Rules that created the beautiful game to go on display – together with football’s FA Cup

Fans of the beautiful game will be able to see the FA Cup on display at Sheffield Central Library alongside the first-ever public display of a copy of the 1858 Sheffield Rules, just metres from where they were written at the former Adelphi Hotel, now the Crucible Theatre.

Sheffield Libraries is hoping the Sheffield’s Football Treasures event on Thursday 25 October will add weight to the growing ‘Sheffield The Home of Football’ movement which is aiming to ensure that Sheffield’s place in the origins of the world’s favourite game is rightly celebrated in the city.

The rules are widely accepted as the defining structure for the game celebrated around the world.

At the event, from 10.30am to 2.30pm, fans will be able to see the city’s most famous treasures as well as memorabilia from all four Sheffield clubs, and the Sheffield & Hallamshire County Football Association.

They can bring in their own mementos to be seen by a football expert and have their memories about football in the city recorded as part of an oral history of the great game.

This free event, is expected to be very popular follows the successful launch of the Sheffield Home of Football Walking app earlier this year.

Councillor Mary Lea, cabinet member for parks, culture and leisure at SCC, said: “This is an amazing opportunity to celebrate Sheffield’s unique status as the home of football. Whether you’re an Owl, Blade, or follow the fortunes of Sheffield FC or Hallam, this event is for you.

“It’s simply not right that so many people still don’t know about Sheffield’s role in creating the beautiful game as we know it. To see those historic rules alongside the FA Cup will show how strongly we value Sheffield’s role in creating the world’s number one game.

“As well as seeing Sheffield’s Football heritage close up, you can hear all about the famous Footballing Firsts that took place in the city, record your Sheffield footballing memories and join the growing movement to help the city celebrate its unique position as the crucible in which the world’s favourite game was forged.”

Sheffield United, Sheffield Wednesday, Sheffield FC, Hallam FC and the Sheffield & Hallamshire County Football Association have all promised to bring in their treasured artefacts and we already have confirmed some very important items set to be displayed alongside the rules and the FA Cup.

They include the Youdan Cup, the Sheffield Association Challenge Cup from  1876/77 – England’s first ever County Association Cup; the Sheffield New Association Challenge Cup from 1877/78- the World’s sixth oldest Association Cup and the Wharncliffe Charity Challenge Cup  from 1878/79 – England’s first Charity Association Cup.

People will also be able to see the Clegg Shield-  the oldest school tournament in the World still being competed for, the ball with which Brian Deane scored the first-ever goal in the Premier League, the Skybet Division 1 Championship Trophy 2016/17 and an FA commemorative goblet to the city for hosting the 1966 World Cup semi-final.

Historian Martin Westby added: “October 2018 marks the 160th anniversary of the 1858 Sheffield Rules and for the first time in many years copies of them will go back on display in Sheffield.

“These hugely influential artefacts were written in pen and pencil 160 years ago on 27 October 1858.

“These are the world’s third oldest Club written playing rules. The difference from these predecessors is that the Sheffield Rules would go on to be very influential in the evolution of the current game of ‘Association Football’ that the world plays today.

“We are also very proud to announce that the Football Association are supporting this important event and are lending us the FA Cup for the day.

“Why not wear your favourite football shirt and have your picture taken with this piece of football history?”

It’s been a while since the FA Cup was paraded in Sheffield. 1935 for Sheffield Wednesday and 1926 for Sheffield United.

No tickets are needed, and people can drop in to Sheffield Central Library between 10.30am and 2:30pm. You can register here for the event here.

The 1858 Sheffield Rules continued to evolve and by 1862 included innovations that the Football Association would later duplicate, such as the corner kick, the crossbar (albeit tape) and the half-way line kick off.

It was the passion of Sheffield FC’s William Chesterman’s letter in 1863 that helped tip the balance away from hacking in the bad-tempered discussions happening at the Freemasons Tavern, between the ball dribbling and the ball carrying fraternities.

The same man also made the long journey south in 1867 when the Football Association were considering winding up their organisation because of a lack of interest from southern clubs. His intervention with the offer to enrol Sheffield’s fourteen clubs and 1,000 members into the F.A. helped them carry on at a critical time.


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