Glasgow Rangers v Preston North End 1887

 Glasgow 20-8-1887:  All those ladies who got in for free would have seen Preston North End hammer Rangers 8-1, watched by a crowd well in excess of the 15,000 capacity (double according the cutting below). Some sources claim that the  match had to be abandoned after 70 minutes due to a pitch invasion- this is not borne out by this contemporary report:

Some hooliganism though, as seen in this account: 
It is a lasting shame and disgrace to the Glasgow public that an attempt should have been made to assault Goodall on Saturday. None of the North Enders did anything shady that I could see, and the only interpretation we can put on the attempt is that some of the Kinning Parkites* were mad with jealousy and rage.

*Kinning Park was Ranger's previous home.

Recreativo de Huelva

This is the first recorded mention  of football in Spain , written in the visitors' book of an inn at  Gaucin in September 1874 by a Captain W F Adams:
 Marched out from Huelva on Wednesday and played football with some railway workers. The only diversion we truly had.

If you Google history of football in Spain you will throw up many references to Aaron Collins FC, formed on December 23, 1889 by Dr. Mackay and British workers employed by the Rio Tinto Company. 
In fact the club formed by Dr. Mackay on that very date was Huelva Recreation Club (later Recreativo de Huelva). None of the material on the life of Dr McKay or the origins of Recreativo de Huelva makes any reference to this phantom team- myth and history merge in the cut and paste era.

Huelva Recreation Club*

Huelva Recreation Club was founded on December 23rd, 1889 by the Scotsmen, Alexander Mackay and Robert Russell Ross, who worked at the Rio Tinto Mining Company.  The men were  doctors and they founded the club in order to provide the mine workers with physical recreation.
In 1884, Dr. Mackay had joined the Club Inglés and created the Sociedad de Juego de Pelota (Ball Game Society), which organized football games along with other typical British sports.  
Dr. Mackay decided to create a sports club in Huelva, the capital of the province. The first meetings of the club was in December 18th 1889 in the Hotel Colón. The meeting was organized by Dr. Mackay along with a German businessman, Wilhem Sundheim, 

The first organized game played in Spain took place in Seville on March 8th, 1890 at the Tablada Hippodrome. Recreativo de Huelva played against Sevilla FC, a team made up of workers from the Seville Water Works. With the exception of two Spanish players on the Huelva team, all the players on both teams were British.

* The player 5th from left appears to be wearing a scrum cap like Petr Cech!


The Numbers Game

Dixie Dean collects the cup in his number 9 shirt.

Ted Sagar- Number 1.
The things we take for granted...

Never mind names and distinctive squad numbers, up until the 1939-45 War, players didn't even sport numbers on their shirts.
Before 1909 the spectator (and ,I'm surmising, the referee) also had to deal with the fact that the goalkeeper wore the same colours as his team mates!
The fist use of numbered shirts in Association football occurred in Australia as early as 1911 , an idea borrowed from Australian Rules Football saw compulsory shirt numbering in the Sydney Leagues in 1912.
In Britain nothing was done to follow this trend until the late 1920s. The advantages of shirt numbering were obvious- Herbert Chapman and Sir Fredrick Wall both spoke in favour of it as a means of enhancing a spectators understanding and appreciation of the game.
Two matches were played in 1928 in which shirts were numbered. Chelsea vs Swansea Town at Stamford Bridge, and Sheffield Wednesday vs Arsenal at Hillsborough.
In the Chelsea Swansea game only the outfield players were numbered (2-11).

The 35,000 spectators were able to give credit for each bit of good work to the correct individual, because the team were numbered, and the large figures in black on white squares enabled each man to be identified without trouble
The Daily Express 27th August 1928

Numbered Jerseys A Success
I fancy the scheme has come to stay. All that was required was a lead and London has supplied it.
The Daily Mirror 27th August 1928

But the lead was not followed, although Chelsea did wear their numbered jerseys on a tour of Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil in the summer of 1929, earning the nickname Los Numerados. 

