The birthplace of the beautiful game

When most people think Sheffield and football, their first thoughts are probably towards the city’s two current biggest clubs, Sheffield United and Sheffield Wednesday, little do they know the city’s crucial role in establishing this international sport, which is now played and adored around the globe.

Basically, without Sheffield, the modern game of football wouldn't exist. Back in 1857, pioneers  Sir Nathaniel Creswick and William Prest devised 'married vs. singles' and 'professionals vs. the rest' games at their local cricket club, and founded Sheffield FC, the world's first football club.

It was shortly afterwards that they also drafted the club's rules of play - including the ball being allowed to be headed, wooden crossbars introduced, free kicks and corners being introduced, and the concept of playing under floodlights. This became the Rulebook of 1859, the official printed set of football laws and the foundation of the modern game as we know it today.

Hallam FC quickly followed suit and opened the world's first football ground (up until then matches were played at cricket grounds) in 1860 - which also led to the world's first inter-city club game being played on Boxing Day of the same year.

Whilst in 1878 there was eventually an amalgamation of rules with London rules (up until that point there were many different rules in different regions and even clubs across the country), it is widely credited that the Sheffield Rules helped shape and establish the modern game.

As a result, Sheffield FC are officially recognised by FIFA as the world’s oldest football club, and alongside Real Madrid they are the only club in the world to have received the FIFA Order of Merit, showing that amidst the global corporations that preside over modern football, grassroots clubs can still share the same platform.

UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 in Sheffield

Legacy of UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 in Sheffield

To inspire generations of players and fans Sheffield City Council have produced a film marking one year on from the UEFA Women’s Euro in 2022. The film, directed by Rob Speranza from the South Yorkshire Filmmakers Network, gives a flavour of Sheffield’s arts and heritage programme which ran alongside the tournament.

In the film you will see the role of women in football celebrated with everything from pop-up workshops with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the Manor and Castle choir, to an intergenerational football match which references and celebrates the history of the women’s game, which can be viewed here.

The Lionesses journey has been exceptional and has galvanised an entire nation and beyond. The excitement of the UEFA Women’s Euro swept over the UK in the summer of 2022 with the ultimate triumph for England’s Lionesses on 31st July. The cup came home with the Lionesses roaring to victory over Germany in a 2 -1 win in extra time at Wembley. The success of the Lionesses captured the imagination of the public with celebrations reverberating across the country for days after the tournament had ended.

In Sheffield, we welcomed thousands of international visitors which contributed to the increase in footfall in the city centre by a massive 10,000 during match days, which managed to boost the economy by an incredible £8.3m.

With the European title under their belts England entered the World Cup in 2023 as one of the favourites. The squad included a strong Yorkshire contingent with captain Millie Bright, and team players, Esme Morgan, Beth England, and Ellie Roebuck. This England team were the first to reach a Women’s World Cup final and kicked off their campaign on 21st July. Sadly, despite gallant efforts all round England lost out, by 1 - 0, by an incredibly sharp Spanish team on 20th August.

We can be extremely proud of the magnificent campaign England ladies have played in rejuvenating the Women’s game and putting England back on the international football map. With Sarina Wiegman at the helm, England is sure to come back better and stronger!

You can follow Sheffield & Hallamshire County Football Association on Facebook and Twitter.

Home of Football: Walking Tour App

Want to delve more into the Sheffield's football heritage? Sheffield: The Home of Football walking app is completely FREE to download and will take you on a tour of 10 historic footballing hot spots in the city.

Enhanced with audio clips and map mash-ups showing Sheffield in the 1850s and today, you will be transported back to the Victorian era when the world’s first football club started. The journey will cover the second half of the 19th century telling the stories of the first football derby, the world’s oldest Football Cup and the ancient football grounds where the games were played, many now long gone.

Download the FREE App

Football in Sheffield today

Sheffield FC

Founded in October 1857, the club is recognised by FIFA as the oldest existing club still playing football in the world today. They've had a few club homes over the years, but nowadays, they play at the The Home of Football Stadium on the outskirts of the city. See upcoming fixtures and buy tickets on the Sheffield FC website here. 

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Hallam FC

While Sheffield FC may have pipped them to the oldest club title, Hallam FC can still boast the Worlds Oldest Football Ground, having played at their home on Sandygate Road, since 1860. See upcoming fixtures on their website.

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