British Home Championship

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British Home Championship
Trophy British International Championship.svg
Founded1884
Abolished1984
Region British Isles
Number of teams4
Last championsUlster Banner.svg  Northern Ireland (1983–84)
Most successful team(s)Flag of England.svg  England (54 titles)

The British Home Championship [a] (historically known as the British International Championship or simply the International Championship) was an annual football competition contested between the United Kingdom's four national teams: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland (the last of whom competed as Ireland for most of the competition's history). Starting during the 1883–84 season, it is the oldest international association football tournament [1] and it was contested until the 1983–84 season, when it was abolished after 100 years.

Contents

History

The first international association football match, between Scotland and England, took place in November 1872. Following that contest, a schedule of international matches between the four home nations gradually developed, the games taking place between January and April of each year. In 1884, for the first time, all six possible matches were played. This schedule continued without interruption until the First World War.

Development of the international football calendar
YearEngland v ScotlandScotland v WalesEngland v WalesEngland v IrelandWales v IrelandScotland v Ireland
1871
1872November
1873March
1874March
1875March
1876MarchMarch
1877MarchMarch
1878MarchMarch
1879AprilAprilJanuary
1880MarchMarchMarch
1881MarchMarchFebruary
1882MarchMarchMarchFebruaryFebruary
1883MarchMarchFebruaryFebruaryMarch
1884MarchMarchMarchFebruaryFebruaryJanuary
1885MarchMarchMarchFebruaryAprilMarch

Recognition of the international season as constituting a single tournament came slowly. Early reports focused on the rivalries between the two teams in each match, rather than any overall title. [2] Talk of a "championship" began to emerge gradually during the 1890s, [3] [4] with some writers suggesting the use of a league table between the nations, with 2 points for a win and 1 point for a draw (as had been in use for the Football League since 1888). [5] [6] By 1908, we find a published list of "International Champions" extending all the way back to 1884. [7]

The championship, although increasingly recognized as such, had no official prize until 1935 (see below), when a trophy for the "British International Championship" was created in honour of the silver jubilee of King George V. [8]

The dates of the fixtures varied, but they tended to bunch towards the end of the season (sometimes the entire competition was held in a few days at the end of the season), except between the World Wars, when some fixtures were played before Christmas. The rise of other international competitions, especially the World Cup and European Championships, meant that the British Home Championship lost a lot of its prestige as the years went on.

However, the new international tournaments meant that the Championship took on added importance in certain years. The 1949–50 and 1953–54 Championships doubled up as qualifying groups for the 1950 and 1954 World Cups respectively and the results of the 1966–67 and 1967–68 Championships were used to determine who went forward to the second qualifying round of Euro '68.

The British Home Championship was discontinued after the 1983–84 competition. There were a number of reasons for the tournament's demise, including it being overshadowed by the World Cup and European Championships, falling attendances at all but the England v Scotland games, fixture congestion, the rise of hooliganism, the Troubles in Northern Ireland (civil unrest led to the 1980–81 competition being abandoned), and England's desire to play against 'stronger' teams. The fate of the competition was settled when the (English) Football Association, swiftly followed by the Scottish Football Association, announced in 1983 that they would not be entering after the 1983–84 Championship. The British Home Championship trophy remains the property of the Irish FA, as Northern Ireland were the most recent champions.

The Championship was replaced by the smaller Rous Cup, which involved just England, Scotland and, in later years, an invited guest team from South America. That competition, however, ended after just five years.

Since then, there have been many proposals to resurrect the British Home Championship, with advocates pointing to rising attendances and a significant downturn in football-related violence. The Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish football associations are keen on the idea, but the English association are less enthusiastic, claiming that they agree in principle, but that fixture congestion makes a revived tournament impractical.

Therefore, the Scottish Football Association, the Football Association of Wales and the Irish Football Association, with the Republic of Ireland's Football Association of Ireland, pressed ahead and organised a tournament similar to the British Home Championship. The Nations Cup, between Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, was launched in Dublin in 2011. It was discontinued after one tournament because of poor attendance. [9]

Format and rules

Early example of a printed league table showing the final positions of the teams (Dundee Courier, 1895-96) Results of Previous Matches (Dundee Courier) 1896-04-06.png
Early example of a printed league table showing the final positions of the teams (Dundee Courier, 1895-96)

Each team played every other team once (making for a total of three matches per team and six matches in total). Generally, each team played either one or two matches at home and the remainder away, with home advantage between two teams alternating each year (so if England played Scotland at home one year, they played them away the next).

