaten 7-0 in the final of Manchester and District Challenge Cup.
1889-90 Following another unsuccessful application  to join the Football League, Newton Heath and 11 other clubs  formed  the Football Alliance. Newton Heath finished 8th.
On their return to the  FA Cup, Newton Heath were beaten 6-1 by Preston North End in the 1st round.
 The Manchester and District Challenge Cup was won again, Royton beaten 5-2 in the  final.

1890- 91 Beaten by Bootle Reserves in the 2nd qualifying round of the FA Cup.
 9th place in the Football Alliance. 

1891-92 beaten 2-4 by Blackpool in the 4th qualifying round of the FA Cup.
2nd place in the Football Alliance. 


1892-93 The Football Alliance merged with the Football League. Newton Heath was elected to the First Division. Formal ties with the railway company had ended, and the "LYR"  disappeared from the name, although most players were still employees of the railway company. The club had also become a limited company, and appointed their  first full-time official A.H.Albut, who acted as manager.
Newton Heath finished bottom of the First Division but avoided relegation thanks to a win against Second Division champions Small Heath (later Birmingham City F.C.) in the playoff.* 
Newton Heath were knocked out of the  FA Cup in the 3rd round, losing 0-4 to Blackburn Rovers.
Bolton Wanderers were beaten  2-1 in  the final of the Manchester Senior Cup.
A. H. Albut
1893–94 Newton Heath moved to a new ground three miles away at Bank Street in Clayton. Another kit-change  kit was again changed -green and gold striped shirt, navy kickers and socks.After finishing 16th in the league Newton Heath became the first team to be relegated to the Second Division following a  2–0  defeat by Liverpool in the playoff.
Exited the FA Cup through a 1-5 loss to Blackburn Rovers in a  2nd round replay.

1894-95 Colours changed to plain green with gold trim.
On 9th March the manager of visiting Walsall Town Swifts registered a complaint against the state of the Bank Street pitch; drab expanses of wet sand, tufted sparsely with grass. The game went ahead and Newton Heath beat Walsall Town 14–0, but the result was scratched. Newton Heath won the rearranged fixture 9-0.
Newton Heath finished 3rd in Division 2 but lost 2-3 to Stoke in the playoff.
Stoke also knocked Newton Heath  out of the  FA Cup , 2-3 in the 1st round.

1895-96  6th In div 2. FA Cup  2nd Round replay 5–1 defeat against Derby County. 

1896-97 Finished 3rd in div 2 but lost in the  play-offs.  FA Cup 3rd round- lost 0-2 to Derby County .

1897-1898  4th in div 2.  Lancashire Cup winners. Beaten 1-2 by Liverpool in an FA   Cup 2nd round replay.   


1898-99  4th in div 2. In the FA Cup  lost 3-5 to Tottenham Hotspur  in  a 1st round replay. 

1899-1900 4th in div 2. In the FA Cup, knocked out in the 1st qualifying round by South Shore,1-3. Highest home gate down to 12,000 (as compared to 20,000 in previous seasons) 

1900-01 Faced with a poor season both in terms of results and receipts, Newton Heath held a four-day bazaar to raise money at St James Hall, Manchester. One of the attractions was a St. Bernard dog with a collection tin around its neck. The dog ran away and was found by businessman John Henry Davies.  Davies' daughter fell for the dog. It was this episode that would inspire his later financial rescue of the club.
10th in div. 2. Knocked out of the FA Cup by Burnley after a replay in the 1st round, 1-7. 

1901-02 On 9th January,Club President William Healey applied to the court for a winding-up order against the club, claiming he was owed £242 17s. 10d.

Attention was directed to the Second League by the unusual experience of Newton Heath. The club is financially in a bad way. A winding up order to meet a debt of £242 precipitated matters last week and no arrangements could be made for playing the game fixed for Saturday. One hears that a new club will be formed out of the ashes of the old one, but this has not been decided definitely.
The Manchester Guardian 13th January 1902

Newton Heath were revived in time to play their next fixture on Saturday, 18th January 1902, by a £2,000 investment from a group of businessmen led by John Henry Davies  .
Lost 1-2 to Lincoln City2–1 in the Intermediate Round of the FA Cup.
Newton Heath's last game of the 1901/1902 season was a 2 - 0 victory over Chesterfield in front of only 2,000 spectators. The team finished the season in 15th and Newton Heath ceased to exist.
John Henry Davies became the club president, and on 24th April 1902.  given that the  was no longer based in Newton Heath, the new owners  considered renaming the club Manchester Celtic or Manchester Central. But, having  also changed their  colours back to red and white, the club began the 1902–03 season as Manchester United.

Manchester United 1902

* the playoffs were, during this era, referred to as test matches.

Scottish League 1890-91, Irish League 1890-91

Following the example of England two other members of the International Football Association Board (founded 1886) inaugurated leagues in the 1890-91 season. 
In Scotland Dumbarton and Rangers were joint champions- they finished the league season level on points and a play-off game at Cathkin Park on 21st May ended in a 2-2 draw.
The giants of 19th century Scottish football, Queen's Park declined to join the League in a stand against illegal professionalism.
  In an eventful season Renton were  were expelled from the league  for professionalism (the result of them playing a match against Edinburgh Saints, who were actually St Bernard's, who had been banned by the Scottish FA for paying players) and  Celtic, Third Lanark and Cowlairs were all deducted  points for fielding ineligible players.

In Ireland seven of the eight teams who contested the league came from Belfast. The title went to Linfield, who were founded in 1886 in Sandy Row in south Belfast by workers at the Ulster Spinning Company's Linfield Mill. Linfield's record that season was played 14, won 12, drawn 1 , lost 1- goals for 89, goals against 18. Very healthy.



During my lifetime I can think of at least three players wearing spectacles at a high level of the game- Jef Jurion (Belgium), Joop Van Daele (Feyenoord) and Edgar Davids (numerous clubs and Netherlands).
Before the introduction of contact lenses (Jack Howe wore them playing in 1948), I'm sure that many more footballers must have taken to the pitch wearing their glasses. There are already a couple of unknown examples on this blog- see the OLLS and Tokyo Soccer Club pictures.
Here are two notable examples:

J.F Mitchell played in goal for Preston North End and Manchester City. He won one England cap (v Ireland, 1925) and wore spectacles throughout his career. In the 1922 Preston v Huddersfield FA Cup final Mitchell employed, albeit unsuccessfully, 'Grobbelaar'-type tactics in an attempt to put off a penalty taker. 

 Annibale Frossi was an Italian forward who played most of his career with Società Sportiva Ambrosiana (now Internazionale Milano). He won 5 caps for The Azzuri, scoring 8 goals, including 2 in the 1936 Olympic Final.

El Tigre - Arthur Friedenreich

...esse bailarino mulato de olhos verdes, cabelos alisados e pés magicos. This dancing mulatto with green eyes, straightened hair and magic feet...
Carlos Maranhão

Arthur Friedenreich  was mixed race (Afican-Brazilian and German) , at a time when Brazilian football (and society) was essentially racially segregated.  This obstacle to progress did not prevent him from becoming Brazil's first football superstar,
He had his father's eyes- green, and his mother's African hair- which he resorted to straightening using wax.
He was also very skinny- only 52 kg at 1,75 m. 
In a 26 year first class career he is reckoned , according to some accounts, to have scored 1239 goals in 1329 games.  Friedenreich made 23 appearances for the Seleção between 1914 and 1925, netting ten goals. 
His finest hour (2 and a half hours in fact)* came in the 1919 Copa America (known then as the 
South American Championship) , Brazil's first triumph and the first Copa America played in Rio.
 The boot with which he scored the winning goal in the final against Uruguay was paraded around the city on a pole with a banner proclaiming The glorious foot of Friedenreich. The boot was later displayed  in jewellers' shop windows across Rio.

