History of Football

History of Football

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The first description of a football match in England was written by William FitzStephen in about 1170. He records that while visiting London he noticed that "after dinner all the youths of the city goes out into the fields for the very popular game of ball." He points out that every trade had their own football team. "The elders, the fathers, and the men of wealth come on horseback to view the contests of their juniors, and in their fashion sport with the young men; and there seems to be aroused in these elders a stirring of natural heat by viewing so much activity and by participation in the joys of unrestrained youth."

A few centuries later another monk wrote that football was a game "in which young men... propel a huge ball not by throwing it into the air, but by striking and rolling it along the ground, and that not with their hands but with their feet." This chronicler strongly disapproved of the game claiming it was "undignified and worthless" and that it often resulted in "some loss, accident or disadvantage to the players themselves."

One manor record, dated 1280, states: "Henry, son of William de Ellington, while playing at ball at Ulkham on Trinity Sunday with David le Ken and many others, ran against David and received an accidental wound from David's knife of which he died on the following Friday." In 1321, William de Spalding, was in trouble with the law over a game of football: "During the game at ball as he kicked the ball, a lay friend of his, also called William, ran against him and wounded himself on a sheath knife carried by the canon, so severely that he died within six days." There are other recorded cases during this period of footballers dying after falling on their daggers.

Edward II became involved in the debate on football and in 1314 complained about "certain tumults arising from great footballs in the fields of the public, from which many evils may arise." At the time he was trying to raise an army to fight the Scots and was worried about the impact that football was having on the skills of his archers.

In an attempt to make the English the best longbowmen in the world, a law was passed ordering all men earning less than 100 pence a year to own a longbow. Every village had to arrange for a space to be set aside for men to practice using their bows. It was especially important for boys to take up archery at a young age. It was believed that to obtain the necessary rhythm of "laying the body into the bow" the body needed to be young and flexible. It was said that when a young man could hit a squirrel at 100 paces he was ready to join the king's army.

Edward II came to the conclusion that young people were more interested in playing football than practicing archery. His answer to this problem was to ban the playing of the game. His father, Edward III, reintroduced the ban in 1331 in preparation for an invasion of Scotland. Henry IV was the next monarch who tried to stop England's young men from playing football when he issued a new ban in 1388. This was ineffective and in 1410 his government imposed a fine of 20s and six days' imprisonment on those caught playing football. In 1414, his son, Henry V, introduced a further proclamation ordering men to practise archery rather than football. The following year Henry's archers played an important role in the defeat of the French at Agincourt.

Edward IV was another strong opponent of football. In 1477 he passed a law that stipulated that "no person shall practise any unlawful games such as dice, quoits, football and such games, but that every strong and able-bodied person shall practise with bow for the reason that the national defence depends upon such bowmen." Henry VII outlawed football in 1496 and his son, Henry VIII, introduced a series of laws against the playing of the game in public places.

Whereas the monarchy objected for military reasons, church leaders were more concerned about the game being played on a Sunday. In 1531 the Puritan preacher, Thomas Eliot, argued that football caused "beastly fury and extreme violence". In 1572 the Bishop of Rochester demanded a new campaign to suppress this "evil game". In his book, Anatomy of Abuses (1583) Philip Stubbs argued that "football playing and other devilish pastimes.. withdraweth us from godliness, either upon the Sabbath or any other day." Stubbs was also concerned about the injuries that were taking place: "sometimes their necks are broken, sometimes their backs, sometimes their legs, sometimes their arms, sometimes one part is thrust out of joint, sometimes the noses gush out with blood... Football encourages envy and hatred... sometimes fighting, murder and a great loss of blood."

However, there were some people who thought that football was good for the health of young men. Richard Mulcaster, the headmaster of Merchant Taylors' School, wrote in 1581, that football had "great helps, both to health and strength." He added the game "strengtheneth and brawneth the whole body, and by provoking superfluities downward, it dischargeth the head, and upper parts, it is good for the bowels, and to drive the stone and gravel from both the bladder and kidneys."

The records show that young men refused to accept the banning of football. In 1589, Hugh Case and William Shurlock were fined 2s for playing football in St. Werburgh's cemetery during the vicar's sermon. Ten years later a group of men in a village in Essex were fined for playing football on a Sunday. Other prosecutions took place in Richmond, Bedford, Thirsk and Guisborough.

Local councils also banned the playing of football. However, young men continued to ignore local by-laws. In 1576 it was recorded in Ruislip that around a hundred people "assembled themselves unlawfully and played a certain unlawful game, called football". In Manchester in 1608 "a company of lewd and disordered persons... broke many men's windows" during an "unlawful" game of football. It was such a major problem that in 1618 the local council appointed special "football officers" to police these laws.

After the execution of Charles I in 1649 the new ruler, Oliver Cromwell, instructed his Major-Generals to enforce laws against football, bear-baiting, cock-fighting, horse-racing and wrestling. Cromwell was more successful than previous rulers in stopping young men from playing football. However, after his death in 1660 the game gradually re-emerged in Britain.