A few experiments were made with numbered shirts in 1933- in March, England wore numbers in a trial match at Fratton Park.
The most famous development came in April 1933, when shirt numbers were worn for the first time in the FA Cup final.  Everton players wore numbers 1 to  11 and Manchester City numbers 12 to 22. 
 The following week Everton wore their numbered shirts in a Football League match against Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux.  
But at its annual general meeting in 1933, the Football League Management Committee rejected a proposal requiring shirt numbers after hearing objections that it would cost too much and spoil club colours. 

On December 4th, 1933 Arsenal wore numbers for a friendly match with F.C Vienna at Highbury. 
The wearing of numbered shirts was still rejected by the Football League Management Committee during the 1934 general meeting.
 England wore numbers  in their 3-1 loss to Scotland at Hampden Park in Glasgow on 17 April 1937. 
It was in 1939 that numbering was finally accepted in top level British football.



I must confess that when researching the history of football in Africa I didn't expect to find much activity in West Africa during the period I am concerned with.
That's a confession of ignorance, ignorance which, I am delighted to report, has now been vanquished!
European traders and sailors introduced football to the Gold Coast, but the locals soon took to it. A Jamaican born British schoolmaster named Briton, who was Head Teacher of Philip Quaque Government Boys School in Cape Coast, founded Excelsior FC in 1903. After three months  of practice Excelsior revealed themselves to the public at the Victoria Park on  December 26th 1903, two teams of Excelsior players competing in a rather rudimentary version of association football in front of an enthusiastic audience that included colonial dignitaries, including the Governor Sir Frederic Hodgson. Impressed by the boys' enthusiasm Sir Frederic arranged for them to play a match against a side made up of  European  Cape Coast residents and visiting sailors.
Excelsior gave a good account of themselves but lost the game 2-1. By popular demand a return match was arranged that Excelsior won 3-1.
Excelsior played regular fixtures, mainly against teams of  European civil servants and sailors. They also played a missionary role in the spread of football in the Gold Coast, travelling to play exhibition matches, as a result of which numerous teams were formed as the game took hold of the public imagination.

 Excelsior 1903 - yellow and red stripes were the club colours.

A league competition was established in Accra as early as 1920. The trophy for this competition, the Sir Gordon Guggisberg Shield, was donated by the Governor of the same name. It was played for 12 times, and on six occasions the victorious team was  Hearts of Oak, who still grace the premier league in Ghana as the country's oldest existing club.

Hearts of Oak was founded in Usshertown (now a part of the capital, Accra), in 1911; in fact the club has the memorable foundation date of 11.11.11 - this was the date of their first ever match, against Invincibles.
Hearts of Oak were the third team formed in The Gold Coast- Excelsior being the oldest, followed by Invincibles (1910).
The club was founded by Christopher Brandford Nettey (later a prominent political figure) and a group of his associates.  Akom Duncan was elected captain. 

¡oh jugador maravilloso!

 Isabelino Gradín

Juan Delgado

On July 2nd 1916 the first ever match of the Copa America (South American Championship of Nations) was played in Buenos Aires. Uruguay (the eventual winners) defeated Chile 4-0.
Penarol's Isabelino Gradín scored two of the goals. Following the game Chile appealed for the result to be scratched as Uruguay had fielded 'African' players. Desperation or ignorance? Both Gradin and his teammate Juan Delgado were Uruguay born, and were the forerunners of a succession of black players to wear the celestial blue.


Herbert Chapman

Herbert Chapman (1878-1934) was once described as the first manager who set out methodically to organize the winning of matches. He is famous for his role in bringing about the change in the traditional 2-3-5 formation to the WM (3-2-2-3). Chapman also questioned the wisdom of the prevailing tactics of the day- wingers dribbling to the by-line and centering the ball, which he dismissed  as giving the advantage to the defenders. He favoured inside play, the ball being moved incisively into the danger area via the inside forwards. Bernard Joy wrote that Chapman's tactical innovations significantly altered the role of every outfield player. But he also made innovations in other areas. He introduced team talks and tactical discussions. He put the white sleeves onto Arsenal's jerseys, believing that they would be more easy for teammates to pick out with their peripheral vision. Chapman was an enthusiast of continental football. he advocated international club competition and even tried to bring overseas players to Arsenal when this was almost unheard of. Floodlit football and shirt numbering were other causes he championed.
On a lighter note Chapman was the first manager to arrange for music to be played over the PA before the match and during half time.

