Bright Finance Stadium

Sheffield Football Club is an English football club from Sheffield, South Yorkshire. The club is most noted for the fact that they are the world's oldest club now playing Association football, founded in 1857. They currently play in the Northern Premier League Division One South.

The team was originally based on various grounds around Sheffield, including Bramall Lane, formerly home to Sheffield Wednesday and now the home of Sheffield United. They are now based at the Coach and Horses Ground in Dronfield, Derbyshire. The club are also noted for participating in the world's oldest footballing rivalry. Sheffield competed against Hallam in the world's first inter-club match during 1860 - the match is known as the "Sheffield" derby.

The club's finest hour came in 1904 when they won the FA Amateur Cup, a competition conceived after a suggestion by Sheffield. They also finished as runners up of the FA Vase in 1977. They have been bestowed with the FIFA Order of Merit and commemorated by the English Football Hall of Fame for their significant place in football history.

History
Formation

In 1855, members of a Sheffield cricket club organised informal kick-abouts without any official rules.Nathaniel Creswick and William Prest formed the Sheffield Football Club.

The inaugural meeting of Sheffield F.C. took place on 24 October 1857 at Parkfield House in the suburb of Highfield. The original headquarters was a greenhouse on East Bank Road lent by Thomas Asline Ward, father of the first club president Frederick Ward, and the adjacent field was used as their first playing ground. Initially, Sheffield FC games were played among club members themselves and took the format of "Married v Singles" or "Professionals v the Rest". The Sheffield club is officially recognised by FIFA as the oldest football club in the world.

Creswick and Prest were responsible for drawing up the club's rules of play, which decided upon at the club's AGM on 21 October 1858. They were referred to as the Sheffield Rules. At the time, before the formation of the Football Association (FA), many different kinds of football were popular in England. For example, each of the various public schools played football according to their own individual rules, and these varied widely.

The first rules were distinctive. There was no offside rule and was the first to introduce free kicks for foul play. Australian rules football, which began to develop the following year, resembles the original Sheffield code in various respects.

Sheffield's near neighbour, Hallam, was formed in 1860 and in the same year the two clubs first played each other in a local derby which is still contested today. By 1862 there were 15 clubs in the Sheffield area. These rules were later adopted by the Sheffield Football Association when it was formed in 1867. By this time the club had decided only to play teams outside Sheffield in order to seek a bigger challenge.

They became members of The Football Association in 30 November 1863 but continued to use their own set of rules.

On 2 January 1865, the club played its first fixture outside Sheffield against Nottingham, playing eighteen aside under Nottingham Rules. The rest of the season also saw them visit Nottingham Forest and Lincoln City.

On 31 March 1866, there was a match between a team representing Sheffield and one representing London clubs, at Battersea Park. Rules that differed only slightly from the FA rules were used. The game, played as an eleven aside, was won by London by 2 goals and four touchdowns to nil.

However the matter of rules remained a problem with Sheffield continuing to play by their own rules. A number of rule proposals by the club were rejected by the FA in February 1867 and the London Committee were reluctant to commit to further fixtures over Sheffield's refusal to play strictly to FA rules. Sheffield finally adopted the FA rules in 1878.

Famous players

Three players represented England while on the books of Sheffield F.C. - Charles Clegg who played in the first international game against Scotland in 1872, John Owen in 1874 and John Hudson in 1883. All three players made just one appearance .

Charles Clegg also became both chairman and president of the Football Association.

Thursday Wanderers

Thursday Wanderers were a team founded by Sheffield F.C. players who wished to play in the Sheffield Challenge Cup. Sheffield Club had decided not to play in any local matches, so many of their players started playing on Thursdays. The team operated each season from 1876-77 until 1878-79, winning the Cup in their final year. The side was briefly revived in the early 1880s.

Decline

Its decline from the top echelon of football began with the introduction of professionalism in July 1885, with the amateurs of Sheffield failing to compete with professional teams, losing heavily that year to Aston Villa, Nottingham Forest and Notts County.

After the legalisation of professionalism Sheffield Club suggested to the FA the creation of a cup exclusively for amateur clubs. This would become the FA Amateur Cup and gave Sheffield their first ever cup success in 1904.