The ball used in football was made from an inflated animal bladder. Two teams, made up of large numbers of young men, attempted to get the ball into the opposition goal. In towns the game was mainly played by craft apprentices. As James Walvin points out in The People's Game (1994): "Overworked, exploited and generally harbouring a range of grievances, they formed a frequently disaffected body of young men, living close to each other... They posed a regular threat of unruliness and not surprisingly, they were readily recruited for football."

According to George Owen (c. 1550) in Wales football was slightly different from the game played in England: "There is a round ball prepared... so that a man may hold it in his hand... The ball is made of wood and boiled in tallow to make it slippery and hard to hold... The ball is called a knappan, and one of the company hurls it into the air... He that gets the ball hurls it towards the goal... the knappan is tossed backwards and forwards... It is a strange sight to see a thousand or fifteen hundred men chasing after the knappan... The gamesters return home from this play with broken heads, black faces, bruised bodies and lame legs... Yet they laugh and joke and tell stories about how they broke their heads... without grudge or hatred."

The gap between the two goals in football games could be several miles. For example, in Ashbourne, Derbyshire, a football game was played annually on Shrove Tuesday. It involved two teams consisting of anyone who lived in the town and the action took place between goals three miles apart.

In 1772 a game in Hitchen resulted in the ball being "drowned for a time in the Priory pond, then forced along Angel Street across the Market Place into the Artichoke beer-house, and finally goaled in the porch of St Mary's Church".

Large football games often took place on Shrove Tuesday. In 1796 it was reported that in Derby, John Snape was "an unfortunate victim to this custom... which is disgraceful to humanity and civilization, subversive of good order and government and destructive to the morals, properties, and lives of our inhabitants."

In the 18th century football was played by most of Britain's leading public schools. There is documentary evidence that football was played at Eton as early as 1747. Westminster started two years later. Harrow, Shrewsbury, Winchester and Charterhouse had all taken up football by the 1750s.

In 1801 Joseph Strutt described the game of football in his book, The Sports and Pastimes of the People of England: "When a match at football is made, two parties, each containing an equal number of competitors, take the field, and stand between two goals, placed at the distance of eighty or an hundred yards the one from the other. The goal is usually made with two sticks driven into the ground, about two or three feet apart. The ball, which is commonly made of a blown bladder, and cased with leather, is delivered in the midst of the ground, and the object of each party is to drive it through the goal of their antagonists, which being achieved the game is won. The abilities of the performers are best displayed in attacking and defending the goals; and hence the pastime was more frequently called a goal at football than a game at football. When the exercise becomes exceeding violent, the players kick each other's shins without the least ceremony, and some of them are overthrown at the hazard of their limbs."

Thomas Arnold was appointed headmaster of Rugby in 1828. He had a profound and lasting effect on the development of public school education in England. Arnold introduced mathematics, modern history and modern languages and instituted the form system and introduced the prefect system to keep discipline. He modernized the teaching of Classics by directing attention to literary, moral or historical questions. Although Arnold held strong views, he made it clear to his students they were not expected to accept those views, but to examine the evidence and to think for themselves.

Arnold also emphasized the importance of sport in young men's education. Like most headteachers in public schools, Arnold believed that sport was a good method for "encouraging senior boys to exercise responsible authority on behalf of the staff". He also argued that games like football provided a "formidable vehicle for character building".

Each school had its own set of rules and style of game. In some schools the ball could be caught, if kicked below the hand or knee. If the ball was caught near the opposing goal, the catcher had the opportunity of scoring, by carrying it through the goal in three standing jumps.

Rugby, Marlborough and Cheltenham developed games that used both hands and feet. The football played at Shrewsbury and Winchester placed an emphasis on kicking and running with the ball (dribbling). School facilities also influenced the rules of these games. Students at Charterhouse played football within the cloisters of the old Carthusian monastery. As space was limited the players depended on dribbling skills. Whereas schools like Eton and Harrow had such large playing fields available that they developed a game that involved kicking the ball long distances.

According to one student at Westminster, the football played at his school was very rough and involved a great deal of physical violence: "When running... the enemy tripped, shinned, charged with the shoulder, got down and sat upon you... in fact did anything short of murder to get the ball from you."

Football games often led to social disorder. As Dave Russell pointed out in Football and the English (1997), football had a "habit of bringing the younger element of the lower orders into public spaces in large numbers were increasingly seen as inappropriate and, indeed, positively dangerous in an age of mass political radicalism and subsequent fear for public order."

Action was taken to stop men playing football in the street. The 1835 Highways Act provided for a fine of 40s for playing "football or any other game on any part of the said highways, to the annoyance of any passenger."

In 1840 soldiers had to be used to stop men playing football in Richmond. Six years later the Riot Act had to be read in Derby and a troop of cavalry was used to disperse the players. There were also serious football disturbances in East Molesey, Hampton and Kingston-upon-Thames.