Do clubs realise to the full today the importance of the man who is placed in control? They are ready to pay  anything up to £4000 and £5000 for the services of a player. Do they attach as much importance to the official who will have charge of the player? the man behind the scenes who finds players, trains talent, gets the best out of the men at his command is the most important man in the game from the club's point of view.
The Sporting Chronicle 1925

1908-09 - Northampton Town- Southern League Champions.
1922-23 -Huddersfield Town-FA Cup Winners
1923-24- Huddersfield Town- Football League Champions
1924-25- Huddersfield Town- Football League Champions
1929-30 - Arsenal -FA Cup Winners
1930-31- Arsenal -Football League Champions
1931-32 Arsenal -Football League Champions

Coupe des Nations 1930


Europe didn't embrace the first World Cup with any great enthusiasm. Four European teams entered (Belgium, France, Romania and Yugoslavia), but certainly not the continent's strongest.
Meanwhile, Servette, a Geneva based Swiss club and reigning national champions, had a new stadium to unveil- Stade des Charmilles.

Servette FC 

A summer tournament for the leading continental club sides was arranged- England and Scotland were not included as they were not affiliated to FIFA at the time. Portugal's Benfica rejected the invitation, and the FA's of Norway and Greece objected to being overlooked.
Fifteen matches in eight days- a real feast of football. Taking part were:

First Vienna FC (Austria)
Cercle Brugge (Belgium)
SK Slavia Prague (Czechoslovakia)
Sète (France)
SpVgg Fürth (Germany)
Újpest FC (Hungary)
AGC Bologna (Italy)
Go Ahead (Netherlands)
Real Unión Irún (Spain)
Servette FC (Switzerland)

The final, a rematch of the 1929 Mitropa Final, was watched by 22,000. Újpest beat Slavia 3-0 through a János Köves hat trick. the game was refereed by S F Rous- the leading ref of the day.
Újpest scored 16 goals and conceded only 1 in 4 games. 


Netherlands Football League Championship

There had been embryonic national championships in the Netherlands in the two previous seasons, but their credibility as true championships is dented by the fact that the teams in the 'league' played an unequal number of matches.
The 1890-91 season was the first in which fixtures were arranged with appropriate symmetry.
5 teams entered, drawn from  AmsterdamDen HaagHaarlem and Rotterdam. For this reason the championship is often referred to not as a National league, but as a forerunner of the Eerste Klasse West. 
Taking part were:
Koninklijke HFC (Haarlem) It is the oldest club in the Netherlands. Originally a rugby club, they switched to association in 1883 and  played in the first official football match in the Netherlands  in 1886
HVV Den Haag founded in 1883 as an extension of HCC (a cricket club).
RAP (Amsterdam)  founded in  1887 by the members of three cricket clubs.
Olympia Rotterdam
W Concordia (Rotterdam)
HVV Den Haag emerged as champions.

When the Eerste Klasse Oost came into being in 1897 a play off for the National championship was held between Oost champions, Vitesse (Arnhem) and West champions, RAP Amsterdam.


