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the history of football timeline

The History Of Football Timeline: Of The Codes and Rules

The origins and history of football timeline are open to conjecture, and several theories are available. However, there is evidence that the Chinese and Japanese enjoyed games where a ball was kicked back in the dynastic times.

There was a correlation between leisure activities and economic prosperity. The Ancient Greeks and Romans indulged in several games involving a ball. One of the first football mentions was in Guildford, but perhaps an old tablet may contain the truth about soccer.

Shrovetide football being played today

Where Does Football Originate From

Some exhausted centurions were enjoying a break in the spa at Buxton but became tired from too much bathing and gazed wistfully at their helmets lying by the bathtub (with their tunics stuffed loosely inside).

One day Soccerundus climbed from the hot tub and accidentally stubbed his toe on a protruding column. He was hopping mad. He kicked his helmet with all his might, and it flew through the air past some Britons defending the baths. The projectile shortly lodged in a fishing net hanging between two adjacent columns.

At this, his fellow centurions leaped from the hot tub with their arms raised in the air and shouted themselves hoarse. Some hugged one another. Others climbed pillars, gesticulated, and jeered at the Britons.

Ancient Romans playing Harpastum

A Fledgling Sport Was Born

This was more fun than invading another country, and a fledgling sport was born. Therefore they arranged a game against opponents from Londinium. Meanwhile, their supporters caused a significant degree of mayhem along the way.

The Romans enjoyed much possession of the helmet during the game and won when Soccerundus deflected the item past a line of Britons using his shield. Soon afterward, it sailed through the door of a nearby villa.

The game was a great success lasting for three days with only twenty-three casualties, while the Roman supporters invaded the pitch and the Britons felt cheated and dubbed the goal “The Shield of Athena.” They were still griping about it when the Romans left the country several years later. However, this was just one possible version of soccer’s emergence!

Shrovetide Football

It is a more certain fact that a rough game was played throughout the country – the most notable example being at Ashbourne, Derbyshire. The history of football timeline claimed that the Shrovetide football tradition from as early as 217 A.D. In general, however, the game’s origins are traced to Shrovetide football which traditionally took place in English villages on Shrove Tuesday.

The contests involved an unmarked pitch with streams, ponds, roads, or cottages, while a primitive ball was carried or kicked between two goals. There were no rules and no restrictions on the number of participants. The game was a rough, rowdy affair over several days with many injuries. A yearly re-enactment occurs at Alnwick, Northumberland, where the ball is kicked off from the top of the castle wall. In contrast, other traditions remain in other towns like Atherstone, Chester, Corfe, and Sedgefield.

the history of football timeline

There were limited prospects for the game’s development within this rural idyll of farmers and crop growing. As a result, the early history was ultimately centered on the sporting activities at England’s public schools.

Many of them played football in the 19th century viz. Although each had different rules, Charterhouse School, Eton, Harrow, Shrewsbury, Westminster, and Winchester led to some severe controversies.

Schools In The History Of Football Timeline

Disparities within the rules made it difficult to have inter-school contests. At the same time, many played on rough common land beyond the college precincts, making the chance of injury to the boys’ ankles and legs very great.

Westminster School engaged in soccer as early as 1710; however, a decree from the Church authorities tried to stop such games since boys would waste valuable time kicking a ball about in the cloisters.

At first, there were many idiosyncrasies, and games might continue for two to three days (as with cricket), whereas the numbers were unrestricted; hence the ‘Dowling Game’ at Shrewsbury, familiar to Darwin, involved five-a-side teams.

Eton College, meanwhile, indulged in two forms of early football. The most famous ‘primitive’ form was the Eton Wall Game, which was played against a boundary wall built near the school in 1717. The first such games took place as early as 1766 and were traditionally played between the Collegers and Oppidans on St. Andrew’s Day (30 November) from 1844, whereas the rules were formalized in 1849.

The game was contested on a pitch 120 yards long but only six yards wide, next to a wall bordering the college playing fields, and was like a prolonged drawn-out rugby scrum. No hands could be used; however, a ‘goal’ was scored when the ball was touched against the wall at each end.

charterhouse football school

A team scored 1 point for success and then had a throw at goal (a door and a tree). The conversion added 9 points, although the last ‘goal’ was scored in 1909. Indeed, such a tradition is continued up until today.

Variations within the rules were an issue in the mid-19th century. The two most controversial areas were attitudes towards handling the ball and rough practices such as hacking, shinning, mauling, and tagging. In fact, about this, there was a famous incident.

