Sheffield F.C.

Last updated

Sheffield FC.svg
Full nameSheffield Football Club
Nickname(s)The Club
Founded24 October 1857;163 years ago (24 October 1857)
GroundHome of Football Ground, Dronfield, Derbyshire
Capacity2,089 (250 seats) [1]
ChairmanRichard Tims
ManagerGavin Smith
League Northern Premier League Division One East
2020–21 Northern Premier League Division One South East (season curtailed)
Website Club website

Sheffield Football Club is an English football club from Sheffield, South Yorkshire, although now based in Dronfield, Derbyshire. They currently compete in the Northern Premier League Division One East. Founded in October 1857, [2] the club was recognised by FIFA as the oldest existing club still playing football in the world. [3] Sheffield FC initially played games under the Sheffield Rules and did not officially adopt the new FA rules until 1878.


The club competes in the Rules derby with near neighbours Hallam. In 2004 they were given the FIFA Order of Merit – an award given to only one other club; Real Madrid – and in 2007 they were inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame, to commemorate their 150th anniversary. [4]

On the pitch, the club's finest hour came in 1904 when they won the FA Amateur Cup, a competition conceived after a suggestion by Sheffield. They also finished as runners up of the FA Vase in 1977.


In 1855, members of a Sheffield cricket club organised informal kick-abouts without any official rules. [5] Subsequently, two members, Nathaniel Creswick and William Prest, formed the Sheffield Football Club. [2] [6]

Team of Sheffield F.C. of 1857, still playing under the "Sheffield Rules" Sheffield fc team 1857.jpg
Team of Sheffield F.C. of 1857, still playing under the "Sheffield Rules"

The inaugural meeting of the club took place on 24 October 1857 at Parkfield House in the suburb of Highfield. [7] The original headquarters was a greenhouse on East Bank Road lent by Thomas Asline Ward, father of the first club president Frederick Ward, and the adjacent field was used as their first playing ground. [8] Initially, Sheffield FC games were played among club members themselves and took the format of "Married v Singles" or "Professionals v the Rest".

"Laws for the guidance of playing members", as published in 1859 Sheffield Laws of football.jpg
"Laws for the guidance of playing members", as published in 1859

Creswick and Prest were responsible for drawing up the club's rules of play, which were decided upon at the club's AGM on 21 October 1858, and published the following year. [9] They were referred to as the Sheffield Rules, and were the first detailed set of rules of football to be published by a football club (as opposed to a school or university). At the time, before the formation of the Football Association (FA), many different kinds of football were popular in England. For example, each of the various public schools played football according to their own individual rules, and these varied widely. [10] The Sheffield Rules were later adopted by the Sheffield Football Association when it was formed in 1867. [11]

Sheffield's near neighbour, Hallam, was formed in 1860 and in the same year the two clubs first met each other in a local derby which is still contested today. [12] By 1862 there were 15 clubs in the Sheffield area. [13]

They became members of The Football Association on 30 November 1863 but continued to use their own set of rules. [5] On 2 January 1865, the club played its first fixture outside Sheffield against Nottingham, playing eighteen-a-side under Nottingham Rules. [14]

By this time the club had decided only to play teams outside Sheffield in order to seek a bigger challenge. On 31 March 1866, Sheffield played a "London" team under FA rules at Battersea Park. [15] The game, played as an eleven aside, was won by London by 2 goals and four touches down to nil. [16] However the matter of rules remained a problem with Sheffield clubs continuing to play by their own rules. A number of rule proposals by the club were rejected by the FA in February 1867 and the London Committee were reluctant to commit to further fixtures over Sheffield's refusal to play strictly to FA rules. Sheffield clubs finally adopted the FA rules in 1878. [17]

In 1873 the club entered the FA Cup for the first time, their first ever tie in the competition, against Shropshire Wanderers, being decided after a replay by a coin toss; the only time in the history of the competition that a tie has been decided in this way. [18] They would reach the 4th Round of the competition in 1877–78 and 1879–80. [19]

A Sheffield squad of 1876 Sheffield fc 1876.jpg
A Sheffield squad of 1876

Their reluctance to play against local clubs led to the formation of Thursday Wanderers in 1876, a team of players registered to Sheffield who wished to play in the Sheffield Challenge Cup. The Wanderers operated from 1876 to 1879, winning the cup in their final year. [20]

Sheffield's decline from the top echelon of football began with the introduction of professionalism in July 1885, with the amateurs of Sheffield failing to compete with professional teams, losing heavily that year to Aston Villa, Nottingham Forest and Notts County. After the legalisation of professionalism, the staunchly amateur Sheffield suggested to the FA the creation of a cup exclusively for amateur clubs. The FA Amateur Cup was inaugurated in 1893 [21] and Sheffield themselves won the competition in 1904.