The final was played in front of 750 spectators at Utrecht, RAP winning 4-2

FC Escocès

FC Sant Andreu was formed in 1899 by Scottish textile workers living in Barcelona.
The following year the team was known as FC Escocès.
FC Escocès' first official fixture was on February 2nd 1900- their opponents were Barcelona (playing only their sixth game). Two goals from Joan Gamper won the game for Barça.
Escocès record that season was played 10, won 7 lost 3 (two defeats at the hands of Barcelona and one against HMS Calliope).
FC Escocès only lasted a season. This was largely due to a boycott imposed on Scottish players by Barcelona. Aggrieved at Escocès players turning out for their main rivals Català, Barcelona would not play against any team that featured Scottish players. In a case of cut off your nose to spite your face they also refused to use Scots players themselves.
When FC Escocès was dissolved the ban was lifted, and Barcelona took on three former Escocès players with considerable success.
Goalkeeper John Hamilton initially joined Hispania, winning the Copa Macaya in 1901. On transferring to Barcelona Hamilton converted to a right full back, and was in the Barcelona side that won the Catalàn championship in 1904.
The versatile Geordie Girvan scored the first ever goal for Barça in an official competition, during a Copa Macaya game on January 20, 1901.
David Mauchan was noted for his skillful ball control and great strength.
Mauchan and Hamilton both went on to be referees.


Archie Hunter

Archie Hunter was a prince of dribblers. It was not an unusual performance of his to start at the half way mark, and dribble through the whole of the opposing team! he would not lose the ball until he had literally dribbled it between the posts.
Alfred Gibson and William Pickford in Association Football And The Men Who Made It (1906)

Archie Hunter joined Aston Villa from Ayr Thistle in 1878. Records of his career are incomplete because most of his games were played in the pre Football League era. He was never capped for Scotland because he played for an English club (this was the convention at the time). Hunter was captain of Villa when they won the FA Cup for the first time (1887). His career ended prematurely when he suffered a heart attack in a game against Everton in 1890, at the age of 31. He died four years later.


Bolivia cannot have traveled to the World Cup in Uruguay with any great hope of success.
Their introduction to the international stage had come in 1926. In the South American Championship that year they played four games and left winless with an aggregate of 2 goals for and 24 against.
The following year they played 3 South American Championship matches and conceded 19 goals whilst scoring 3.
So they arrived in Uruguay having never won an international game. But they had an eventful, if brief tournament.  Keen to pay tribute to their hosts they played their opening match wearing shirts each emblazoned with a single letter, spelling Viva Uruguay.

In this opening fixture against Yugoslavia Bolivia had four goals disallowed and were down to 10 men after 55 mins. Yugoslavia prevailed by four goals to nil. As you can see from the picture (which I'm guessing was taken after the match, with Gomez, the injured player accounting for the missing 'U'?) the Bolivians also sported some interesting headwear. Their next opponents were Brazil, definitely a case of 'come on you whites' as both teams bizarrely wore identical shirts for much of the first half. Bolivia swapped their shirts but their fortunes were unchanged, Brazil running out four nil winners.The tournament was over for Bolivia, still without an international win to their name. For their coach, Ulises Saucedo, however, there was more action to come, as he refereed the match between Argentina and Mexico!

Thanks to JK


Irish Teams in the FA Cup 1886-90

Reading up on the history of the FA Cup I could see that a team named 'Kildare' entered from 1879–80 to 1883-84, but despite the Irish sounding name this would appear to have been an English club .

But we do know for sure that Irish teams did enter the FA Cup from 1886-1890.

1886-87- The first Irish club to play in the FA Cup were Cliftonville. After a 2-2 draw away to Blackburn Park Road they won the replay 7-2.
In the second round they traveled to Great Lever. A 3-1 win saw them rewarded with a home draw in the 3rd round but Scotland's Partick Thistle proved too strong for them, running out 11-0 winners.


In the 1887-88 season 2 Irish sides entered, although Cliftonville didn't play, presenting opponents Church with a walk over in the first round.
 Distillery  lost 2-1 to Blackburn Park Road, but progressed to the 2nd round when the Blackburn outfit were disqualified. In the next round Distillery hosted Witton, who beat them 4-2.