*Four extra times of 15 minutes each were played.150 minutes in total. Friedenreich scored the winner in the 122nd minute.



1908 Olympics

Great Britain

So, the first Olympic tournament to be contested by International representative sides took place in London in 1908. Eight teams entered. A disagreement between FIFA and Union des Sociétés Françaises de Sports Athlétiques regarding which body was responsible for French Olympic Football,France entered two teams in the tournament, one under the direction of each body. Hungary (financial constraints) and Bohemia (lost FIFA membership) withdrew before the tournament began. 
This left:
Great Britain (The squad consisting entirely of players from the England national amateur football team (formed in 1906).
France (A&B)

Six matches were played and a total of 48 goals scored
High scoring games indeed, an  average of 8 goals per match. England thumped Sweden (playing only their 3rd international) 12–1, and Sophus Nielsen bagged 10 in Denmark's 17–1 demolition of France A. It was a miserable outing for the French, their B team having lost 9-0 to Denmark in the previous round and the A's having reached the semis by virtue of a walkover. They were so humiliated by their defeat by the hands of the Danes that they declined to play the bronze medal match.
Great Britain won the gold, beating Denmark 2-0 in the final, and The Netherlands claimed bronze, beating Sweden by the same score. 
Netherlands might be considered fortunate to come away with bronze from a record of  played 2 won 1 lost 1 for 2 against 4 .
The attendance at  White City for the Gold Medal  match was 8000. To put this into context the  attendance at the 1908 FA cup final was 74,967, whilst a crowd in excess of 120,000 watched that years Scotland England clash at Hampden.
 Stapely was Great Britains top scorer with 6, finishing behind  Denmark's Wolle Wolfhagen (8) and Nielsen (11).

Great Britain team:
Horace Bailey  (Leicester Fosse, goalkeeper, age 27)
Herbert Smith (Reading F.C., left back, 28)
Walter Corbett (Birmingham City F.C., right back, 27)
Frederick Chapman (South Notts F.C., half back, 25)
Robert Hawkes (Luton Town F.C, half back, 28)
Kenneth Hunt (Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C., half back, 24)*
*Harold Hardman (Everton F.C., forward, 26)
Harold Stapley (Glossop North End A.F.C, forward, 25)
Arthur Berry (Oxford University, forward, 20)
Vivian Woodward (Tottenham Hotspur F.C., captain,forward, 29)
Clyde Purnell (Clapton F.C., forward, 31)

* The greatest name of any England International? Reverend Kenneth Reginald Gunnery Hunt

Concrete Football Boots

I know the feeling...


The First Penalty 1891

It might seem strange that the idea of the penalty kick was first put forward by a goalkeeper-
William McCrum, of Ireland's Milford FC  proposed the idea in response to the widespread practice of deliberate fouls preventing clear goal scoring chances. Under the rules as they stood such fouls were punished by indirect free kicks, which were relatively easy to defend.
In June 1890 the idea was submitted to the   International Football Association Board .
Here is the proposal:
 If any player shall intentionally trip or hold an opposing player, or deliberately handle the ball within twelve yards from his own goal line, the referee shall, on appeal, award the opposing side a penalty kick, to be taken from any point 12 yards from the goal line, under the following conditions: All players, with the exception of the player taking the penalty kick and the goalkeeper, shall stand behind the ball and at least six yards from it; the ball shall be in play when the kick is taken. A goal may be scored from a penalty kick.
Which was amended to:

The proposal was initially unpopular, but a high profile incident in a Stoke v Notts County FA Cup quarter final on 14th February 1891 seems to have swayed opinion-  a deliberate handball on the goal line lead to an   indirect free kick which did not produce a goal- justice did not prevail.
The rule came into effect in 1891.
The first goal from a penalty kick was scored by Alex McCall for Renton FC against Leith Athletic on August 22nd 1891.
In England it is generally held that  "Billy"Heath, playing for Wolverhampton Wanderers against Accrington at Molineux on 14th September 1891 scored the first penalty. However, on the same day  Bailey of Leicester Fosse scored one against Notts County, and the times are unrecorded.
One myth that is perpetuated on many websites is that Newton Heath's Alf Farman scored the first penalty in England. This seems to originate from Clark Miller's 1998 book He always puts it to the right , which states that Farman achieved the feat in a game for for Newton Heath v Blackpool in the Lancashire League on September 5th. However, at the time Newton Heath were in the Football Alliance, and their first recorded fixture that season was on September 12th. However, a crowd of 4000 at North Road would have seen Farman score a penalty against Blackpool in the fourth qualifying round of the FA Cup on December 5th  1891.

Alf Farman

Blackburn Olympic & Blackburn Rovers

 When the FA Cup was first contested in 1871-2 the 15 clubs that entered were almost exclusively from the south eastern corner of England. The only exceptions were a school team from Donington in Lincolnshire, who withdrew, and Queen's Park of Glasgow, who progressed to the semi finals via byes and then withdrew after a 1-1 draw with Wanderers when they they could not afford to return to London for a replay.
By 1882-83 there were a greater number of clubs from the north entering the competition. Of 84 clubs who entered 20 were from Lanacashire alone.
For four years in a row during the 1880's the town of Blackburn (population 104,000), provided the FA Cup winners. It marked a transitional period in the English game- a move from the dominance of southern, amateur clubs towards a northern dominated professional era- The 1885–86 season saw the legalization of professionalism. Attendances grew; the 1882 cup final was watched by 6,000, whereas the attendance  for the 1886 final was 15,000.

 Blackburn Rovers 1884

Blackburn had more than a dozen active football clubs by 1877, the principal of which was Blackburn Rovers. The club was founded in 1875, and played their first F.A.Cup tie on 1st November 1879.

 Blackburn Olympic F.C.1883

 Blackburn Olympic F.C. was founded in February 1878 when two minor clubs, Black Star and James Street, merged. By In 1880 the club's ambition had extended to entering the FA Cup.
When they reached the final in 1883 the club caused a stir by going  to Blackpool for a training camp. This was a first, and prompted southern amateur clubs to demand  investigations into the financial affairs of northern clubs. How could they afford the time off work? Who was footing the bill?

 When The Football League was formed in 1888 a rule was put in place stating that only one club from each town or city could join, and Rovers, rather than Olympic, were chosen by the League as Blackburn's representatives. Olympic were soon in deep financial trouble, and in 1889 all professionals were released as the club reverted to amateurism. This failed to save the club, which closed down in September 1889.

The FA Cup Finals

 Blackburn Rovers, the first team from outside London and the Home Counties to appear in an FA Cup Final, were defeated 1–0 by Old Etonians.

The Cup Final was contested by Blackburn Olympic and Old Etonians at the Kennington Oval. Blackburn Olympic won 2–1 after extra time. Jimmy Costley and Arthur Matthews scored for Blackburn; Harry Goodhart for Old Etonians. It was a watershed match for the sport, as for the first time in an FA Cup final a working class team playing the 'combination game' overcame a traditional public school team.

The 1884 FA Cup Final was contested on 29 March 1884 by Blackburn Rovers and Queen's Park (the only Scottish club to reach the FA Cup final) at the Kennington Oval. Rovers won 2–1. An all  Blackburn final had been on the cards, but Olympic lost their semi-final to Queen's Park.

 The 1885 FA Cup Final was contested by Blackburn Rovers and Queen's Park at the Kennington Oval, a repeat of the previous year's final. Rovers won 2–0 in their second successive FA Cup Final victory.

 The 1886 FA Cup Final was contested by Blackburn Rovers and West Bromwich Albion at the Kennington Oval. The match finished goalless, Albion wanted to play extra time but Blackburn Rovers declined, meaning a replay was necessary.The replay was particularly noteworthy in that it took place at Derbyshire County Cricket Club's Racecourse Ground, the first time an FA Cup Final was played outside London. The replay was won 2–0 by Blackburn Rovers, their third successive FA Cup Final victory in the season in which professionalism was legalised.

