Sheffield has a unique football heritage. The football played here in Sheffield during the 19th Century has had a huge influence on the modern game. The world’s oldest club, Sheffield FC, pioneered the writing of a commonly accepted set of rules, played a key role in the formation of the FA and were involved in a host of innovations such as the first crossbar, the first corner kick, the first free kick and the first floodlit match. We want to share and celebrate Sheffield’s role in the advent of the world’s most popular sport through our Home of Football Project.

A new project for 2018 is the ‘ Sheffield: The Home of Football Walking App’

Sheffield is rightly famous for its steel production but something else important was made in Sheffield and that was football. This fact is not well known, and we hope that this walking app will remedy this lack of information and make our football as famous as our cutlery and stainless steel.

Between 1857 and 1889 Sheffield had 95 football clubs and we shall be looking at some locations associated with these early clubs. The “Sheffield: The Home of Football” walking app will take you on a heritage tour around the historic footballing hot spots that shaped not just Sheffield football, but football worldwide. While visiting the ten stops over the 90-minute walk you will be introduced to the places and the people that made Sheffield the home of Association football.

Enhanced with audio clips and map mash-ups showing Sheffield in the 1850s and today, you will be transported back to the Victorian era when the world’s first football club started. The journey will cover the second half of the 19th century telling the stories of the first football derby, the world’s oldest Football Cup and the ancient football grounds where the games were played, many now long gone.

The Sheffield F.A. already had 14 clubs and 1,000 members when the London Football Association was formed in 1863. At that point the F.A. were still arguing over whether they should allow hacking and carrying the ball with hands; the Sheffield Laws had been formed five years earlier in 1858. This important 160th anniversary will be commemorated by Sheffield FC in October 2018 and the launch of this app marks the beginning of the year’s celebrations.

Newmarket is recognised as the home of horse racing; St Andrews the home of golf, and Rugby as the home of rugby. The epicentre of Association football is less well publicised and this app is designed to let the world know and recognise Sheffield as the Home of Football.

Watch this space for more information, or alternatively email j.p.wilson@sheffield.ac.uk

In 2013 we ran our football festival and here is the Heritage Lottery Fund’s video of the football festival which shows the Sheffield’s historical importance to the modern game of football.

This is ITV’s coverage of the schools playing by the historical rules.


The project will involve school pupils investigating a number of archives under the guidance of teachers and football historians. It will involve many hard to reach pupils and communities, as well as use an array of resources on Sheffield’s doorstep, including football clubs, libraries and local associations.

The secondary school students will identify material to produce an historical record in the form of a football programme and recreate a traditional game of football using the Sheffield Rules from 1857. This blog will record and share the findings of the project.



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