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The first football league match

Posted in Anniversary, History, Sport on Sunday, 29 August 2010

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picture, a pre-league football match

Pre-league football matches were often played in the streets with no rules. Illustration by James E. McConell

8 September marks the anniversary of the first football league matches played in England in 1888. Prior to that, football had been more of a free-for-all than a legitimate game, often involving many dozens of players and no structure or rules other than to get the ball to a predetermined goal. The drawing up of a set of rules in 1862 and the creation of the Football Association in 1863 helped formalize the game’s structure, but it was over 20 years before the F.A. created a league of teams who would play a schedule of games.

The original 12 teams were: Accrington, Aston Villa, Blackburn Rovers, Bolton Wanderers, Burnley, Derby County, Everton, Notts County, Preston North End, Stoke F.C., West Bromwich Albion and Wolverhampton Wanderers.

picture, The History of Football

An episode from the Story of Soccer series

More pictures relating to football can be found here. The Look and Learn picture library also has a wide-ranging history of the game entitled The Story of Soccer available.

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