1888-89  saw the introduction of qualifying rounds. In the 1st qualifying round Ulster received a walkover from Everton. 
In the 2nd qualifying round Ulster hosted fellow Irish side Linfield, who ran out 7-1 winners, whilst Cliftonville beat Belfast YMCA 5-0. 
In the 3rd qualifying round Cliftonville benefited from a walkover at the expense of Liverpool Stanley, Linfield enjoying a 4-0 home win over Bolton Wanderers.
In the 4th qualifying round the two surviving Irish teams were drawn together, and it took 3 matches to separate them. Following two 3-3 draws Linfield won the tie 7-0 on Christmas day.
In the 1st round proper Linfield drew 2-2 with Nottingham Forest (away) but withdrew before the replay.

In 1889-90 Distillery received a bye in the 2nd qualifying round, and a walk over against  Belfast YMCA in the 3rd qualifying round. Linfield entered in the 3rd qualifying round with a walk over against Belfast North End.

Linfield and Distillery played each other in the 4th qualifying round- Distillery won a replay 5-3 following a 3-3 draw. 
Distillery's reward was an away tie with Bolton Wanderers, which the English club won 10-2.  

Freemasons Tavern

 Freemasons Tavern , Great Queen Street, Lincolns Inn Fields.

The first version of the rules of Association Football was drawn up over a series of six meetings held in the Freemasons' Tavern,  October - December 1863.


Jack Powell

Jack Powell was a Welsh international who started his club career with Druids. He moved to Lancashire, joining Bolton Wanderers in 1883. Powell left Bolton after there were some problems with the FA regarding professionalism. He moved to Newton Heath and played for the Manchester side for five seasons (1886-1891), becoming club captain. 

History of the Queen's Park Football Club 1867 - 1917 - Richard Robinson (1920)

A great resource for anyone interested in the history of Scottish football and Queen's Park here:



Al Ahly 1911

The development of football in Egypt has a very familiar colonial feel to it.The earliest football was played by Europeans, mainly Britons ( though Kasr El-Nile Club, later known as  Zamalek, was founded by a Belgian in1911).
Then, as national consciousness and anti colonialism evolved more 'home grown' clubs, run by Egyptians for Egyptians, came into being.  For example, Al-Masry was the first club for Egyptians in Port Said, which was full of  clubs for the foreign communities
When, In 1917,  a national football league was begun, foreign military teams were also included.   The competition, Sultan Hussein Cup (1917) was won by British military teams for the first four seasons.
The Egyptian Football Association was established in 1921, but an Egyptian Select XI appeared at the 1920 Olympic games in Antwerp. The 16 man squad included 10 Al Ahly players.They beat Belgium 4-2 in a friendly and then lost 2-1 to Italy before beating Yugoslavia 4-2 in the consolation round.
The 1924 Olympics saw Egypt beat Hungary 3-0 before being tonked 5-0 by Sweden in the quarter finals.
These national teams featured Hussein Hegazi, formerly of Dulwich Hamlet and Fulham.

In the 1928 Olympics Egypt got off to a great start , wins against Turkey (7-1) and Portugal (2-1) putting them in the semi finals, where they lost  6-0 to Argentina. The bronze medal match was a catastrophe, Italy beating Egypt 11-3.

Egypt and Palestine captains Mahmoud Mokhtar  and Gedalyahu Fuchs 

 El-Tetsh (Mahmoud Mokhtar) in action against Palestine

In 1934 Egypt became the first African team to enter the world Cup. They got through to the finals by virtue of  7-1 ( Cairo) and 4-1 (Tel Aviv) victories over Palestine in the qualifying round. 

Egypt  steamed across the Med to Naples where they lost their only game to Hungary. Egypt were managed by a Scotsman, James McRea. Abdel Rahman Fawz became the first African to score in a World Cup finals.
Their goalkeeper, Mustafa Kamel Mansour, who later played for Glasgow side Queens Park, maintained until his death in 2002 that the Egyptians were robbed in this match. 

Egypt en route to Italy, 1934

Américo Tesoriere

Football in the 1920s was not the glamorous sport that it is today. However, there will always be special people who stand out from those around them. Américo Tesoriere, who could have been from the imagination of Jean Cocteau, was such a man. He first kept goal for Boca Juniors as a 17 year old in 1916, and went on to play 184 times for the club, winning 5 league titles. Tesoriere was also capped 38 times by Argentina- winning the Copa America in 1921 and 1925.