A team received two points for a win, one for a draw and none for a loss. From these points, a league table was constructed and whoever was top at the end of the competition was declared the winner. If two or more teams were equal on points, that position in the league table was shared (as was the Championship if it occurred between the top teams). In 1956, all four teams finished level on points and for the only time the Championship was shared four ways. From the 1978–79 Championship onwards, however, goal difference (total goals scored minus total goals conceded) was used to differentiate between teams level on points. If goal difference could still not separate them, then total goals scored was used.

Trophy

Early editions of the tournament had no trophy. In 1935, a trophy was presented to King George V by the Football Association in recognition of the monarch's silver jubilee. [8] It was first awarded, as the "Jubilee Trophy", to Scotland, victors of the 1935-36 competition. [10] The trophy was of solid silver, consisting of a pedestal supporting a football surmounted by a winged figure. It bore the words "British International Championship". [8]

Notable moments

1902: Tragedy at Ibrox

The Scotland v England match of 5 April 1902 became known as the Ibrox Disaster of 1902. The match took place at Ibrox Park (now Ibrox Stadium) in Glasgow. During the first half, a section of the terracing in the overcrowded West Stand collapsed, killing 25 and injuring over 500. Play was stopped, but was restarted after 20 minutes, with most of the crowd not knowing what had happened. The match was later declared void and replayed at Villa Park, Birmingham.

1950: World Cup qualification

The 1950 British Home Championship was used as a qualification group for the 1950 FIFA World Cup, with the teams finishing both first and second qualifying. England and Scotland were guaranteed the top two places and World Cup qualification with one match to go, when the Scottish Football Association declared that it would only go to the 1950 World Cup if they were the British champions. Scotland played England at Hampden Park on 15 April in the final game and lost 1–0 to a goal by Chelsea's Roy Bentley. Scotland finished second and withdrew from what would have been their first-ever World Cup appearance.

1967: Scotland become 'Unofficial World Champions'

The 1966–67 British Home Championship was the first since England's victory at the World Cup 1966. Naturally, England were favourites for the Championship title. In the end, the outcome of the entire Championship rested on the final game: England v Scotland at Wembley Stadium in London on 15 April. If England won or drew, they would win the Championship; if Scotland won, they would triumph. Scotland beat the World Cup winners 3–2. The match was followed by a large, but relatively harmless, pitch invasion by the jubilant Scottish fans, who were quick to waggishly declare Scotland the 'World Champions', as the game was England's first defeat since winning the World Cup. The Scots' joke ultimately led to the conception of the Unofficial Football World Championships.

1977: Wembley pitch invasion

Again, the 1976–77 Championship came down to the final game between England and Scotland at Wembley on 4 June. Scotland won the game 2–1, making them champions. As in 1967, a pitch invasion by the overjoyed Scottish fans followed, but this time vandalism ensued: the pitch was ripped up (although it was going to be relaid after the game) and taken back to Scotland in small pieces to be laid in back gardens, along with one of the broken crossbars. [11]

1981: the unfinished Championship

The Troubles in Northern Ireland had affected the British Home Championship before, with things turning so hostile that Northern Ireland often had to play their 'home' games in Liverpool or Glasgow. The entire 1980–81 Championship was held in May 1981, which coincided with a large amount of civil unrest in Northern Ireland surrounding the hunger strike in the Maze Prison. Northern Ireland's two home matches, against England and Wales, were not moved, so both teams refused to travel to Belfast to play. As not all the matches were completed, that year's competition was declared void with no winner; only Scotland completed all their matches. It was the only time in the Championship's history, apart from during World War I and World War II, that it was not awarded.

1984: The final Championship

The Home Championships came to an end, with England and Scotland announcing that the 1983–84 British Home Championship would be their last. They cited waning interest in the games, crowded international fixture lists and a sharp rise in hooliganism for their decision. The final match of the Championship was held at Hampden Park between Scotland and England in which the winners of the game would win the final Championship. The match ended in a 1–1 draw, allowing Northern Ireland to win the Championship on goal difference after all the teams ended on three points each; Wales came second on goals scored.