They joined their first league competition in 1889 when entering the Midland League, but left after just one season when they finished bottom of the table. [22] They were also founder members of the original Yorkshire League in 1898, but again they spent just a single season in the competition.

After the turn of the century, Sheffield competed mainly in local leagues. By 1925–26 they were competing in the Sheffield Association League.

Brazilian legend Pele (left) in Sheffield in November 2007, marking the 150th anniversary of the world's oldest football club, Sheffield F.C. PeleSheffield.jpg
Brazilian legend Pelé (left) in Sheffield in November 2007, marking the 150th anniversary of the world's oldest football club, Sheffield F.C.

Fifty years after leaving the competition, the club rejoined the Yorkshire League, in 1949. Three years later they won promotion to Division One, but were relegated back to Division Two in 1954. They returned to the top flight at the first time of asking before entering their centenary year in 1957. Celebrations included games against the England B team at Hillsborough [24] and fellow amateur side Queen's Park F.C. at Bramall Lane. [25]

In 1961, Sheffield was relegated to Division Two again, only returning to the top flight again in 1967, and then only for one more season before another relegation. Three years later, in 1970, they were relegated again, to the newly formed Division Three. [22] Club would spend six seasons in the Yorkshire League's basement division, finishing as low as 10th in 1974. They finally started to turn their fortunes around in 1976 by returning to Division Two, and a year later they were crowned as Division Two champions to return to Division One. In the same season, Sheffield reached the final of the newly formed FA Vase. At Wembley stadium, they drew 1–1 with Billericay Town, before being beaten 1–2 in the replay at the City Ground in Nottingham.

When the Yorkshire League merged with the Midland League to form the Northern Counties East League (NCEL) in 1981, Sheffield were placed in Division One South of the new competition. They stayed in this division for three seasons before the league was restructured, with the club being reassigned to the newly formed Division One. In 1989 they won the Division One title, but they were relegated back again a year later because of their lack of floodlights.

Sheffield's 150th anniversary celebration match against Inter at Bramall Lane in 2007 Sheffield FC's 150th anniversary celebration match v Inter (11-09-2007).jpg
Sheffield's 150th anniversary celebration match against Inter at Bramall Lane in 2007

At the first time of asking Sheffield again won the Division One title, this time remaining in the NCEL Premier Division for 15 years. In 1994 the club won the Sheffield & Hallamshire Senior Cup for the first time, beating Worksop Town on penalties at Hillsborough. They would later win the trophy on a further four occasions throughout the 2010s.

2007 was a momentous year for Sheffield F.C. as they entered their 150th year. [23] They finished as runners-up in the league to secure promotion to the Northern Premier League (NPL) for the first time. In October 2007, FIFA president Sepp Blatter attended the club's anniversary dinner, and the following month the club played anniversary celebration matches against Internazionale and Ajax at Bramall Lane. [23] [26] Football legend Pelé was guest of honour at the first game and was introduced to the teams and the fans before the game. [27] The match ended 5–2 to Inter, with 18,741 supporters attending the match. Inter's side included World Cup winner Marco Materazzi and a young Mario Balotelli. As part of his visit, Pelé opened an exhibition which included the first public showing in 40 years of the original hand-written rules of football. [23]

Sheffield have reached the play-offs of the NPL Division One South on three occasions, but have so far failed to win promotion. In their first Division One South campaign in 2008 they reached the final, losing on penalties to Nantwich Town, before being knocked out in the semi-finals in 2010 and 2012. The club first played in the FA Trophy in 2007 after winning promotion to the NPL, but have so far failed to advance past the qualifying rounds.

