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Archiver > SUFFOLK > 2007-10 > 1192004698

From: Colin Fenn <>
Subject: Re: [SFK-UK] England v Scotland football game 1872
Date: Wed, 10 Oct 2007 09:24:58 +0100
References: <00b601c80a27$34435790$6401a8c0@butler>
In-Reply-To: <00b601c80a27$34435790$6401a8c0@butler>

Jeff Butler <> writes
>Taken from the Illustrated London News Dec; 7 1872
>On Saturday last the long-talked of football game England v Scotland
>was played on the West of Scotland Cricket Ground, at Partick near
>Glasgow. It was the first match of any importance ever played in
>Scotland under the Association rules, and attracted a very large number
>of spectators.

You've picked up on an interesting event in the history of Professional
Sports. (Though somewhat off-topic for the Suffolk list, I thought I'd
cc my reply as it illustrates the growth of leisure pursuits in the
Victorian era.)

The first 'unofficial' international football match was organised by
Charles William Alcock and played in 1870 at the Oval in London, where
he captained England. It was so successful that he staged several
re-matches, until he got the backing of the Football Association to hold
the first 'official' match in Scotland in 1872, as you noted above.
Alcock would have been captain again, if it wasn't for injuries.

Alcock was a catalyst - it seems he was to team sports what Bernie
Ecclestone is to motor racing today - he was secretary of the Football
Association and created the FA Cup. The 1872 Scottish match above
inspired the creation of the Scottish Football Association. When he
re-arranged the rules to ban handling of the ball this led to the
breakaway and creation of the Rugby Football Association.

He was close to the Surrey Cricket Club, and arranged all the Australian
Test matches in England, again at the Oval, from 1880. This was after an
English touring side had planned to play two matches in Australia in
1879, but the second match had to be cancelled because of a riot in New
South Wales. (And we thought crowd trouble was modern phenomenon!)

The Oval was used for both Football Association and Cricket matches
until 1895, when football moved to the Crystal Palace. Football stayed
there until it moved to Wembley after the Great War.

Alcock wrote many sporting almanacs, and delighted in the popularisation
of these sports; he wrote in 1878 "What was ten or fifteen years ago the
recreation of a few has now become the pursuit of thousands ... and ...
almost magnified into a profession". He is buried at my local cemetery
in West Norwood.
My information comes from a publication of sportsmen buried there, see:

Best regards,
Colin Fenn

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