William Webb Ellis astounded his teammates by picking up the ball at Rugby in 1823, while the game of that name was first played at the school in 1841, and the rules were formalized in 1845. As a result, many of their old boys preferred this version of the football code.

Hands Not Allowed

However, schools such as Eton, with their Field and Wall games, forbade the use of the hand, while Charterhouse and Westminster schools developed the skill of ‘dribbling’ to gain possession of the ball (rather than a scrum).

There were many anomalies, and Charles Alcock noted “a peculiar species of football” at Harrow, which prevailed until the end of the 19th century. The goal was referred too as a base, and there was the ‘extraordinary “Three Yard Rule,” where a player could catch the ball, shout out “Three Yards,” and jump through the goalposts to score in three strides.

The emphasis in all the public schools was on the physical aspect, and many believed kicking the opponent’s legs to obtain the ball was an integral part of the game. It was a test of courage and resilience similar to other character-building ideas at these public schools.

Cambridge Rules

However, the most significant events occurred at Cambridge University, where players attempted to unify the football code as early as 1846. Indeed, in this respect, two of their students led the way.

John Charles Thring (1824-1909) was the son of Rev. John Gale Dalton Thring of Alford, Somerset, and grandson of John Thring, a banker of “Alford House,” Warminster. He enrolled at St. John’s, Cambridge in 1843, gaining a B.A. in 1848 and was a curate in 1848-55, but spent the next decade as a schoolmaster at Uppingham. Meanwhile, he was a curate at Alford and Bradford on Avon in Somerset in later years.

His peer Henry De Winton (1822-95), was born at Hay-on-Wye and the son of Walter, a clerk of Hay Castle and vicar of Llanigen, Breconshire. He enrolled at Trinity in 1842, gaining a B.A. in 1846 and was a deacon in 1848, then was the rector of Boughrood, Radnorshire in 1849-81 and the Archdeacon of Brecon from 1875.

Cambridge Historical Football Match

These ministerial pioneers arranged a meeting at Trinity College and thus compiled the Cambridge Rules in October 1848, which were tried out on Parker’s Piece. This swath of open ground is just east of the town among Georgian and Victorian housing, and today is of considerable importance in terms of the game’s evolution.

The eleven rules were for all players with several precepts, including a goal scored ‘under’ the tape, throw-ins from the side, and an offside rule (with three players), but included a free catch and kicked towards goal.

Although the rules differed significantly, further developments took place in the schools, which was only the first step. Thus there was a movement to establish the game on a firmer footing during the 1860s.

When Did Soccer Start

Edward Turing (1822), elder brother of John, gained a B.A. in 1845 and was a curate and private tutor, while he was headmaster at Uppingham in 1853-87 and raised it to a leading position among the public schools with 11 boarding houses, 30 masters, and 320 boys.

His brother John was an assistant master there from 1859 to 1869 and continued his interest in soccer. Thus he developed the Uppingham Rules in 1862, based on his days at Cambridge University.

Whereas Rule III stated, no tripping was allowed, “Kicks must be aimed only at the ball.” However, there was still a free catch, and a player was ‘out of play’ when positioned in front of the ball.

Another issue was goal size. And Harrow stipulated 12 feet but increased this to 24 feet during a replay, while Cambridge established a distance of just 15 feet. The P.A. set the present width of 24 feet in the 1860s, while the goals had two uprights with a tape at 8 feet.

The only development outside the schools was in the unlikely northern enclave of Sheffield, where a half-day Wednesday (holiday) encouraged the playing of local sports. Indeed, several sports venues were developed as a result, and the area was a pioneer of the game.

Nathaniel Creswick and William Prest

The Bramall Lane ground was initially laid out for cricket in 1854, while Nathaniel Creswick and William Prest, both former Harrovians, formed Sheffield FC on 24 October 1857. As a consequence, the eleven Sheffield Rules were developed later that year.

However, these differed from those in London and the schools since they allowed charging at the kicker, a push with the hands, and a knock-on, although carrying the ball was strictly forbidden.

First Ever Football Match

On the history of football timeline, it’s reported that the reputed first ever football match was between Sheffield and Hallam F.C. (1860) at Bramall Lane on 29 December 1862. Sandygate, the home of Hallam, became the oldest football ground in the world. John Charles Clegg played for Sheffield, the Wednesday, and England (and eventually became the F.A. president).

sheffield football club emblem

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