List of winners

YearChampionsSecondThirdFourth
1883–84 Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland Flag of England.svg  England Flag of Wales (1807-1953).svg  Wales Saint Patrick's Saltire.svg  Ireland
1884–85
1885–86 Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland / Flag of England.svg  England
1886–87 Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland Flag of England.svg  England Saint Patrick's Saltire.svg  Ireland Flag of Wales (1807-1953).svg  Wales
1887–88 Flag of England.svg  England Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland Flag of Wales (1807-1953).svg  Wales Saint Patrick's Saltire.svg  Ireland
1888–89 Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland Flag of England.svg  England
1889–90 Flag of England.svg  England / Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland
1890–91 Flag of England.svg  England Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland Saint Patrick's Saltire.svg  Ireland Flag of Wales (1807-1953).svg  Wales
1891–92 Saint Patrick's Saltire.svg  Ireland / Flag of Wales (1807-1953).svg  Wales
1892–93 Saint Patrick's Saltire.svg  Ireland Flag of Wales (1807-1953).svg  Wales
1893–94 Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland Flag of England.svg  England Flag of Wales (1807-1953).svg  Wales Saint Patrick's Saltire.svg  Ireland
1894–95 Flag of England.svg  England Flag of Wales (1807-1953).svg  Wales / Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland
1895–96 Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland Flag of England.svg  England Flag of Wales (1807-1953).svg  Wales
1896–97 Saint Patrick's Saltire.svg  Ireland Flag of Wales (1807-1953).svg  Wales
1897–98 Flag of England.svg  England Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland
1898–99
1899–1900 Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland Flag of Wales (1807-1953).svg  Wales / Flag of England.svg  England Saint Patrick's Saltire.svg  Ireland
1900–01 Flag of England.svg  England Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland Flag of Wales (1807-1953).svg  Wales
1901–02 Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland Flag of England.svg  England Saint Patrick's Saltire.svg  Ireland Flag of Wales (1807-1953).svg  Wales
1902–03 Flag of England.svg  England / Saint Patrick's Saltire.svg  Ireland / Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland
1903–04 Flag of England.svg  England Saint Patrick's Saltire.svg  Ireland Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland / Flag of Wales (1807-1953).svg  Wales
1904–05 Flag of Wales (1807-1953).svg  Wales Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland / Saint Patrick's Saltire.svg  Ireland
1905–06 Flag of England.svg  England / Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland Flag of Wales (1807-1953).svg  Wales Saint Patrick's Saltire.svg  Ireland
1906–07 Flag of Wales (1807-1953).svg  Wales Flag of England.svg  England Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland
1907–08 Flag of England.svg  England / Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland Saint Patrick's Saltire.svg  Ireland Flag of Wales (1807-1953).svg  Wales
1908–09 Flag of England.svg  England Flag of Wales (1807-1953).svg  Wales Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland Saint Patrick's Saltire.svg  Ireland
1909–10 Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland Flag of England.svg  England / Saint Patrick's Saltire.svg  Ireland Flag of Wales (1807-1953).svg  Wales
1910–11 Flag of England.svg  England Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland Flag of Wales (1807-1953).svg  Wales Saint Patrick's Saltire.svg  Ireland
1911–12 Flag of England.svg  England / Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland Saint Patrick's Saltire.svg  Ireland Flag of Wales (1807-1953).svg  Wales
1912–13 Flag of England.svg  England Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland / Flag of Wales (1807-1953).svg  Wales Saint Patrick's Saltire.svg  Ireland
1913–14 Saint Patrick's Saltire.svg  Ireland Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland Flag of England.svg  England Flag of Wales (1807-1953).svg  Wales
1914–19Not held due to the First World War
1919–20 Flag of Wales (1807-1953).svg  Wales Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland / Flag of England.svg  England Saint Patrick's Saltire.svg  Ireland
1920–21 Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland Flag of Wales (1807-1953).svg  Wales / Flag of England.svg  England
1921–22 Flag of Wales (1807-1953).svg  Wales / Flag of England.svg  England
1922–23 Flag of England.svg  England Saint Patrick's Saltire.svg  Ireland Flag of Wales (1807-1953).svg  Wales
1923–24 Flag of Wales (1807-1953).svg  Wales Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland Flag of England.svg  England
1924–25 Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland Flag of England.svg  England Flag of Wales (1807-1953).svg  Wales / Saint Patrick's Saltire.svg  Ireland
1925–26 Saint Patrick's Saltire.svg  Ireland Flag of Wales (1807-1953).svg  Wales Flag of England.svg  England
1926–27 Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland / Flag of England.svg  England Flag of Wales (1807-1953).svg  Wales / Saint Patrick's Saltire.svg  Ireland
1927–28 Flag of Wales (1807-1953).svg  Wales Saint Patrick's Saltire.svg  Ireland Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland Flag of England.svg  England
1928–29 Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland Flag of England.svg  England Flag of Wales (1807-1953).svg  Wales / Saint Patrick's Saltire.svg  Ireland
1929–30 Flag of England.svg  England Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland Saint Patrick's Saltire.svg  Ireland Flag of Wales (1807-1953).svg  Wales
1930–31 Flag of England.svg  England / Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland Flag of Wales (1807-1953).svg  Wales Saint Patrick's Saltire.svg  Ireland
1931–32 Flag of England.svg  England Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland Saint Patrick's Saltire.svg  Ireland Flag of Wales (1807-1953).svg  Wales
1932–33 Flag of Wales (1807-1953).svg  Wales Flag of England.svg  England Saint Patrick's Saltire.svg  Ireland
1933–34 Flag of Wales (1807-1953).svg  Wales Flag of England.svg  England Saint Patrick's Saltire.svg  Ireland Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland
1934–35 Flag of England.svg  England / Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland Flag of Wales (1807-1953).svg  Wales / Saint Patrick's Saltire.svg  Ireland