Season-by-season record

  1. League play-off runners-up
  2. 1 2 3 League play-off semi-finalists


Notable former players

Famous players from the club's early days included Nathaniel Creswick and William Prest, who founded the club. Four Sheffield players have appeared for EnglandCharles Clegg, who played in the first international game against Scotland in 1872, [33] John Owen, in 1874, [34] Thomas Sorby, in 1879, and Jack Hudson, in 1883. [35]

In addition to the above, the following have played in the Football League either before or after playing for Sheffield:


Sheffield have played at a number of grounds around Sheffield. Initially they played at Strawberry Hall Lane Park. [9] However, like all of the early grounds they played at, it was not owned by the club. In the following years they would play at Old Forge ground and a ground near Hunter's Bar on Ecclesall Road. [36]

There was much reluctance from the owners of Bramall Lane to see the pitch used for football. They did not relent until a charity match between Sheffield and Hallam was suggested in late 1862. The ground was used by Sheffield for its more important fixtures but relations with the owners remained strained. They collapsed altogether in 1875 when the club vowed never to play at the ground again.

In 1921, Sheffield settled at the new Abbeydale Park ground. They moved to Hillsborough Park in 1988, [37] then to Owlerton Stadium and Don Valley Stadium.

The club bought the Coach & Horses ground in Dronfield in 2001, which was previously the home of Norton Woodseats F.C., a notable football team who reached the semi-finals of the FA Amateur Cup in 1939. It was the first time the club had owned its own ground. [38] The ground has a capacity of just over 2,000 with 250 seats in the stand behind the southern goal. [39]

In March 2019 it was revealed that Sheffield F.C was in talks with the Sheffield Transport Sports Club (STSC) to move the club back to its home city after plans to relocate to the Olive Grove sports ground in the Heeley district of Sheffield fell through in 2016. [40] [41] In March 2021 plans for the new stadium based at the STSC facility in the Meadowhead area of Sheffield were revealed. The proposed 4,000 person capacity stadium features a heritage centre celebrating the city’s role in football history. [42]

The club has played its FA Cup games at the following grounds –

1873/74 – 1883/84 Bramall Lane, Sheffield
1884/85 – 1888/89 Old Forge Ground, Attercliffe
1889/90 – 1896/97 Ecclesall Road, Sheffield
1897/98 – 1900/01 Owlerton Ground, Owlerton
1901/02 – ?Niagara Ground, Wadsley Bridge
2001/02 –Coach & Horses Ground, Dronfield



See also

Related Research Articles

Sheffield Wednesday F.C. Association football club

Sheffield Wednesday Football Club is a professional association football club based in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England. The team will compete in League One, the third tier of the English football league system, in the 2021–22 season after finishing 24th in the 2020–21 Championship. Formed in 1867 as an offshoot of The Wednesday Cricket Club, they went by the name of the Wednesday Football Club until changing to their current name in 1929.

Sheffield United F.C. Association football club

Sheffield United Football Club is a professional football club in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England, which competes in the Championship, the second tier of English football. They formed in 1889, as an offshoot of Sheffield United Cricket Club, and are nicknamed The Blades due to Sheffield's history of steel production. They have played home games at Bramall Lane since their formation.

Hallam F.C. Association football club in England

Hallam Football Club is an English football club based in Crosspool, Sheffield, South Yorkshire. They play in the Northern Counties East League Division One, at level 10 of the English football league system. Founded in 1860, it is second only to local rivals Sheffield F.C. in the list of the oldest association football clubs in the world. Games between these two clubs are known as the Rules derby.

Bramall Lane Football stadium in Sheffield, England

Bramall Lane is a football stadium in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England. It is the home of EFL Championship club Sheffield United. As the largest stadium in Sheffield during the 19th century, it hosted most of the city's most significant matches including the final of the world's first football tournament, first floodlit match and several matches between the Sheffield and London Football Associations that led to the unification of their respective rules. It was also used by Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield F.C. for major matches. It has been the home of Sheffield United since the club's establishment in 1889. It is the oldest major stadium in the world still to be hosting professional association football matches.

Sheffield Rules

The Sheffield Rules was a code of football devised and played in the English city of Sheffield between 1858 and 1877. The rules were initially created and revised by Sheffield Football Club, with responsibility for the laws passing to the Sheffield Football Association upon that body's creation in 1867. The rules spread beyond the city boundaries to other clubs and associations in the north and midlands of England, making them one of the most popular forms of football during the 1860s and 1870s.

Sport in Sheffield

Sheffield has a long history of involvement in sport. Although cricket was the first organised sport, it has gradually been supplanted by football. Both the main two local football teams grew out of cricket teams. Sheffield can claim many firsts in football the most famous one being Sheffield F.C. being the world's first and oldest football club. Today it has a club in every major team sport in England. Sheffield became the first UK National City of Sport in 1995 and is now home to the English Institute of Sport (EIS).

Guiseley A.F.C. Association football club in Guiseley, England

Guiseley Association Football Club is a football club based in Guiseley, West Yorkshire, England. They are currently members of the National League North, the sixth tier of English football, and play at Nethermoor Park.

Worksop Town F.C. Association football club in Worksop, England

Worksop Town Football Club is an English football club based in Worksop, Nottinghamshire. They currently play in the Northern Premier League Division One East. They are nicknamed the Tigers, and usually sport an amber and black home kit.

Tadcaster Albion A.F.C. Association football club in Tadcaster, England

Tadcaster Albion Association Football Club are an English football club based in Tadcaster, North Yorkshire, formed in 1892. Their ground is situated behind the John Smith's brewery in Tadcaster, thus the reason for their nickname "The Brewers". They compete in the Northern Premier League Division One East and are managed by Paul Quinn. Quinn was appointed in November 2019, and started his time at Tadcaster with a 2-0 league win at home to Droylsden.

Worsbrough Bridge Athletic F.C. Association football club in England

Worsbrough Bridge Athletic Football Club is an English association football club based in Worsbrough, Barnsley, South Yorkshire. They play in the Northern Counties East League Division One, at level 10 of the English football league system.

North Shields F.C. Association football club in England

North Shields Football Club is a football club based in North Shields, Tyne and Wear, England. They have reached the 1st round of the FA Cup twice in their history: in 1933–34 and 1982–83. Following their promotion from Northern League Division Two, they currently compete in Northern League Division One. They also won the FA Amateur Cup at Wembley in 1969, beating Sutton United. In the 2014–15 season, North Shields repeated their 1969 success by defeating Glossop North End at Wembley in the final of the FA Vase.

Kiveton Park F.C. Association football club in England

Kiveton Park Football Club is a football club based in Kiveton Park, South Yorkshire, England. They are currently members of the Sheffield & Hallamshire County Senior League Division One and play at Wales High School.

Denaby United F.C. Association football club in England

Denaby United Football Club is a football club based in Denaby, Doncaster, South Yorkshire, England. They are currently members of the Doncaster & District Senior League Premier Division.

The city of Leeds, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom, has several Football Clubs within its boundaries. Due to the popularity of rugby league almost all association football clubs in the city have the suffix "A.F.C." instead of the more prevalent "F.C." used in most of England, such as Leeds Woodville A.F.C. who were one of the earliest Victorian teams.

Thackley A.F.C. Association football club in England

Thackley A.F.C. are a football club based in Thackley, north Bradford, West Yorkshire, England. The club plays in the Northern Counties East League Premier Division.

William Prest English cricketer and footballer

William Prest was a cricketer and footballer born in York. He lived most his life in Sheffield where he went on to become co-founder of Sheffield Football Club and captained Sheffield Cricket Club. He was also involved with the formation of a local regiment, the Hallamshire Rifles, with which he served for most of his life.

Nathaniel Creswick

Sir Nathaniel Creswick was an English footballer who co-founded Sheffield FC, the oldest football club in the world, in 1857. With William Prest, he established the Sheffield Rules, which were highly influential upon the modern laws of association football. He was also a founder of the Hallamshire Rifles.

Bradford (Park Avenue) A.F.C. Association football club in Bradford, England

Bradford Association Football Club is a football club in Bradford, West Yorkshire, England. Its name, derived from its former home Park Avenue, was used to avoid confusion with Bradford City, but the club is traditionally known locally simply as Bradford.

The 1889–90 season was the first in existence for Sheffield United. Having not been elected to any organised league at that point they predominantly played friendly fixtures but did enter the FA Cup for the first time as well as locally arranged cup competitions The Sheffield Challenge Cup and the Wharncliffe Charity Cup. The club did not employ a manager in this period; tactics and team selection were decided by The Football Committee and the players were coached by a trainer. J.B. Wostinholm held the position of club secretary, dealing with player transfers and contracts, arranging matches and dealing with the FA. The first season was deemed a reasonable success with steady attendances to home games and progress in the FA Cup although the fluctuating nature of the team meant that consistency was never really achieved.

Frecheville Community Association Football Club was a football club based in Frecheville, Sheffield, South Yorkshire.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Sheffield Non-League Club Directory
  2. 1 2 7 OLDEST FOOTBALL CLUBS: WHERE ARE THEY NOW? by Alfie Potts Harmer on HITC website, 2019
  3. Sheffield FC: Over 150 years of history on FIFA, 24 Oct 2007
  4. "FIFA marks Sheffield FC's anniversary". FIFA. Archived from the original on 4 September 2018. Retrieved 24 May 2020.
  5. 1 2 Young, Percy (1964). Football in Sheffield. S. Paul.
  6. Guardian Staff (23 December 2006). "Letters: Sheffield FC forged the modern game". The Guardian. ISSN   0261-3077 . Retrieved 26 February 2020.
  7. Farnsworth, Keith (1995). Sheffield Football:A History – Volume 1 1857–1961. The Hallamshire Press. pp. 21–22.
  8. Hutton, Steven; Curry, Graham; Goodman, Peter (2007). Sheffield Football Club: 150 years of Football. At Heart Limited. p. 50. ISBN   978-1-84547-174-3.
  9. 1 2 Murphy, Brendan (2007). From Sheffield with Love. SportsBooks Limited. ISBN   978-1-899807-56-7.
  10. Harvey, Adrian (2005). Football, the First Hundred Years. Routledge. p. 98. ISBN   0-415-35019-0.
  11. "History of the Rules of Football – THE PLOUGH COMMUNITY PUB COMPANY LIMITED" . Retrieved 5 March 2020.
  12. "Oldest football teams in derby match". BBC News. 27 July 2013. Retrieved 26 February 2020.
  13. Slade, Michael J. (November 2013). The History of the English Football League: Part One--1888-1930. Strategic Book Publishing. p. 100. ISBN   978-1-62516-183-3.
  14. Sheffield FC - Celebrating 50 Years. At Heart Ltd. 2007. p. 30. ISBN   978-1-84547-174-3.
  15. Brown, Paul (29 May 2013). The Victorian Football Miscellany. Superelastic. p. 48. ISBN   978-0-9562270-5-8.
  16. "How the Football Association was founded". Outside Write. 2 September 2018. Retrieved 5 March 2020.
  17. Sharp, Will (12 February 2019). "Sheffield FC: the oldest football club in the world". These Football Times. Retrieved 26 February 2020.
  18. Collett, Mike (2003). The Complete Record of The FA Cup. p. 537. ISBN   1-899807-19-5.
  19. Sheffield WildStat
  20. A. Drake. "Thursday Wanderers". Retrieved 30 June 2012
  21. Slade, Michael J. (November 2013). The History of the English Football League: Part One--1888-1930. Strategic Book Publishing. p. 105. ISBN   978-1-62516-183-3.
  22. 1 2 Sheffield Football Club History Database
  23. 1 2 3 4 "Pelé joins Sheffield celebrations". BBC. 24 June 2015.
  24. The B Team England Football Online
  25. Sheffield Football Club Centenary Fixture 1957 FootySphere
  26. Ajax Archived 6 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine Sheffield FC
  27. "BBC – South Yorkshire – In Pictures – Sheffield FC 2–5 Inter Milan". BBC.
  28. 1 2 Sheffield FC Ex-players Sheffield FC
  29. Meet The New Gaffer Sheffield FC
  30. Former Huddersfield Town manager Mick Wadsworth takes charge of Sheffield FC The Huddersfield Daily Examiner
  31. "Gav's the man at the helm". Sheffield F.C. Official Site. 14 May 2018. Retrieved 4 June 2018.
  32. Sir John Charles Clegg
  33. John Owen England Football Online
  34. John Hudson
  35. Walters, Fred (1957). The History of Sheffield Football Club.
  36. Sheffield F.C.: celebrating 150 years of the world's first football club, pp.52–53
  37. "Club buy first ground in 150 years". Sheffield F.C. Archived from the original on 16 July 2011.
  39. "World's oldest football club Sheffield FC eyes new site for homecoming". Retrieved 8 February 2020.
  40. "Homecoming bid by football's founder". BBC News. 24 July 2015. Retrieved 8 February 2020.
  41. "First look at proposed new Sheffield FC stadium to finally mark the 'home of football'". Retrieved 2 March 2021.

Coordinates: 53°18′35″N1°28′42″W / 53.309814°N 1.47839°W / 53.309814; -1.47839