The First Football League
It is generally accepted that the first officially organised league competition in the world was the (English) Football League formed in 1888. Then, it consisted of 12 clubs all of whom were based in the North and the Midlands of England. The very first winners of the Football League Championship were Preston North End.
In 1992 with the influx of megabucks from BSkyB (now called Sky TV), the top teams broke away to form their own league called the FA Premier League.
Today, the original Football League has 3 divisions called; the Championship, Division 1 and Division 2.So that England today has a total of 4 professional football leagues, with teams moving up (promotion) or down (relegation) through the leagues depending on their points tally at the end of each season.
The First Football Association Cup (FA Cup)
The first FA Cup final was played in England in 1872 between Royal Engineers and Wanderers in front of 2,000 spectators. Wanderers ran out 1-0 winners partly because Royal Engineers -- who were the favourites -- lost a player through injury, early in the match, and had to play on with only 10 men since substitutes were not allowed then. The "Challenge Cup", as it was known originally, was the brainchild of Mr. C. W. Alcock of Sunderland who proposed only the year before that "A challenge cup should be established in connection with the Association"; the "Association" being the Football Association, hence the FA Cup.
|Royal Engineers - Pictured in 1872|
The Oldest Football Club in the World
There have always been many arguments over the oldest football club in the world. Here are some facts to consider though...
The oldest, continuously documented, "football" club in the world is Dublin University Football Club, in the Republic of Ireland, which was founded in 1854. However, the club now plays Rugby Union, not Association Football. For this reason it is not officially recognized as the oldest football club in the world.
Sheffield Football Club -- Sheffield FC -- founded in England in 1857, is recognised by both the English FA and FIFA as being the oldest, continuously documented football club in the world still playing Association Football. They play in the Northern Premier League Division 1 South in England. So they are generally now recognised as being the oldest football club in the world.
But, there is documentation of a "football club" in Edinburgh, Scotland between 1824 and 1841. Several documents still exist today which refer to the "Foot Ball Club" and it's rules. It worked rather like a golf club where members selected teams from their membership to play one another. The club has been now been reconstituted and plays under the name of "The Foot Ball Club of Edinburgh" in an amateur capacity.
The first international football match was played between Scotland and England in Glasgow, Scotland on 30th November 1872, in front of 4,000 spectators. The result was a hard-fought 0-0 draw. And of the 110 games played between 1872 and 1999 when the fixture was disbanded, Scotland had won 41, England 45, and 24 games had ended in a draw.
The First Trainer's Dugout
The first ever recorded use of a sunken covered enclosure at the side of the pitch (the dugout) was in the early 1920s at Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen, Scotland. The trainer at the time, Donald Coleman, had it built to protect himself while he took detailed notes of his players during matches, as was his practice, and, was partly sunken into the ground so as not to block spectators' views of the game. Visiting teams were so impressed that the idea soon spread throughout the UK and then the rest of the world.