On this day in 1857, the world’s first football club, Sheffield FC, was founded by a couple of cricket enthusiasts.
Nathaniel Creswick and William Prest, who played for the Sheffield Cricket Club came up with the ingenious idea to form a football team. Cricket being a sport exclusively for the summers, the players needed another activity for the winters to keep their fitness levels in check. The two men were familiar with the sport as they frequently engaged in ‘kick-abouts’ with a football. Finally, after two years of contemplation, Sheffield FC was born. Creswick presided as the club’s first secretary while Frederick Ward became the first president.
With the Football Association yet to be formed and the FA rules yet to be formulated, the club played the game using the ‘Sheffield rules’ – a set of laws streamlined by Creswick and Prest. The FA would later adopt and modify these rules.
Sheffield pioneered many aspects of the game that are prevalent today. They were the first club to use a solid crossbar instead of a rope. They practically invented set-pieces – corners, free-kicks and throw-ins. On one occasion, the club travelled down south to London to play a London XI. The Londoners were left in shock when they saw Sheffield players head the ball. Using your head to make contact with the ball was unheard of. Subsequently, inspired from Sheffield, other football clubs adopted heading into their game.
Three years after the formation of Sheffield, another pioneering club called Hallam FC was founded. The two clubs play the oldest derby in the world.
The club celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2007. Hundred and sixty years on, despite facing major ups and downs, Sheffield FC still endures.
United spoil the party for Arsenal
On this day in 2004, Manchester United beat Arsenal 2-0 at Old Trafford to end the Gunners’ 49-game unbeaten run in the league.
Ruud van Nistelrooy scored the opener from the penalty spot after Sol Campbell brought down Wayne Rooney. The teenage Rooney, celebrating his 19th birthday, added one himself from six yards out to secure all three points for Sir Alex Ferguson’s side.