Ebenezer Cobb Morley

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Ebenezer Cobb Morley
Born(1831-08-16)16 August 1831
Died20 November 1924(1924-11-20) (aged 93)
Resting place Barnes, Richmond, London, England
Occupation Solicitor
Spouse(s)Frances Bidgood
Parent(s)Ebenezer Morley and Hannah Maria [1]

Ebenezer Cobb Morley (16 August 1831 – 20 November 1924) was an English sportsman and is regarded as the father of the Football Association (FA) and modern football.

The Football Association governing body of association football in England

The Football Association (FA) is the governing body of association football in England, the Crown dependencies of Jersey, Guernsey, and the Isle of Man. Formed in 1863, it is the oldest football association in the world and is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the amateur and professional game in its territory.

Association football Team field sport

Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a team sport played with a spherical ball between two teams of eleven players. It is played by 250 million players in over 200 countries and dependencies, making it the world's most popular sport. The game is played on a rectangular field called a pitch with a goal at each end. The object of the game is to score by moving the ball beyond the goal line into the opposing goal.

Morley was born at 10 Garden Square, Princess Street [2] in Hull [3] and lived in the city until he was 22. [2]

Kingston upon Hull City and Unitary authority in England

Kingston upon Hull, usually abbreviated to Hull, is a port city and unitary authority in the East Riding of Yorkshire, England. It lies upon the River Hull at its confluence with the Humber Estuary, 25 miles (40 km) inland from the North Sea, with a population of 260,700 (mid-2017 est.). Hull lies east of Leeds, east southeast of York and northeast of Sheffield.

Morley qualified as a lawyer in 1854, and in 1858 he moved to the London suburb of Barnes to practice as a solicitor in the capital. [3] He founded Barnes Football Club in 1862. [3] In 1863, as captain of the Mortlake-based club, he wrote to Bell's Life newspaper proposing a governing body for the sport. This led to the first meeting of the FA at Freemasons' Tavern, on October 26th, 1863. At this meeting, Morley was elected the first secretary of the association. [4] He created the first draft of the rules, that were considered on the FA meeting of November 10th of that year. It was Morley, along with John Alcock and Arthur Pember, who led the move to eliminate rugby-style carrying of the ball and "hacking" (kicking opponents' shins) from the draft rules before they were published in December 1863. [5]

Barnes, London District in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, England

Barnes is a district in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames. It takes up the extreme northeast of the borough. It is centred 5.3 miles (8.5 km) west south-west of Charing Cross in a bend of the River Thames.

A solicitor is a legal practitioner who traditionally deals with most of the legal matters in some jurisdictions. A person must have legally-defined qualifications, which vary from one jurisdiction to another, to be described as a solicitor and enabled to practise there as such. For example, in England and Wales a solicitor is admitted to practise under the provisions of the Solicitors Act 1974. With some exceptions, practising solicitors must possess a practising certificate. There are many more solicitors than barristers in England; they undertake the general aspects of giving legal advice and conducting legal proceedings.

Barnes Football Club was an association football club of great importance in the development of the game in the nineteenth century.

Morley continued to serve as FA secretary until 1866. He resigned as secretary that year on account of the demands of his business, but subsequently served as that body's second president, from 1867 to 1874. [3]

As a player, he played in the first ever match under FA rules, against Richmond in 1863, and also scored for London in the London v Sheffield match held on 31 March 1866.

Richmond F.C. rugby union club from Richmond, London, England

Richmond Football Club is a rugby union club from Richmond, London. It is a founding member of the Rugby Football Union, and is one of the oldest football clubs. It fields teams in both men's and women's rugby, with the men's first team recently promoted into the RFU Championship, and the women's first team playing in the women's premiership.

London v. Sheffield was an association football game played on 31 March 1866. According to Charles Alcock, it was the "first [match] of any importance under the auspices of the Football Association".

A solicitor by profession, Morley was a keen oarsman, founding the Barnes and Mortlake Regatta for which he was also secretary (1862–1880). He was also a keen fox hunter, keeping his own pack of beagles. [3] He served on Surrey County Council for Barnes (1903–1919) and was a Justice of the Peace. Morley is buried [6] in Barnes Cemetery, a now abandoned graveyard on Barnes Common, Barnes. He had no children. [6]

Rowing (sport) Sport where individuals or teams row boats by oar

Rowing, often referred to as crew in the United States, is a sport whose origins reach back to Ancient Egyptian times. It involves propelling a boat on water using oars. By pushing against the water with an oar, a force is generated to move the boat. The sport can be either recreational for enjoyment or fitness, or competitive, when athletes race against each other in boats. There are a number of different boat classes in which athletes compete, ranging from an individual shell to an eight-person shell with a coxswain.

Regatta series of boat races

A regatta is a series of boat races. The term comes from the Venetian language regata meaning "contest" and typically describes racing events of rowed or sailed water craft, although some powerboat race series are also called regattas. A regatta often includes social and promotional activities which surround the racing event, and except in the case of boat type championships, is usually named for the town or venue where the event takes place.

Fox hunting dog sport, hunting

Fox hunting is an activity involving the tracking, chase and, if caught, the killing of a fox, traditionally a red fox, by trained foxhounds or other scent hounds, and a group of unarmed followers led by a "master of foxhounds", who follow the hounds on foot or on horseback.

The house at which Morley created the first draft of the FA's laws (No 26 The Terrace) carried a blue plaque to Morley. It subsequently collapsed "like a tower of cards" in November 2015 during building work. [7] [8]

Morley was the subject of a Google Doodle on 16 August 2018, the 187th anniversary of his birth. [9]

The grave of Ebenezer Cobb Morley in Barnes Cemetery, with a wreath commemorating 150 years of the FA. Ebenezer Cobb Morley grave Barnes.jpg
The grave of Ebenezer Cobb Morley in Barnes Cemetery, with a wreath commemorating 150 years of the FA.

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  1. "Findings on Ebenezer Cobb Morley (1831-1924)". The FA. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 December 2015.
  2. 1 2 "Memorial to FA founder Ebenezer Cobb Morley". Hull Daily Mail. 6 February 2010. Retrieved 22 October 2013.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 Butler, Bryon (January 2009). "Morley, Ebenezer Cobb (1831–1924)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 9 August 2009.
  4. "Meeting of Captains". Bell's Life in London: 10. 1863-10-31.
  5. "The Football Association". Bell's Life in London: 6. 1863-11-28.
  6. 1 2 Rudd, Alyson (7 April 2008). "The father of football deserves much more". London: Times Online. Retrieved 1 May 2010.
  7. "Mansion that belonged to singer Duffy and former Phones 4U boss collapses". The Daily Telegraph . 26 November 2015. Retrieved 16 August 2017.
  8. Dyduch, Amy (14 May 2013). "Search for founding fathers of football proves fruitless". Richmond and Twickenham Times . Retrieved 29 September 2016.
  9. "Google honours the 'father of football'". news.com.au . 16 August 2018. Retrieved 16 August 2018.