Historic fixtures confirms Battersea Park not Wembley as home of modern football

The Victorian-styled footballers get to grips with the old rules

Kids from Eaton House school sporting some unusual facial fuzz

The plaque commemorating the celebrated 19th Century fixture

First published in Sport
Last updated
by , Chief Reporter

Wembley is viewed by many as football's spiritual home but that honour actually belongs to Battersea Park which hosted the world's first match played under current FA rules.

To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the historic fixture a recreation of that first match was held at the park yesterday organised by The Spirit of Football, a not-for-profit company dedicated to promoting the sport.

Players wore period dress and played the first half of the commemorative game according to the original association football rules and the second half under the rules of the modern era.

After the match a commemorative plaque was unveiled by Councillor Ravi Govindia, the leader of Wandsworth Council.

                  Sutton Guardian:

Eaton House pupils and the organisers and participants.

Coun Govindia said: "Battersea Park occupies a very special place in the rich and colourful story of football.

"It was the location chosen to stage the world’s very first game played according to association football rules.

"This was a landmark moment in the history of the modern game and it was my honour and privilege to unveil a special Wandsworth green plaque in recognition of Battersea Park’s role in the development of this global sport."

                                      Sutton Guardian:

           Phil Wake, from Spirit of Football, with Coun Ravi Govindia.

Although football had been played in England in various forms since the middle ages, a uniform set of rules was not compiled until the latter part of the nineteenth century.

Up until that point, the sport was a hybrid that involved both kicking and handling, with competing teams having to negotiate the rules of each game before kick off, largely dependant on the state of the pitch.

By the 1860s pressure was building for a uniform set of rules, and this led to the establishment of the Football Association in October 1863.

         

                   Sutton Guardian:

   Jack Bhan Woodall, 11, sporting an impressive beard.

In December of that year the FA drew up the original 13 rules of association football which have remained largely unchanged and govern the modern global game.

To test out these new rules the FA arranged a showcase fixture in Battersea Park on January 9, 1864 involving all the best players in England.

A team captained by the FA president beat one led by the FA secretary 2-0, with both goals scored by Charles William Alcock, a celebrated footballer and sports journalist who went on to become Honorary Secretary of the FA.

A toast raised at the conclusion of the game was "Success to football, irrespective of class or creed."

Yesterday's celebrations also included a five-a-side tournament involving Wandsworth schools.

                        Sutton Guardian:

                     A Victorian player schools a young pupil.

The commemorative game also used a ball provided by The Spirit of Football, which will then be carried on a special pilgrimage covering 30,000 miles across Europe and the Americas en route to the World Cup in Brazil.

For more information about this journey visit www.spiritoffootball.com


TODAY'S TOP WANDSWORTH STORIES

 

Comments

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree