The Origins of Football

The origins of football can be traced back to the 13th and the 14th century and English football particularly goes back to the 15th century. Evidence reveals that games similar to football were played in English schools since the start of the 15th century. Moreover, a game that closely resembled the sport was being played in Nottinghamshire in the 15th century.

England has a long history associated to the sport. Football has become a part of the British values and culture. Hence, football was not only also developed and codified in England but it is also the national sport of England. English documented the word “football” in the year 1409 and England is also home to some of the oldest football clubs in the world. These football clubs date back to the mid-18th century.

Perhaps, one of the most important historical memorials that celebrate the origin of football in England is the Sheffield FC. It is the oldest football club in the UK which was founded in 1857. The foundation of Sheffield FC marked the beginning of a new era for football. 

After Willian Prest and Nathaniel Creswick presented their football rules on 21st of October 1857, The Football Association, English football’s governing body, was formed in 1863. Following these events the FA cup was founded in the year 1871 and the first ever football league was played in the year 1888. The first set of rules for football was developed around social values of the game based on integrity, respect and community. To add to it, primarily the development of the game was seen as a venture to promote health and fitness.  

Prest and Creswick the two founding pioneers of football, who are also credited for writing down the rule for football, separated it from rugby. The rules that became famous as “Sheffield rules” clearly outlined the differences between the two sports. Later, these rules had an important role to play in the formation of FA. These were the first set of rules to be created in Yorkshire and have been crucial in shaping how football is played today.

Development and acknowledgement of football as a proper sport certainly put Yorkshire and Sheffield on the map.

It is interesting to note that Sheffield was considered the capital of the football world until the football association became prominent. The Youdan cup of 1867 was also played under Sheffield’s rule and was the world’s first football tournament.

During WWII, most of the football clubs in England were closed down. However, once the war ended the sport saw a new beginning with the organisation of FA Cup 1945-46. Since then, football has grown to emerge out as the most popular sport of the world. Today, it is the most widely played sport and enjoys a large fan following among many nations.