Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Sheffield F.C. is probably the world's oldest club playing any kind of football, having been founded in 1857. It is often said to have been founded in 1855, although there is no evidence of this. The team was originally based on various grounds in Sheffield, England, including Bramall Lane, later home of Sheffield Wednesday F.C. and now home of Sheffield United F.C..
On 24 October 1857 Nathaniel Creswick and William Prest two former Harrovians formed Sheffield Football Club. Football had been organised at Cambridge University some years before, but the Sheffield club was the first football club in the world unconnected with a school or university.
Creswick and Prest were also responsible for drawing up the club's rules of play in 1857. At that time, before the formation of The Football Association (FA), there were no generally accepted rules for football. Each of the various public schools of England played football according to their own rules and these varied widely. The first Sheffield F.C rules were also distinctive. For example, there was no offside rule, opposing players could be pushed, handballing was allowed, and a player catching the ball would get a free kick. These rules changed gradually in subsequent years and it is known that by 1866, when a football match between an FA side and Sheffield was organised at Battersea Park, they were employing an offside rule that differed only slightly from the FA rules. Sheffield continued to play by their own rules until they accepted the FA rules in 1878.
Sheffield F.C.'s near neighbour, Hallam F.C., is also one of the world's oldest football clubs. In 1861 the two clubs first played each other in a local derby which is still contested today. Sheffield F.C. are now based at the Coach & Horses Ground in Dronfield, and play in the Northern Counties East League, which is directly below the Northern Premier League in the National League System.
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