1935–36 Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland Flag of Wales (1807-1953).svg  Wales / Flag of England.svg  England Saint Patrick's Saltire.svg  Ireland
1936–37 Flag of Wales (1807-1953).svg  Wales Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland Flag of England.svg  England
1937–38 Flag of England.svg  England Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland / Saint Patrick's Saltire.svg  Ireland Flag of Wales (1807-1953).svg  Wales
1938–39 Flag of England.svg  England / Flag of Wales (1807-1953).svg  Wales / Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland Saint Patrick's Saltire.svg  Ireland
1939–45Not held due to the Second World War
(1945–46
unofficial)
Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland Saint Patrick's Saltire.svg  Ireland / Flag of England.svg  England / Flag of Wales (1807-1953).svg  Wales
1946–47 Flag of England.svg  England Saint Patrick's Saltire.svg  Ireland Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland / Flag of Wales (1807-1953).svg  Wales
1947–48 Flag of Wales (1807-1953).svg  Wales Saint Patrick's Saltire.svg  Ireland Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland
1948–49 Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland Flag of England.svg  England Flag of Wales (1807-1953).svg  Wales Saint Patrick's Saltire.svg  Ireland
1949–50 Flag of England.svg  England Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland Flag of Wales (1807-1953).svg  Wales / Saint Patrick's Saltire.svg  Ireland
1950–51 Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland Flag of England.svg  England Flag of Wales (1807-1953).svg  Wales Ulster Banner.svg  Ireland
1951–52 Flag of Wales (1807-1953).svg  Wales / Flag of England.svg  England Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland
1952–53 Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland / Flag of England.svg  England Flag of Wales (1953-1959).svg  Wales / Ulster Banner.svg  Ireland
1953–54 Flag of England.svg  England Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland Ulster Banner.svg  Ireland Flag of Wales (1953-1959).svg  Wales
1954–55 Flag of Wales (1953-1959).svg  Wales Ulster Banner.svg  Ireland
1955–56 Flag of England.svg  England / Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland / Flag of Wales (1953-1959).svg  Wales / Ulster Banner.svg  Ireland
1956–57 Flag of England.svg  England Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland Flag of Wales (1953-1959).svg  Wales / Ulster Banner.svg  Northern Ireland
1957–58 Flag of England.svg  England / Ulster Banner.svg  Northern Ireland Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland / Flag of Wales (1953-1959).svg  Wales
1958–59 Ulster Banner.svg  Northern Ireland / Flag of England.svg  England Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland Flag of Wales (1953-1959).svg  Wales
1959–60 Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland / Flag of England.svg  England / Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg  Wales Ulster Banner.svg  Northern Ireland
1960–61 Flag of England.svg  England Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg  Wales Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland
1961–62 Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland Flag of England.svg  England
1962–63 Flag of England.svg  England Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg  Wales
1963–64 Flag of England.svg  England / Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland / Ulster Banner.svg  Northern Ireland Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg  Wales
1964–65 Flag of England.svg  England Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg  Wales Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland Ulster Banner.svg  Northern Ireland
1965–66 Ulster Banner.svg  Northern Ireland Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg  Wales
1966–67 Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland Flag of England.svg  England Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg  Wales Ulster Banner.svg  Northern Ireland
1967–68 Flag of England.svg  England Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg  Wales / Ulster Banner.svg  Northern Ireland
1968–69 Ulster Banner.svg  Northern Ireland Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg  Wales
1969–70 Flag of England.svg  England / Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg  Wales / Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland Ulster Banner.svg  Northern Ireland
1970–71 Flag of England.svg  England Ulster Banner.svg  Northern Ireland Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg  Wales Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland
1971–72 Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland / Flag of England.svg  England Ulster Banner.svg  Northern Ireland Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg  Wales
1972–73 Flag of England.svg  England Ulster Banner.svg  Northern Ireland Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland
1973–74 Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland / Flag of England.svg  England Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg  Wales / Ulster Banner.svg  Northern Ireland
1974–75 Flag of England.svg  England Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland Ulster Banner.svg  Northern Ireland Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg  Wales
1975–76 Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland Flag of England.svg  England Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg  Wales Ulster Banner.svg  Northern Ireland
1976–77 Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg  Wales Flag of England.svg  England
1977–78 Flag of England.svg  England Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland
1978–79
1979–80 Ulster Banner.svg  Northern Ireland Flag of England.svg  England Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg  Wales Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland
1980–81 Abandoned due to civil unrest in Northern Ireland
1981–82 Flag of England.svg  England Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg  Wales Ulster Banner.svg  Northern Ireland
1982–83 Ulster Banner.svg  Northern Ireland Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg  Wales
1983–84 Ulster Banner.svg  Northern Ireland Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg  Wales Flag of England.svg  England Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland

Total wins

TeamWins totalWins outrightShared wins
Flag of England.svg  England 543420
Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland 4124*17
Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg  Wales 1275
Saint Patrick's Saltire.svg  Ireland
Ulster Banner.svg  Northern Ireland
835

* Does not include the British Victory Home Championship in 1945–46 or the 1980–81 Championship where Scotland was on top when tournament was cancelled due to civil unrest in Northern Ireland.

All-time top goalscorers

RankNameTeamGoals
1 Flag of England.svg Steve Bloomer England 22
2 Flag of Scotland.svg Hughie Gallacher Scotland 21
3 Flag of England.svg Jimmy Greaves England 16
4 Flag of Scotland.svg Robert Hamilton Scotland 15
5 Flag of England.svg Vivian Woodward England 14
6 Flag of Wales (1953-1959).svg John Charles Wales 13
Flag of Scotland.svg Andrew Wilson Scotland 13
8 Flag of England.svg Stan Mortensen England 9
Flag of Wales (1953-1959).svg Billy Meredith Wales 9
Flag of Wales (1953-1959).svg Grenville Morris Wales 9
11 Flag of England.svg Nat Lofthouse England 8

See also

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References

  1. though not the oldest in all codes of football; the Home Nations Championship in rugby is one year older
  2. For example:
    • "Scotland v England". Leeds Mercury: 3. 7 April 1890. describes the decisive 1890 Scotland v England match only as the "last international match of the season".
    • "Friendly Matches: England v. Scotland". Lichfield Mercury: 3. 10 April 1891. describes the decisive 1891 England v Scotland match as a "friendly".
    • Hazell's Annual for 1892. London: Hazell, Watson & Viney. 1892. p. 276. Altogether England had an exceptionally successful season, winning all three matches, but especial care was taken that no chance of turning the tables on Scotland should be lost
  3. "Scotland v. England". Sheffield and Rotherham Independent: 7. 4 April 1892. [O]n the result of the match in question the championship depended
  4. "Nottingham and General". Nottingham Evening Post: 2. 7 April 1894. England and Scotland will meet on Saturday to play for the international championship
  5. "Football". The Sketch: 44. 3 April 1895.
  6. "Results of Previous Matches". Dundee Courier: 6. 6 April 1896.
  7. Sport and Athletics in 1908. London: Chapman and Hall. 1908. p. 241.
  8. 1 2 3 "British Home Championship Trophy, 1935" . Retrieved 15 July 2019.
  9. 4 Associations Tournament Announced for Dublin 2011 Football Association of Ireland, 18 September 2008
  10. "Jubilee Trophy for Scotland". Western Daily Press: 4. 6 April 1936.
  11. "Recalling Scotland's famous Wembley win in 1977". Mail Online. Retrieved 13 June 2017.

Notes

a. ^ Name of the Home Championship in the languages of participating countries:

  1. http://www.s4c.cymru/sgorio/hanes/chwefror16/