John Marsh – Wednesday FC founder and Captain died this day aged just 37

John Marsh features significantly in my book A History of Sheffield Football 1857-1889: Speed, Science and Bottom 

Tomorrow (April 22nd) is the launch of the ‘Sheffield: The Home of Football Free walking app’ which can be downloaded here:

John Marsh was captain of the Sheffield FA team who played the London FA in January 1871. He was born in Thurlstone in 1843 and was educated at Penistone Grammar School, he became an engraver in Sheffield and was apprenticed in the same company where Nathaniel Creswick was Director. He was one of the founders of the Wednesday FC in 1867 and was Hon. Sec by 1871. He moved back home in 1874 to form Thurlstone Crystal Palace FC, named after his mother’s (nee Moorhouse) public house in the village (a story that also features in my book.)

In 1876 he suffered a fall whilst playing for Thurlstone against Fir Vale FC and broke his arm which never properly recovered, and he became very depressed. In 1877 Wednesday FC played a benefit match on his behalf as we can see from the minutes of the Sheffield FA Minutes book.

Image courtesy of the Sheffield and Hallamshire County FA

The match raised him £40.00 but he died on the 21st April 1880 and the following obituary appeared in Bells Life: