Let’s celebrate the ‘beautiful game’ with a chronological countdown of 10 iconic moments in Britain’s footballing history
1. The Football Association (FA) was formed on 26 October 1863. While it’s highly debatable whether football was invented in Britain (or China, or Greece, or…) it is this sporting body which developed modern football as we know it.
The Freemason’s Tavern, 1863 (colour litho) English School, National Football Museum, Manchester, UK; (the site of the formation of the Football Association; Queen Street, Lincoln Inn Fields, London)
2. 1885 saw the first professional footballers – previously, players were not paid a wage.
Renton F.C., 1888/9 (b/w photo), English School / National Football Museum, Manchester, UK
4. By the early 20th century, footballers were fast becoming celebrities and household names. Here are cigarette cards from the National Football Museum of the nation’s favourites.
L-R: Ber Middlemiss, James Howie, Colin Veitch, Billy Dunlop, all by Rip (1907-09)
5. 25th December 1914 saw the famous ‘Christmas Truce‘, where Germans and Britons on either sides of the trenches put their differences aside over games of football.
6. The first match to air on television was filmed by the BBC on 16 September 1937, televising a friendly between Arsenal and Arsenal Reserves at Highbury.
The Adoration, 2006 (acrylic on canvas) by PJ Crook
7. 1951 saw the first recorded use of a white football – previously balls were brown.
8. England celebrated their first and only World Cup victory on 30 July 1966 at Wembley Stadium, beating West Germany 4-2. Geoff Hurst, the winning striker, remains the only man to have scored a hat trick in a World Cup game.
9. The Women’s Football Association (WFA) was formed in 1969 with 44 clubs – previously, women in football were immensely popular to watch but, conversely, openly mocked.
10. The National Football Museum was founded in 2001. Now housed in Manchester, it attracts 350,000 visitors a year. It holds one of the world’s finest collections of football memorabilia, including artwork, photographs and collectables.
Clockwise: Pair of Cert Boots, 1910 ; An England shirt with international badge, as worn by teh 1997 World Cup winning team ; Ashbourne football (leather)
Find out more
The National Football Museum in Manchester holds the world’s finest collection of football artifacts and archives, including the official FIFA Collection.
Bridgeman’s Sporting collections – From C18th engravings of bare-knuckle boxing to memorabilia of the ‘beautiful game,’ Bridgeman is a rich resource for Britain’s sporting heritage
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