Blackburn Rovers won the cup again in 1890 and 1891.




The Welsh Cup 1877-78

Wrexham, 1878: E Phennah, C Murless, T W Davies, A Davies, E A Cross, E Evans snr, C Edwards, J Davies, John Price, E Evans jnr, H Loxham
Druids: B Roberts, J Powell, L Kenrick, H Morris, W Williams, C F Ketley, E Bowen, Dr D Grey, G F Thomson, J Jones, J Vaughan

The 1877/8 season saw the launch of the Welsh Cup. 
19 teams entered (one, Swansea RFC entered in error believing it to be a Rugby competition and withdrew). There was one English club (Northwich Victoria) and Aberystwyth from Ceredigion, the others all being north Wales sides.
The final was contested by two near neighbours , both founded in 1872.

The origins of Druids F.C. date back to 1869  with the formation of Wales’  first football club, Plasmadoc F.C. In 1872 Plasmadoc merged with Ruabon Rovers and RuabonVolunteers  under the guidance of Llewelyn Kenrick of Wynn Hall Ruabon. (In March 1876 Kenrick founded the Football Association of Wales  at the Wynnstay Arms Hotel, Ruabon ) In 1876 the Druids became the first Welsh club to enter the FA Cup, but before their match with Shropshire Wanderers, the Ruabon side withdrew.
The Druids, who won the Welsh Cup 5 times in the 1880's,   took part in the first ever Welsh Cup match (at Newtown)  on October 13, 1887, just a week after playing Scottish giants Queens Park at Hampden Park.

Wrexham was formed on 28th September 1872 at the Turf Hotel by members of the Wrexham Cricket Club, who wanted a sporting activity for the winter months.
Their early matches were curious affairs played by teams of up to 17 a side. Wrexham were leaders of the campaign to restrict teams to 11 a side. 

 The final was decided by a 90th minute goal credited to James Davies: 'the Wrexham forwards charged the Druids' defenders to take the ball over the line' 
There wasn't an actual trophy though.

Welsh Cup Final-30th March 1878
Wrexham 1- Druids 0
Acton Park,Wrexham
Attendance- 1500


Throughout most of the 74 year period covered by this blog, 2-3-5, or the pyramid, was the dominant formation in football.
The emphases in early association football were on attack and individual skills. Formations, such as they were, consisted of a goalkeeper,a half-back and a three-quarter as defenders, with eight forwards.
In the 1870s one full-back, two half-backs and seven forwards became more common.  It has been suggested that Wrexham was the first team play three half backs and five forwards, but the durability of the system was cemented by the success of Preston North End in the 1880s. This was in no small part due to the introduction of Scottish players into the leading English clubs of the day; the "Scottish style"  placed more emphasis on passing than dribbling.  The pyramid established a balance between attack and defence: the two fullbacks were responsible for the opposition wingers, while the halfbacks sought to neutralise the other three forwards. The centre half had a key role in both orchestrating the team's attack and marking the opponent's centre forward.  The pyramid system was prevalent until 1925 when the  offside rule was amended, and teams sought ways of turning the change to their advantage.

11-Outside left
10-Inside left
  9-Center forward
  8- Inside right
  7-Outside right

  6-Left half
  5-Center half
  4-Right half

  3- Left back
  2- Right back

   1- Goalkeeper

(note: shirt numbers were not introduced until 1928).


Deutsche Meisterschaft 1902/1903

VfB Leipzig

The 1903 German football championship was the first tournament sanctioned by the German Football Association (DFB) to crown a national champion. The DFB was made up of 30  local associations, and the winners of these associations were eligible to enter the championship. There were also associations from outside Germany (in Austria- Hungary) that were affiliated to the DFB, such as  Prague.
Of the thirty eligible teams, only six entered the inaugural championship.
The final was played at Exerzierplatz, Hamburg on May 31st 1903.

VfB Leipzig was one of the original eighty-six teams that came together in the city in 1900 to form the Deutscher Fußball Bund (DFB).

DFC Prag was founded by German Jewish students at a University in Prague in 1896. The DFB actively sought out members among ethnically German clubs from outside of the country, so  DFC Prag was one of the  founding members of the DFB and provided it with its first  president, Dr. Ferdinand Hueppe.

The routes to the final were makedly different- VfB Leipzig beat Britannia Berlin 3-1 away and then Altonaer FC von 1893 (of Hamburg) 6-3 at home.
 Prag, on the other hand,  reached  the final without playing a single playoff game.
They were due to play Karlsruher FV in Munich, but Prag protested, requesting that the match was played in Prague. Karlsruher then protested against Prague as a venue. The match was never played, and both teams entered the semifinal stage, where again they were scheduled to play each other at Leipzig.  Karlsruher  received a telegram which was supposedly from DFB, saying the game was off. So Karlsruher , failing to turn up, were disqualified.

Prag arrived in  Hamburg for the fianal as favourites ,a position they compromised somewhat by going out on a drinking session the night before the game. Kick off was delayed half an hour as officials sought a football that was in good enough condition to play the match. 
Prag took an 11th minute lead, the first half ended 1-1, but Leipzig dominated the second period and a   7-2 win saw them become the first winners of the Viktoria Meisterschaftstrophaee.

DFC Prag

Aston Villa 1896-97 Double Winners

The 1897 FA Cup final was played on April 10th at  Crystal Palace. A crowd of  65,891 saw Aston Villa beat Everton 3-2. Jimmy Crabtree scored the winner in the 44th minute.
Whilst Villa were playing in the final their nearest rivals in the league, Derby, were losing their match at Bury thus confirming Villa as  First Division champions.
In their League programme of 30 matches Villa won 21, drew 5 and lost 4. They scored 73 goals and conceded 38. They finished 11 points clear of their rivals.
The Cup run began with a 5-0 defeat of Newcastle at home on 30th January,  Notts County were beaten 2-1, a goalless draw with Preston North End was followed by a 3-2 win.  In the semi final at Bramall Lane, Sheffield, Liverpool were beaten 3-0.


Oriundi-Julio Libonatti

Julio Libonatti was born in Rosario, Argentina in 1901. He played for Newell's Old Boys from 1919 to 1926, scoring 78 goals in 141 appearances. He also made 15 appearances for Argentina, scoring 8 goals.
In 1926 Libonatti became the first recorded trans-Atlantic transfer when he moved to Torino in Italy. 
It was the policy in Mussolini's Italy that people of Italian extraction 'returning' to Italy automatically had dual citizenship.
Consequently Libonatti was able to make his Italy debut in 1926. He won 17 caps and scored 15 goals.
In the 1927-28 season he was Capocannoniere- the top scorer in Serie A. His total of 35 goals that season has only been bettered once.


England 1876

The earliest known photograph of an international football team.
This is the England XI that lost 3-0 to Scotland at the West of Scotland Cricket Ground, Glasgow on 4th March 1876.
Arthur Henry Patrick Savage (Crystal Palace), Edgar Field (Clapham Rovers), Frederick Thomas Green (The Wanderers), Beaumont Griffith Jarrett (Old Harrovians), Ernest Henry Bambridge (The Swifts), Walter Scott Buchanan (Clapham Rovers), George Hubert Hugh Heron (The Wanderers),Charles Eastlake Smith (Crystal Palace),William John Maynard (1st Surrey Rifles), Charles Francis William Heron (The Wanderers,capt), Arthur William Cursham (Notts County FC)

The Scottish Football Association Challenge Cup 1874

Tonight at half past eight o'clock a number of gentlemen met at No. 3 Eglinton Terrace for the purpose of forming a football club. 
Queen's Park