Hungary 1903

Unless I am greatly mistaken, a sporting goods advertisement, Budapest.


Retrospective Elo rankings 1873-1937

The Elo rating system, borrowed from chess, has been applied to international football since 1997. Of course, using the formulae, matches can also be analysed retrospectively, so we can see the Elo weighting of matches and ranking of countries at any point in the history of the international game.
Here I have attempted to trace the number one ranking from the second ever international match up until 1937.

1. England get number one ranking for the first victory in international football, a 4-2 win over Scotland at Kennington Oval, London on 8.3.1873. They hold on to the number one spot for 3 seasons...

2. Scotland take first place following a 3-0 win over England at West of Scotland Cricket Ground, Glasgow on 4.3.1876. They stay at the top for16 years...

Harry Daft- England captain, 1892

3. England's 2-0 win over Ireland at Belfast's Solitude ground on 5.3.1892 elevates them to first place, where they remain  until  29.2.1904, however, before Scotland's next fixture,(4.) England reclaim number one ranking the following month beating Ireland 3-1 in Belfast.

Denmark 1914

5. Denmark break the British hegemony, beating Netherlands 4-3 in Copenhagen 17.5.1914 puts them at number 1. they maintain this position for the majority of the 1914-18 period. They slip into (virtual) 2nd place on 16.6.1918, regaining top spot with a win over Sweden on        20.10.1918.

6. After most football is suspended during the war, England return to the top of the rankings when Denmark lose 3-2 to Norway (21.9.1919).

Netherlands 1920

7. On 5.4.1920 Netherlands beat Denmark 2-0 at to go top of the rankings.
Uruguay 1920

8. 25.7.1920 sees the  world number one ranking move outside Europe as Uruguay claim the honour with a  3-1 over Argentina in Buenos Aires.

9. A 5-4 win over Sweden in the Antwerp Olympics sees Netherlands return to the top on 29.8.1920.

Spain 1920

10. Seven days later in the same tournament the Netherlands lose 3-1 to new top seeds, Spain.

11. Later that month the title passed south of the Equator once more as Uruguay's 6-0 win over Brazil in a Copa America match in Chile placed them back at the top of the rankings on 18.9.1920.

12. Spain returned to top spot following a 2-0 home win over Belgium on 9.10.1921

13. 25.5.1924- Spain lose 1-0 to Italy in the Olympics at Colombes. Meanwhile, Argentina and Uruguay are playing each other simultaneously in two fixtures- they are 2nd and 3rd string Uruguayan teams as the main selection is in France for the Olympiad. However, they finish the day back at the top of the world rankings. They slip into virtual 2nd for 4 days in August 1925 following a surprise defeat at the hands of Paraguay, but effectively are world number ones until September 1925.

14.  27.9.1925Spain beat Austria 1-0 in Vienna to reclaim the top ranking.

15. 16.10.1926- In the Copa America at Chile Argentina move top after beating Bolivia 5-0.

16. Eight days later Uruguay beat Argentina 2-0 and replace them at the top of the rankings.

José Nasazzi and  Fernando Paternoster  1929

17. 16.6.1929- Argentina 2 Uruguay 0 at Buenos Aries.

18. 20.9.1929Uruguay 2 Argentina 1 at Montevideo.

Argentina 1929

19. 1929's Copa America saw another trans River Plate swap- on November 1st Uruguay lost 3-0 to Paraguay, putting Argentina back in first place in the Elo table. they retained this position despite being beaten by their neighbours in the final of the 1930 world Cup.

Austria 1934

20. No change until the Italy 1934 World Cup- on 27th May Argentina lost 3-2 to Sweden and Austria beat France 3-2 . Consequently Argentina and Austria traded places.

Italy 1934

21. June 3rd- Italy beat Austria 1-0 in the semi final of the world cup- Italy become the number one ranked team, and hold the position until the end of our era of interest and beyond...