New Book : England’s Oldest Football Clubs 1815-1889 :A new chronological classification of early football (Folk, School, Military, County, Rugby, & Association)

Book cover for england's oldest football clubs

Five years ago, I saw for the first time a book called the ‘Football Annual’ that ran from 1868 to 1908. It was started in 1868 as ‘John Lilywhite’s Football Annual’, edited by the FA Secretary, Charles W. Alcock and ‘Published with the sanction of the Football Association’. In each edition Football Secretaries were invited to apply for forms which had to be returned before May in each year, which included information such as when the Club was formed, where the Club Ground was situated and whether they played by Association or Rugby rules; so it included all Football Clubs, be they Association or Rugby Clubs. To ensure that I missed no football clubs I then cross referenced and added clubs that were not listed in the ‘Football Annuals’ but had entered either the FA Cup or were founder members of their local County FA. This gave me a total of 297 English Rugby-playing clubs and 807 English Association-playing clubs, as well as numerous school and military organisations; a lot of which was previously unseen data.

At the end of five years’ research, I was left with over 3,000 pages of data and at a loss as to how to publish the information. In 2017 I decided to extract all the research that applied purely to Sheffield and published a book called ‘A History of Sheffield Football 1857-1889: Speed, Science and Bottom’, which is now in its second edition and is available to purchase from this website. Unfortunately, this still left me with 650 pages which would have made for an unwieldy and expensive book; therefore, I took the decision to publish my data as an E-book, primarily in order to keep the purchase cost down. Having the book on your PC or other devices has other benefits, such as a live search function and the ability to click straight through to online resources. When you purchase you have the option to open the book on as many devices as you wish and also to print off pages that you find interesting. However, you will not be able to forward the book in its entirety in order to protect my copyright.


Introduction to the Classification.

Chapter One: The Search for Association Rules 1500-1886. A Chronological history of Football Rules and Laws.

Chapter Two: A Chronological history of Association playing Schools, Colleges and Universities (1815-1888). Featuring a section on Old Boys’ Clubs and State Schools.

Chapter Three: A Chronological history of Association playing Military teams (1844-1888), featuring a section on the Volunteer Movement.

Chapter Four: A Chronological history of the English County Football Associations (1867-1888).

Chapter Five: A Chronological history of English Rugby clubs (1839-1888), also features influential Rugby playing schools and colleges.

Chapter Six: A Chronological Classification of Association football clubs (1857 -1889).

Chapter Seven: Clarification and detail on a selection of prominent English Association Football Clubs.

Dingley Dell FC (1858-1864),Crusaders FC (1859-1870), Mincing Lane FC (1859-1876), Crystal Palace FC (1861-1875), Notts County FC (1862-present), Stoke City FC (1868-present), Great Marlow FC (1870-present), Ipswich Town FC (1870-present), Darwen FC (1871- 2009), Worksop Town FC (1873-present), West Bromwich Albion FC (1874-present), Burnley FC (1874-present), Hanover United FC (Polytechnic FC) (1876-present), Middlesbrough FC (1876-present), Clapton FC (1878-present), Blackpool FC (1878-present), Sunderland AFC (1880-present), Manchester City FC (1880-present), Derby County FC (1881- present), Watford FC (1881- present), Tranmere Rovers FC (1881- present), Corinthian Casuals FC (1882- present), Tottenham Hotspur FC (1882- present), Queens Park Rangers FC (1882- present), Royal Arsenal FC (1886-present) and Cray Wanderers FC (1886-present)

Summary: Our Future lies in our Past