HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Football celebrates 160 years, in fact it is December 26, 1860 the first game officially recognized as such, played with common rules and between two regularly established clubs. Two obviously English teams, both from Sheffield, the Yorkshire city in the north of the country, which is rightly considered the ‘cradle of football’, so much so that the core of the rules codified a few years later by the Football Association is known as the “Rules of Sheffield “.

On the pitch for what was also the first ‘derby’ in history, the Sheffield Football Club, founded in 1857, the oldest club in the world, remained an amateur club that still exists today and plays in regional leagues, and the ‘Hallam Football Club, born in 1860 as a part of the local cricket club, recognized as the’ second oldest club in the world ‘. Sheffield Football Club should not be confused with the city’s two current professional teams, United and Wednesday.

Place of the football match, from which everything can be said originated, the Hallam sports field, Sandygate Road, which went down in history as the first football stadium where the club still plays its home games. The jerseys of the two teams are eternalized in the current Sheffield emblem that evokes the challenge; the first team comes with a black and grenade checkered shirt, while the Hallam wears blue.

The final result saw Sheffield win 2-0, the first goal being from captain Nathaniel Creswick, who is also one of the founders of the club and one of the rule writers; the scorer of the second goal remains unknown. The number of players on the field is not even certain from the scores; some say twelve or thirteen on each side, other sources speak of sixteen.

The rules of game of the time, on the other hand, were still in formation; for example there was the ‘fair catch’, ie a high ball could be blocked with the hands and then played with the feet, only later some began to hit it with the head. However, it was already forbidden to foul and hold back, while the corner kick and the wooden crossbar were introduced shortly after.

The first meeting in history is still commemorated every year in a match in which the Alan Cooper Barstool Trophy is awarded. In 2019 only the 159th edition of the oldest derby in the world was played; the two teams are in fact in different regional divisions and cannot meet in official matches.

It should be noted that Sheffield FC celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2007, with a ceremony attended by among others Bobby Charlton and the great Pele’, who said “Without Sheffield I wouldn’t have been there either”. On that occasion, the team played a friendly celebratory match with the youth team of Inter, whose president Massimo Moratti was appointed honorary vice president of the English club

Published by Marco Perrotta

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