When the The Scottish Football Association Challenge Cup was first contested in the 1873-74 season it came as no great surprise that Queen's Park should win it.
 The first Association club in Scotland, The Queen's Park Football Club was founded on 9 July 1867. They dominated the early Scottish game-  best illustrated by the fact that in the first eight years of their existence they didn't concede a single goal. They won the Challenge Cup ten times during it's first twenty years, and also reached the English FA cup final twice. Queen's Park also provided the entire XI for Scotland's first recognised international in 1872.
Their style of play was different from that of their English contemporaries, as noted by The Field magazine in 1885: They dribble little and usually convey the ball by a series of long kicks, combined with a judicious plan of passing on.
 16 clubs embarked on the quest for the first Scottish Cup in October 1873: Alexandra Athletic, Blythswood, Callander, Clydesdale, Dumbarton, Dumbreck,Eastern,Granville, Kilmarnock, Queen's Park, Renton, Rovers, Southern, 3rd Lanark RV,Vale of Leven, and Western.

Queen's Park won the Cup without conceding a single goal, with victories over Dumbreck, Eastern and Renton preceding a 2-0 win against Clydesdale in the final, which was played at Hampden Park in front of a crowd of 2,500. Hampden Park* was Queen's Park's home ground, and they had contributed significantly to the cost of the trophy that they won.

Queen's Park were noted for keen preparation, training and experimenting with tactics, but they maintained a strictly amateur ethos, in keeping with their motto Ludere Causa Ludendi – to play for the sake of playing, so that as the Scottish game became more professionalised ( the Scottish League founded 1890, professionalism allowed in 1893)  they faded from prominence.

* The current Hampden Park is the third stadium to bear this name. Queens Park played at Hampden Park #1 up until 1883. They then moved to Hampden #2 when a railway was built over the old site. The present Hampden opened in 1903. At this point Third Lanark moved into Hampden #2 and it became known as Cathkin Park.


København A-Raeken 1889/90

The second oldest league competition in the world was contested in Denmark in the 1889/90 season. The competition was contested exclusively by Copenhagen clubs, with national championship playoffs being introduced in 1911/12. Seven teams entered, and all the matches were played at Nørrefælled park. All matches were played to a positive result, with extra time and replays if necessary.

The championship was won by Akademisk Boldklub (AB), a club formed in 1889 for University students, and the dominant force in early Danish football . They won the title via a rather protracted series of play offs. On March 30th 1890 they faced the other previously unbeaten team, Kjøbenhavns Boldklub (KB). AB emerged 2-1 winners. Due to this match being played in very bad weather conditions, a replay was arranged, which KB won 3-0. Each side having now won one game it was decided that they should play for a third time, and AB again won 2-1.


The laws of the game formulated by the FA in 1863 didn't make any specific statement about the ball. the first reference a standard-sized ball  was for a  game between the London Football Association and the Sheffield Football Association in 1866, when it was stated that a Lillywhite’s Number 5 must be used. The same brand of ball was specified for the  FA’s Challenge Cup competition.  Thus, in 1872  a revised version of the laws stipulated a ball of average circumference of not less than 27 inches and not more than 28 inches. In 1883 this rule was extended to  all games . A standard weight followed in 1889: from 12  to 15 ounces. This was amended in 1937 to become 14 to 16 ounces.
The valve, which eliminated the need for laces, was invented in Argentina in 1931. 

Ball used at 1936 Olympics



When on a military posting to Izmir  in 1898 Fuat Hüsnü Kayacan (above) became the first Turkish man to play football.
 Football was played in  Thessaloniki and Izmir as early as 1875. F.C. Smyrna (Izmir) was the first football  club in Turkey. The game appeared in Istanbul in 1895. As The Ottoman Empire prohibited Turkish people from playing, these early sides were made up of wealthy English, Greek and Armenian expats.
In 1901 Fuat Hüsnü Kayacan was instrumental in forming a club called  Black Stockings FC  for Turkish players, but the police curtailed their activities and their one and only fixture, against Greek opposition, was abandoned.
Historians of Fenerbahçe identify Black Stockings FC as their predecessors. Fuat Hüsnü Kayacan had connections with all the major clubs in Istanbul at the time, being influential at both Fenerbahçe and Galatasary.
In 1908 football for Turkish subjects was decriminalised. 

