A new sculpture, celebrating 150 years since an FA Cup game was decided by the toss of a coin, has been commissioned by the new charity Sheffield Home of Football.
The sculpture, called ‘Heads or Tails’, will be a two-metre-tall bronze or stainless-steel sculpture of an 1873 Victorian penny designed by Sheffield born sculptor David Westby and brother of the late Martin Westby author of ‘A History of Sheffield Football 1857-1889’.
Announcing the project, Dr John Wilson, a trustee of Sheffield Home of Football said; “This is from the time when Sheffield FC played Shropshire Wanderers on 30th October 1873, with the game ending in a draw.
“The return match, played at Shrewsbury Racecourse on 17th November 1873, also ended in a draw”.
“After the game both teams enjoyed a meal at the Raven Hotel where they agreed to decide which team would progress to the next round of the FA Challenge Cup. Harry Chambers, the Sheffield Captain won the penny toss and Shropshire Wanderers became the only team to be eliminated from the competition with the toss of a coin”, adds John.
“This will create an interactive focal point for people to meet and talk about Sheffield’s unique footballing history from the 19th Century when all the rules were made in Sheffield to the present day, where history is still being made”, he says.
“Three maquettes or ‘mock-up’s have been made (pictured) which show how the sculpture will look when it is cast and an 1873 penny has been digitally scanned by South Yorkshire company PES-Performance, based at the Advanced Manufacturing Park, ready to be used in the bronze casting process. The individual coins of the sculpture will be linked using stainless steel”, says John.
“Alongside the sculpture will be an interpretation board which will be linked to the Sheffield Home of Football Walking Tour App”.
“We’re very excited to be adding to the cultural life of this city and contributing to the growing body of educational research about the unique role we played in the development of the modern game”, concludes John.
The location of the sculpture has yet to be decided and discussions with Sheffield City Council are ongoing. The cost of the sculpture has been made possible by a private donation to the charity.