A University of Sheffield study has demonstrated once and for all that Sheffield is the home of the beautiful game – sporting the oldest clubs, grounds, trophies and even many of the rules that shaped the way football is played today. Despite plenty of other sports having defined ‘homes’ – cricket has Lords, golf and St Andrews, and tennis with Wimbledon – football has been culturally homeless… until now.
New research from our very own Dr John Wilson at the University of Sheffield’s Management School has identified objective authenticity indicators that can be used to find the cultural home of sports, and applied these to football.
A review of literature was carried out to identify which place has the highest number of original football artefacts and corroborated these with works from scholars, historians or legal authorities. The study also examined objective firsts, such as the first stadium, first trophy and first derby – Sheffield FC v Hallam FC in 1860.
The review revealed that Sheffield has a huge number of original artefacts and objective firsts – including the two oldest existing football clubs in Sheffield FC and Hallam FC, and the oldest professional football ground in the world; Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane.
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