Women's Football

 Anyone interested in the early years of women's football should check out this excellent site:


Renton FC - Champions of The United Kingdom & The World

Renton FC was formed in 1872. West Dumbartonshire was a nursery of Scottish football, with Renton's neighbours Vale of Leven and Dumbarton also producing strong teams in this era. In 1888 Renton beat Cambuslang 6-1 in the Scottish Cup final. It was their second cup win.
In the 1888 FA Cup final in England underdogs West Bromwich Albion beat Preston North End on  24th March . West Brom. then issued a challenge to Renton. They would come to Scotland and meet Renton on a neutral ground to determine the‘Champions of the United Kingdom’ – and the World.
Renton accepted the offer, and on May 19th the two cup winners met at Cathkin Park, Glasgow.
The match was played in appalling conditions, Renton running out 4-1 winners. Renton's team included 19 year old Neil McCallum, who later that year would score the first ever goal for Celtic.
A sign proclaiming Renton ‘Champions of the World’ appeared above the pavilion in their home ground, Tontine Park. 
 Two weeks later, Renton cemented their claims of world domination by beating Preston North End (away) in an exhibition game.It was this Preston North End team, who, the following season,won the first ‘Double’ in England, and with it the nickname 'The Invincibles'.

Billy Townley

Blackburn Rovers 1890 : Townley-Middle row, right.

William (Billy) Townley was born in Blackburn in 1866. He played football for Blackburn Swifts and Blackburn Olympic before joining Blackburn Rovers at the beginning of the 1888-89 season.
 Townley won his first international cap in 1889. The following year he scored two goals in England's 9-1 victory over Ireland .
 Townley was a two-time FA Cup winner with Blackburn Rovers.
 In 1890 he became the first player to score a hat-trick in an FA Cup final as Rovers beat The Wednesday 6-1.
In 1891 he scored in the final as Notts County were beaten 1-0.
Townley was a schoolteacher by profession, but when his playing career was ended by a serious head injury whilst with Manchester City, he decided to pursue a career in coaching. Opportunities being limited in Britain, he moved to the continent.
Starting with DFC Prag (a team from Bohemia who were part of the German Football Association) , Townley managed (or coached) numerous clubs in Germany and Switzerland, including Karlsruher FV (who he guided to the National Championship in 1910), FC St Gallen, 3 spells at Bayern Munich and 4 spells at  SpVgg Fürth (winning 2 National Championships).

Townley also coached the Netherlands to the semi finals of the 1924 Olympic tournament.



Ajax c.1901 

                                                          Promotion winners 1910-11

1911-12  A change of strip -to avoid a clash with Sparta Rotterdam

Amsterdamsche Football Club Ajax NV was founded on March 18, 1900, a revival of an earlier, short lived club (1894).
When Ajax reached the Netherlands top league for the first time in 1911 it was under the management of Jack Kirwan, a former Irish international who had played in the Tottenham Hotspur FA Cup winning team of  1901, as well as having spells with Everton and Chelsea.
Kirwan returned to Britain during the First War, but later coached Livorno in Italy (1923-1924).

Uruguay v Argentina 1930, balls.

By the time that Uruguay and Argentina contested the first World Cup final in 1930, they had accumulated 28 years of bitter rivalry. The Final was played against a backdrop of acrimony, spectators were searched for weapons, death threats were issued to Argentine players and the two sides could not reach an agreement on what ball would be used for the game. The obvious compromise was reached. The first half was played with a ball provided by Argentina, the second with a Uruguayan ball.

 Argentina's ball, first half. (Uruguay 1 Argentina 2)
Uruguay's ball, second half. (Uruguay 3 Argentina 0)