League history since World War II

Sheffield joined the Yorkshire League in 1949, remaining in that competition until it merged with the Midland League to form the Northern Counties East League in 1982. During their 33-year stay in the Yorkshire League, their only divisional title was the Division Two crown in 1975-76. After joining the new league, initially in the lower divisions, they twice won the Division One title in 1988-89 and 1990–91, and held Premier Division status continuously from 1991 to 2007. In 2006-07, they finished second in the Premier Division, their highest position ever, and because of the latest round of restructuring of the National League System were accepted into the Northern Premier League Division One for 2007-08.

150th anniversary onwards

Sheffield F.C. are now based at the Coach and Horses Ground in Dronfield, Derbyshire, the first ground they have owned themselves. They play in the Northern Premier League Division One South, which is directly below the Northern Premier League Premier Division in the National League System. There are now 2 senior teams, 9 junior teams, 1 women's team (formed by a merger with Norton FC) and 1 disability team.

They have recently started a membership drive, notable members are Sven-Göran Eriksson, Sepp Blatter and Michael Vaughan. They have also enjoyed links with Real Madrid since both clubs received the FIFA Order of Merit and there were plans to play a match against them to celebrate their 150th Anniversary.

Sheffield FC's opponents for the 150th anniversary match in November 2007 were Italian Serie A side Inter Milan; Brazilian legend Pelé was guest of honour and was introduced to the teams and the fans before the game. The match ended 5-2 to Inter, with 18,741 supporters attending the match at Bramall Lane, Inter's side included World Cup winner Marco Materazzi and a young Mario Balotelli. The day of the anniversary was marked with a church service and gala dinner attended by Geoff Thompson and Geoff Hurst among other major figures in the sport. Continuing their celebrations, Sheffield played Ajax A1 on 13 April 2008, celebrating a 2-0 win. The match was again played at Bramall Lane in front of a crowd of 5,000, with the Premier League's Uriah Rennie refereeing the match.

F.A. Competitions

The club have had their fair share of success in national competitions, with an FA Amateur Cup win in 1903-04, and a Wembley appearance in the 1976-77 FA Vase final (although they lost the replay at the City Ground, Nottingham to Billericay Town). In the more senior FA Cup, they have not graced the competition proper since the 1880s, but they did make the quarter finals on three occasions in the 1870s. They have a unique place in FA Cup history, knocking out Shropshire Wanderers on the toss of a coin in 1873; the only time a tie has been decided in this way.

Grounds

Sheffield club have played at a number of grounds around Sheffield. Initially they played at Strawberry Hall Lane Park. However, like all of the early grounds they played at, it wasn't owned by the club. In the following years they would play at Newhall Athletic ground, Old Forge ground and a ground near Hunters Bar on Ecclesall Road.

There was much reluctance from the owners of Bramall Lane to see the pitch be used for football. They didn't relent until a charity match between Sheffield and Hallam was suggested in late 1862. The ground was used by Sheffield F.C. for its more important fixtures but relations with the owners remained strained. They collapsed altogether in 1875 when the club vowed never to play at the ground again.

In 1921, Sheffield settled at the new Abbeydale Park ground. They moved to Hillsborough Park in 1988, then to Owlerton Stadium and Don Valley Stadium before purchasing the Coach and Horses pub and some adjoining land in Dronfield in 2001 for the purposes of developing a stadium, the first time the club had owned its own ground.

The land was previously used by the Coach and Horses pub team, and was also the home of Norton Woodseats and Dronfield United. It currently has a capacity of 1,200, and is also known as the BT Local Business Stadium for sponsorship purposes, having previously been named the Bright Finance Stadium.

Current squad

As of 14 June 2011. Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

Honours
  • FA Amateur Cup
    • Winners 1903–04
  • Yorkshire League
    • Division Two champions 1976–77
    • League Cup winners 1977–78
  • Whitbread Trophy
    • Winners 1987–88
  • Northern Counties East League
    • Division One champions 1988–89, 1990–91
    • League Cup winners 2000–01, 2004–05
  • Sheffield and Hallamshire Senior Cup
    • Winners 1993–94, 2004–05, 2005–06, 2007–08, 2009-10

Media

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Building Activity

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