Sheffield FC kick off their season tonight against Chesterfield FC, in a fixture echoing a game from 1872

Sheffield FC start their 160th season with a home match tonight against Chesterfield FC.

The Spireites will only have a six mile journey north for this friendly game at the Coach and Horses Stadium so the attendance should be high. Whilst Chesterfield FC can claim a higher position in the League Pyramid they cannot compete with Sheffield FC’s history.

In my book “A History of Sheffield Football 1857-1889: Speed, Science and Bottom” ( I look at the history behind Chesterfield FC.

The current Chesterfield FC dates from April 1919, and was formed from the Chesterfield Municipal FC, but a short-lived Chesterfield FC started nine years after Sheffield FC in 1866 but ceased in 1881. (Spookily the address of Chesterfield FC’s present day Proact Stadium is 1866 Sheffield Rd).

Football was played even earlier than 1866 by a Chesterfield team in 1864, in a one off match against Norton FC.

The early Chesterfield FC seemed to struggle with the decision on whether to throw it’s lot in with the Sheffield F.A. or the Derbyshire F.A. The direct railway line opened between Sheffield and Chesterfield in 1869 and from 1870 Sheffield club teams such as Norfolk FC and Sheffield United Mechanics FC, made the short trip to Chesterfield to play football but it was not until January 1st 1872 that I found a match played at the Recreation ground between Chesterfield FC and a representative Sheffield team. The Sheffield Independent ( reports it as a practice match for Sheffield  in anticipation of a game against a London team on the 27th January. These Sheffield teams represented the pick of the Sheffield FA and the games against the representatives of the London FA were very prestigious. (Sheffield FC  played few club games from 1865 and tended instead to play inter county matches.)

Both Clegg brothers played in the New Year’s day match and Sheffield won by two goals to nil ; a similar result tonight would be well received by Sheffield FC. The match kicks off at 7:30pm with prices reduced to £6 adults and £3 concessions, all pay on the night.