Although the government disapproved of the working-classes playing football, it continued to be a popular sport in public schools. In 1848 a meeting took place at Cambridge University to lay down the rules of football. As Philip Gibbons points out in Association Football in Victorian England (2001): "The varying rules of the game meant that the public schools were unable to compete against each other." Teachers representing Shrewsbury, Eton, Harrow, Rugby, Marlborough and Westminster, produced what became known as the Cambridge Rules. One participant explained what happened: "I cleared the tables and provided pens and paper... Every man brought a copy of his school rules, or knew them by heart, and our progress in framing new rules was slow."

It was eventually decided that goals would be awarded for balls kicked between the flag posts (uprights) and under the string (crossbar). All players were allowed to catch the ball direct from the foot, provided the catcher kicked it immediately. However, they were forbidden to catch the ball and run with it. Only the goalkeeper was allowed to hold the ball. He could also punch it from anywhere in his own half. Goal kicks and throw-ins took place when the ball went out of play. It was specified that throw-ins were taken with one hand only. It was also decided that players in the same team should wear the same colour cap (red and dark blue).

Sometimes public schools played football against boys from the local town. Although these games often ended in fights, it did help to spread knowledge of Cambridge Rules football. Former public school boys also played football at university. Many continued to play after finishing their education. Some joined clubs like the Old Etonians, Old Harrovians and the Wanderers (a side only open to men who had attended the leading public schools), whereas others formed their own clubs.

Football was a very popular sport in Sheffield and in 1857 a group of men established the Sheffield Football Club at Bramall Lane. It is believed to be the first football club in the world. Two former Harrow students, Nathaniel Creswick and William Prest, published their own set of rules for football. These new rules allowed for more physical contact than those established by some of the public schools. Players were allowed to push opponents off the ball with their hands. It was also within the rules to shoulder charge players, with or without the ball. If a goalkeeper caught the ball, he could be barged over the line. At first the Sheffield Club played friendly games against teams in London and Nottingham.

On 29th December, 1862, Sheffield played Hallam in a football charity game. It was one of the first-ever football games to be recorded in a newspaper. The Sheffield Independent reported: "At one time it appeared that the match would be turned into a general fight. Major Creswick had got the ball away and was struggling against great odds - Mr Shaw and Mr Waterfall (of Hallam). Major Creswick was held by Waterfall and in the struggle Waterfall was accidentally hit by the Major. All parties agreed that the hit was accidental. Waterfall, however, ran at the Major in the most irritable manner, and struck him several times. He also threw off his waistcoat and began to show fight in earnest. Major Creswick, who preserved his temper admirably, did not return a single blow."

The following week a letter appeared in The Sheffield Independent defending the actions of William Waterfall: "The unfair report in your paper of the... football match played on the Bramall Lane ground between the Sheffield and Hallam Football Clubs calls for a hearing from the other side. We have nothing to say about the result - there was no score - but to defend the character and behaviour of our respected player, Mr William Waterfall, by detailing the facts as they occurred between him and Major Creswick. In the early part of the game, Waterfall charged the Major, on which the Major threatened to strike him if he did so again. Later in the game, when all the players were waiting a decision of the umpires, the Major, very unfairly, took the ball from the hands of one of our players and commenced kicking it towards their goal. He was met by Waterfall who charged him and the Major struck Waterfall on the face, which Waterfall immediately returned."

In 1862 a new set of rules were established at Cambridge University. These specified 11-a-side, an umpire from each side plus a neutral referee, goals 12ft across and up to 20ft high. An offside rule was added. A man could play a ball passed to him from behind, so long as there were three opponents between him and the goal. It was also decided that each game should only last one hour and a quarter. The first game under these rules took place between the Old Etonians and Old Harrovians in November, 1862.

Some public schools refused to accept the Cambridge Rules. At Uppingham School in Rutland, the students played with an enormously wide goal. In 1862, one of the teachers at Uppingham, John Charles Thring, published his own set of rules:

1. A goal is scored whenever the ball is forced through the goal and under the bar, except it be thrown by hand.

2. Hands may be used only to stop a ball and place it on the ground before the feet.

3. Kicks must be aimed only at the ball.

4. A player may not kick the ball whilst in the air.

5. No tripping up or heel kicking allowed.

6. Whenever a ball is kicked beyond the side flags, it must be returned by the player who kicked it, from the spot it passed the flag line, in a straight line towards the middle of the ground.

7. When a ball is kicked behind the line of goal, it shall be kicked off from that line by one of the side whose goal it is.

8. No player may stand within six paces of the kicker when he is kicking off.

9. A player is ‘out of play’ immediately he is in front of the ball and must return behind the ball as soon as possible. If the ball is kicked by his own side past a player, he may not touch or kick it, or advance, until one of the other side has first kicked it, or one of his own side has been able to kick it on a level with, or in front of him.

10. No charging allowed when a player is ‘out of play’; that is, immediately the ball is behind him.

Thring published his rules under the title, The Simplest Game. Some teachers liked this non-violent approach and several schools adopted Thring's rules.

The Football Association was established in October, 1863. The aim of the FA was to establish a single unifying code for football. The first meeting took place at the Freeman's Tavern in London. The clubs represented at the meeting included Barnes, Blackheath, Perceval House, Kensington School, the War Office, Crystal Palace, Forest (later known as the Wanderers), the Crusaders and No Names of Kilburn. Charterhouse also sent an observer to the meeting.

Percy Young, has pointed out, that the FA was a group of men from the upper echelons of British society: "Men of prejudice, seeing themselves as patricians, heirs to the doctrine of leadership and so law-givers by at least semi-divine right."

Ebenezer Cobb Morley was elected as the secretary of the FA. At a meeting on 24th November, 1863, Morley presented a draft set of 23 rules. These were based on an amalgamation of rules played by public schools, universities and football clubs. This included provision for running with the ball in the hands if a catch had been taken "on the full" or on the first bounce. Players were allowed to "hack the front of the leg" of the opponent when they were running with the ball. Two of the proposed rules caused heated debate:

IX. A player shall be entitled to run with the ball towards his adversaries' goal if he makes a fair catch, or catches the ball on the first bound; but in case of a fair catch, if he makes his mark (to take a free kick) he shall not run.

X. If any player shall run with the ball towards his adversaries' goal, any player on the opposite side shall be at liberty to charge, hold, trip or hack him, or to wrest the ball from him, but no player shall be held and hacked at the same time.

Some members objected to these two rules as they considered them to be "uncivilised". Others believed that charging, hacking and tripping were important ingredients of the game. One supporter of hacking argued that without it "you will do away with the courage and pluck of the game, and it will be bound to bring over a lot of Frenchmen who would beat you with a week's practice." The main defender of hacking was F. W. Campbell, the representative from Blackheath, who considered this aspect of the game was vital in developing "masculine toughness". Campbell added that "hacking is the true football" and he resigned from the FA when the vote went against him (13-4). He later helped to form the rival Rugby Football Union. On 8th December, 1863, the FA published the Laws of Football.

1. The maximum length of the ground shall be 200 yards, the maximum breadth shall be 100 yards, the length and breadth shall be marked off with flags; and the goal shall be defined by two upright posts, eight yards apart, without any tape or bar across them.

2. A toss for goals shall take place, and the game shall be commenced by a place kick from the centre of the ground by the side losing the toss for goals; the other side shall not approach within 10 yards of the ball until it is kicked off.

3. After a goal is won, the losing side shall be entitled to kick off, and the two sides shall change goals after each goal is won.

4. A goal shall be won when the ball passes between the goal-posts or over the space between the goal-posts (at whatever height), not being thrown, knocked on, or carried.

5. When the ball is in touch, the first player who touches it shall throw it from the point on the boundary line where it left the ground in a direction at right angles with the boundary line, and the ball shall not be in play until it has touched the ground.

6. When a player has kicked the ball, any one of the same side who is nearer to the opponent's goal line is out of play, and may not touch the ball himself, nor in any way whatever prevent any other player from doing so, until he is in play; but no player is out of play when the ball is kicked off from behind the goal line.

7. In case the ball goes behind the goal line, if a player on the side to whom the goal belongs first touches the ball, one of his side shall he entitled to a free kick from the goal line at the point opposite the place where the ball shall be touched. If a player of the opposite side first touches the ball, one of his side shall be entitled to a free kick at the goal only from a point 15 yards outside the goal line, opposite the place where the ball is touched, the opposing side standing within their goal line until he has had his kick.

8. If a player makes a fair catch, he shall be entitled to a free kick, providing he claims it by making a mark with his heel at once; and in order to take such kick he may go back as far as he pleases, and no player on the opposite side shall advance beyond his mark until he has kicked.

9. No player shall run with the ball.

10. Neither tripping nor hacking shall be allowed, and no player shall use his hands to hold or push his adversary.

11. A player shall not be allowed to throw the ball or pass it to another with his hands.

12. No player shall be allowed to take the ball from the ground with his hands under any pretence whatever while it is in play.

13. No player shall be allowed to wear projecting nails, iron plates, or gutta-percha on the soles or heels of his boots.

In 1866 the offside rule was altered to allow a player to be onside when three of opposing team are nearer their own goal-line. Three years later the kick-out rule was altered and goal-kicks were introduced.

Archie Hunter, who played football in Scotland in the late 1860s, later explained that "football in those days was very different to what it is now or ever will be again. There were no particular rules and we played pretty much as we liked; but we thought we were playing the Rugby game, of course, because the Association hadn't started then. It didn't matter as long as we got goals; and besides, we only played with one another, picking sides among ourselves and having friendly matches in the playground. Such as it was though, I got to like the game immensely, and I spent as much time as I could kicking the leather."

In 1871, Charles W. Alcock, the Secretary of the Football Association, announced the introduction of the Football Association Challenge Cup. It was the first knockout competition of its type in the world. Only 12 clubs took part in the competition: Wanderers, Royal Engineers, Hitchin, Queens Park, Barnes, Civil Service, Crystal Palace, Hampstead Heathens, Great Marlow, Upton Park, Maidenhead and Clapham Rovers.

Many clubs did not enter for financial reasons. All ties had to be played in London. Clubs based in places such as Nottingham and Sheffield found it difficult to find the money to travel to the capital. Each club also had to contribute one guinea towards the cost of the £20 silver trophy.

The Wanderers won the 1872 final. They also won it the following season with with Arthur Kinnaird getting one of the goals. Other winners of the competition included Oxford University (1874), Royal Engineers (1875), Old Etonians (1879 and 1882) and Old Carthusians (1881).

Charles W. Alcock, the Secretary of the Football Association, was the dominant figure in the early days of the game. As he pointed out: "What was ten or fifteen years ago the recreation of a few has now become the pursuit of thousands. An athletic exercise carried on under a strict system and in many cases by an enforced term of training, almost magnified into a profession."

According to Frederick Wall, the Royal Engineers pioneered the passing game at a time when most clubs placed an emphasis on the long-ball or dribbling. To popularize football, the club toured the industrial areas of England. This included playing games in Derby, Nottingham and Sheffield.

In the early part of the 19th century footballs were leather-covered bladders. There were experiments with balls made of natural rubber but they bounced too high to be used in football matches. In 1830 Charles Macintosh discovered a way of producing thin rubber sheets. This enabled the production of inflatable rubber bladders for leather footballs.

During this period footballers wore any pair of leather boots in their possession. Some players nailed bits of leather to their soles to give them a better grip during games. In 1863 the Football Association introduced Rule 13 that stated: "No one wearing projecting nails, iron plates or gutta percha on the soles of his boots is allowed to play."

The Football Association decided in 1872 that the football should be spherical with a circumference of 68 centimetres. It also had to be cased in leather and had to be weighed between 453 and 396 grams at the start of a game. As pointed out by The Encyclopedia of British Football: "On wet days the ball grew increasingly heavy as the leather soaked up large amounts of liquid. This, together with the lacing that protected the valve of the bladder, made heading the ball not only unpleasant but also painful and dangerous."

The 1870s saw several changes to Football Association rules. In 1870 eleven-a-side games were introduced with the addition of a goalkeeper. In 1872 the FA published an updated set of laws. This made it clear that "a goal shall be won when the ball passes between the goal posts under the tape, not being thrown, knocked on, or carried." The new rules clearly distinguished between goalkeepers and other players: "A player shall not throw the ball nor pass it to another except in the case of the goalkeeper, who shall be allowed to use his hands for the protection of his goal... No player shall carry or knock on the ball; nor shall any player handle the ball under any pretence whatever."

1871 also saw the introduction of umpires and a neutral referee. Both sides were allowed to appoint an umpire to whom players could appeal to about incidents that took place on the pitch. However, the FA rule now stated: "Any point on which the umpires cannot agree shall be decided by the referee".

The FA Cup helped to popularize the game of football. Up until this competition only fifty clubs were members of the Football Association and played by their rules. This included teams who played as far away as Lincoln, Oxford and York. The main rival to the FA was the 26-member Sheffield Association. Other football clubs were totally independent and played by their own set of rules. In 1877 the clubs in Sheffield decided to join the FA and by 1881 its membership had risen to 128.

The FA continued to adapt the rules of the game. In 1881 the Football Association introduced a law that stated that if a player was "guilty of ungentlemanly behaviour the referee could rule offending players out of play and order them off the ground." If a player was sent off they were usually suspended for a month without pay.

In 1882 all clubs had to provide crossbars. Ten years later goal nets became compulsory. This reduced the number of disputes as to whether the ball had crossed the goal-line or passed between the posts.

In January, 1884, Preston North End played the London side, Upton Park, in the FA Cup. After the game Upton Park complained to the Football Association that Preston was a professional, rather than an amateur team. Major William Sudell, the secretary/manager of Preston North End admitted that his players were being paid but argued that this was common practice and did not breach regulations. However, the FA disagreed and expelled them from the competition.

It was well-known that Sudell improved the quality of the team by importing top players from other areas. This included several players from Scotland. As well as paying them money for playing for the team, Sudell also found them highly paid work in Preston.

Preston North End now joined forces with other clubs who were paying their players, such as Aston Villa and Sunderland. In October, 1884, these clubs threatened to form a break-away British Football Association. The Football Association responded by establishing a sub-committee, which included William Sudell, to look into this issue. On 20th July, 1885, the FA announced that it was "in the interests of Association Football, to legalise the employment of professional football players, but only under certain restrictions". Clubs were allowed to pay players provided that they had either been born or had lived for two years within a six-mile radius of the ground.

Blackburn Rovers immediately registered as a professional club. Their accounts show that they spent a total of £615 on the payment of wages during the 1885-86 season. It was revealed that top players such as James Forrest and Joseph Lofthouse were being paid £1 a week.

In 1887 Sunderland beat Middlesbrough 4-2 in an early round of the FA Cup. Middlesbrough protested that three of Sunderland's players (Monaghan, Hastings and Richardson) were living in Scotland and was lodged at the Royal Hotel at the club's expense. In January 1888, the Football Association examined the Sunderland books and discovered "a payment of thirty shillings in the cash book to Hastings, Monaghan and Richardson for train fares from Dumfries to Sunderland". Sunderland was kicked out of the FA Cup and ordered to pay the expenses of the inquiry. The three players concerned were each suspended from football in England for three months.

The decision to pay players increased club's wage bills. It was therefore necessary to arrange more matches that could be played in front of large crowds. On 2nd March, 1888, William McGregor circulated a letter to Aston Villa, Blackburn Rovers, Bolton Wanderers, Preston North End, and West Bromwich Albion suggesting that "ten or twelve of the most prominent clubs in England combine to arrange home and away fixtures each season."

John J. Bentley of Bolton Wanderers and Tom Mitchell of Blackburn Rovers responded very positively to the suggestion. They suggested that other clubs should be invited to the meeting being held on 23rd March, 1888. This included Accrington, Burnley, Derby County, Notts County, Stoke, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Old Carthusians, and Everton should be invited to the meeting.

The following month the Football League was formed. It consisted of six clubs from Lancashire (Preston North End, Accrington, Blackburn Rovers, Burnley, Bolton Wanderers and Everton) and six from the Midlands (Aston Villa, Derby County, Notts County, Stoke, West Bromwich Albion and Wolverhampton Wanderers). The main reason Sunderland was excluded was because the other clubs in the league objected to the costs of travelling to the North-East. McGregor also wanted to restrict the league to twelve clubs. Therefore, the applications of Sheffield Wednesday, Nottingham Forest, Darwen and Bootle were rejected.

The first season of the Football League began in September, 1888. Preston North End won the first championship that year without losing a single match and acquired the name the "Invincibles". Eighteen wins and four draws gave them a 11 point lead at the top of the table. The top goal scorers were John Goodall (21), Jimmy Ross (18), Fred Dewhurst (12) and John Gordon (10).

Major William Sudell, had persuaded some of the best players in England, Scotland and Wales to join Preston: John Goodall, Jimmy Ross, Nick Ross, David Russell, John Gordon, John Graham, Robert Mills-Roberts, James Trainer, Samuel Thompson and George Drummond. He also recruited some outstanding local players, including Bob Holmes, Robert Howarth and Fred Dewhurst. As well as paying them money for playing for the team, Sudell also found them highly paid work in Preston.

Preston North End also beat Wolverhampton Wanderers 3-0 to win the 1889 FA Cup Final. Preston won the competition without conceding a single goal. The club also won the league the following season. However, other teams began to employ the same tactics as Major William Sudell. Clubs like Derby County, Everton, Sunderland, Aston Villa, and Wolverhampton Wanderers had more money at their disposal and could pay higher wages than Preston. Over the next couple of years Preston lost all their best players and they were never to win the league title again.

Preston North End also won the league the following season. This time it was much closer as they only beat Everton by one point. James Trainer, John Gordon and David Russell appeared in all 22 league games and Jimmy Ross and George Drummond only missed one game.

It was the last time that Preston was to win the Football League. They finished second to Everton (1890-91) and Sunderland (1892-93) but after that they ceased to become a major force in the game. Preston's top players were persuaded to sign for other clubs: John Goodall (Derby County), Jimmy Ross (Liverpool), Nick Ross (Everton), David Russell (Nottingham Forest), Samuel Thompson (Wolverhampton Wanderers), whereas Bob Holmes, George Drummond, Robert Mills-Roberts, James Trainer and John Graham retired from full-time professional football.

In the 1880s football was introduced into most state schools. It could be played on any hard surface and that was especially attractive to those schools that did not have access to playing fields. As a high percentage of the children were physically underdeveloped and undernourished, soccer was considered to be more suitable than rugby.

The game was encouraged by the ruling class. In 1881 Sir Watkin Williams-Wynn, MP for Denbighshire, argued: "Much has been said of the British spending their time on drinking... These kinds of sports... keep young men from wasting their time... after playing a good game of football... young men are more glad to go to bed then visiting the public house."

In 1888 it was reported that Nick Ross was receiving £10 a month after he was transferred from Preston North End to Everton. It is estimated that this was nearly twice that of most top players. By the early 1890s leading clubs such as Aston Villa, Newcastle United and Sunderland were paying their best players £5 a week.

In September, 1893, Derby County proposed that the Football League should impose a maximum wage of £4 a week. At the time, most players were only part-time professionals and still had other jobs. These players did not receive as much as £4 a week and therefore the matter did not greatly concern them. However, a minority of players, were so good they were able to obtain as much as £10 a week. This proposal posed a serious threat to their income.

The role of the referee changed in 1891. He moved onto the pitch from the touchline and took complete control of the game. The umpires now became linesmen. 1891 also saw the introduction of the penalty kick. As Dave Russell has pointed out in Football and the English (1997) that this new rule "bitterly upset many amateurs, who argued that the new legislation assumed that footballers could be capable of cheating."

The shoulder charge was still an important part of the game. This could be used against players even if they did not have the ball. As a result, goalkeepers tended to punch the ball a great deal. Until 1892 keepers could be challenged even when they were not holding the ball.

A report published by The Lancet on 24th March 1894 pointed out the dangers of playing football. The doctor who wrote the article warned about the practice of charging a man trying to head a football: "To smash cruelly into him and knock him over unnecessarily and perhaps savagely is clearly a brutality and perhaps savagely is clearly a brutality which is permitted by the rules."

On 23rd November 1896, Joseph Powell of Arsenal went to kick a high ball during a game against Kettering Town. His foot caught on the shoulder of an opponent and Powell fell and broke his arm. One of the men who went to his aid fainted at the sight of the protruding bone. Infection set in and, despite amputation above the elbow, Powell died a few days later when just twenty-six years of age.

The Lancet continued to record details of these incidents and in an article published on 22nd April 1899 that over the last eight years around 96 men had died while playing football and rugby.

In the 19th century it cost 6d to watch a Football League match. This was expensive when you compare this with the price of other forms of entertainment. It usually cost only 3d to visit the musical hall or the cinema. It has to be remembered that at this time skilled tradesmen usually received less than £2 a week.

As Dave Russell points out in Football and the English: A Social History of Association Football in England (1997): "In terms of social class, crowds at Football League matches were predominantly drawn from the skilled working and lower-middle classes... Social groups below that level were largely excluded by the admission price." Russell adds "the Football League, quite possibly in a deliberate attempt to limit the access of poorer (and this supposedly "rowdier") supporters, raised the minimum adult male admission price to 6d".

Men also had the problem of having to work on a Saturday. Although some trades granted their workers a half-day holiday, it did not give them much time to travel very far to see a game. Even a local game caused considerable problems. For example, West Ham United played Brentford in an important game at the end of the 1897-98 season. A local newspaper reported that because of the inadequate transport system supporters had to travel by boat from Ironworks Wharf along the Thames to Kew before catching a train to Brentford. Given these transport problems, it is no surprise that the game was watched by only 3,000 people.

In September, 1898, the South Essex Gazette reported that in a game against Brentford, two West Ham United players, George Gresham and Sam Hay, "bundled the goalkeeper into the net whilst he had the ball in his hands". The goal stood because this action was within the rules at the time.

Law 8 of the Football Association stated: "The goalkeeper may, within his own half of the field of play, use his hands, but shall not carry the ball." Leigh Roose, who began playing for Aberystwyth Townin the North Wales Combination League, in 1894, developed a strategy that was within the law but greatly increased the effectiveness of the goalkeeper. Roose began to bounce the ball up to the half-way line before launching an attack with a long kick or a good throw. As Spencer Vignes points out in his book on Roose: "This was perfectly within the letter of the law, though few goalkeepers risked doing it for fear of either leaving their goal unattended or being streamrollered by a centre-forward. It became a highly effective, direct way of launching attacks and Leigh used it to his side's advantage whenever possible."

Leigh Roose, who went on to play for Stoke City, Everton, Sunderland, Celtic, Huddersfield Town, Aston Villa and Arsenal, influenced a whole generation of goalkeepers. For example, Tommy Moore, who played for West Ham United, between 1898 to 1901, often moved up field and started an attack by punching the ball into the opposition half. In a game against Chesham, the game was so one-sided that Moore spent most of the game on the offensive. As the local newspaper reported: "Moore had so little to do that he often left his goal unprotected and played up with the forwards."

It was the railways that eventually provided cheap and fast travel for football supporters. Over 114,000 people watched Tottenham Hotspur play Sheffield United in the 1901 FA Cup. It has been estimated that a large percentage of the crowd travelled to Crystal Palace Stadium via the London & Brighton Railway and Great Northern Railway.

When Chelsea was formed in 1905 it chose Stamford Bridge as its home as it was close to Waltham Green station (now Fulham Broadway). Tottenham Hotspur benefited from its closeness to White Hart Lane railway station. It has been argued that "10,000 spectators could be easily handled by trains arriving every five minutes".

In 1906 a railway station at Ashton Gate was opened to enable people to travel to the Bristol City ground. Manchester United moved to Old Trafford in 1909 to take advantage of the railway network established for the nearby cricket ground. One of the main reasons Arsenal moved to Highbury was because it was served by the London Underground station at Gillespie Road (later renamed Arsenal).

Most experts consider Leigh Roose as the best goalkeeper during the period leading up to the First World War. Frederick Wall, the Secretary of the Football Association described Roose as "a sensation... a clever man who had what is sometimes described as the eccentricity of genius. His daring was seen in the goal, where he was often taking risks and emerging triumphant." Rouse was an entertainer, who carried out pranks to get laughs. This included sitting on the crossbar at half-time.

The Bristol Times reported that: "Few men exhibit their personality so vividly in their play as L. R. Roose.... He rarely stands listlessly by the goalpost even when the ball is at the other end of the enclosure, but is ever following the play keenly and closely. Directly his charge is threatened, he is on the move. He thinks nothing of dashing out 10 or 15 yards, even when his backs have as good a chance of clearing as he makes for himself. He will also rush along the touchline, field the ball and get in a kick too, to keep the game going briskly."

Leigh Roose played like a modern "sweeper" and spent much of his time outside his penalty area. He later wrote about this strategy: "A goalkeeper should take in the position (of the opposing players) at once and... if deemed necessary, come out of his goal immediately. He must be regardless of personal consequences and, if necessary, go head first into a pack into which many men would hesitate to insert a foot, and take the consequent greulling like a Spartan." He added that "the reason why goalkeepers don't come out of the goal more often is their regard for personal consequences." Roose pointed out a good goalkeeper should not "keep goal on the usual stereotype lines... and is at liberty to cultivate originally". According to Roose: "players with the intelligence to devise a new move or system, and application to carry it out, will go far."

In his roundup of the 1901-02 season, the football journalist, James Catton, described Leigh Roose in Athletic News as "the Prince of Goalkeepers". This was a term that had previously been used to describe Teddy Doig. Roose in fact replaced Doig as Sunderland's goalkeeper in 1908. Leigh Roose soon become a strong favourite with the Sunderland fans. They liked the way he set up attacks by running out to the half-way line. Roose told a journalist that he was surprised that not more goalkeepers did not follow his example: "The law states that any (goalkeeper) is free to run over half of the field of play before ridding themselves of the ball. This not only helps to puzzle the attacking forwards, but to build the foundations for swift, incisive counter-attacking play. Why then do so few make use of it?"

George Holley, who played for Sunderland with Roose later explained why this strategy was not followed by many other goalkeepers. "He was the only one who did it because he was the only one who could kick or throw a ball that accurately over long distances, giving himself time to return to his goal without fear of conceding."

Several clubs complained to the Football Association about Roose's strategy. Several committee members felt that Roose was ruining the game as a spectacle by his ability to break up creative and attacking play. However, they could not agree about what to do about it.

In June 1912 the Football Association finally decided to change Law 8 that stated: "The goalkeeper may, within his own half of the field of play, use his hands, but shall not carry the ball." It now read: "The goalkeeper may, within his own penalty area, use his hands, but shall not carry the ball." In other words, if a goalkeeper wanted to move around his penalty area while handling the ball, he had to bounce rather than carry it as he went. He was also not allowed to handle the ball outside the penalty area.

In 1923 the FA Cup was moved to Wembley. The ground had been built for the British Empire Exhibition and had excellent railway links. Over 270,000 people travelled in 145 special services to the final that featured West Ham United and Bolton.

The railways had a considerable impact on the attendances of international matches. Only 1,000 people from Scotland travelled to watch the game against England at Crystal Palace in 1897. However, for the match at Wembley in 1936, 22,000 Scots came to London in 41 trains provided by the London Midland and Scottish Railway.

After lunch all the youth of the city go out into the fields to take part in the famous game of ball. The students of each school have their own ball; the workers from each city craft are also carrying their balls. Older citizens, fathers, and wealthy citizens come on horseback to watch their juniors competing, and to relive their own youth vicariously: you can see their inner passions aroused as they watch the action and get caught up in the fun being had by the carefree adolescents.

There is a round ball prepared... without grudge or hatred."

Lord remove these exercises from the Sabbath. Any exercise which withdraweth from godliness, either upon the Sabbath or any other day, is wicked and to be forbidden. Now who is so grossly blind that seeth not that these aforesaid exercises not only withdraw us from godliness and virtue, but also hail and allure us to wickedness and sin? For as concerning football playing I protest unto you that it may rather be called a friendly kind of fight than a play or recreation - a bloody and murdering practice than a fellow sport or pastime. For doth not everyone lye in wait for his adversary, seeking to overthrow him and punch him on his nose, though it may be on hard stones, on ditch or dale, on valley or hill, or whatever place so ever it be he care not, so he have him down; and that he can serve the most of this fashion he is counted the only fellow, and who but he? So that by this means sometimes their necks are broken, sometimes their backs, sometimes their legs, sometimes their arms, sometimes their noses gush out with blood, sometimes their eyes start out, and sometimes hurt in one place, sometimes in another... sometimes fighting, murder and a great loss of blood.

The lower classes divert themselves at football, wrestling, cudgels, nine-pins, shovelboard, cricket, stowball, ringing of bells, quoits, pitching the bar, bull and bear baitings, throwing at cocks and lying at ale-houses.

Football is so called because the ball is driven about with the feet instead of the hands. It was formerly much in vogue among the common people of England, though of late years it seems to have fallen into disrepute, and is but little practised. I cannot pretend to determine at what period the game of football originated; it does not, however, to the best of my recollection, appear among the popular exercises before the reign of Edward III, and then, in 1349, it was prohibited by a public edict; not, perhaps, from any particular objection to the sport in itself, but because it co-operated, with other favourite amusements, to impede the progress of archery.

When a match at football is made, two parties, each containing an equal number of competitors, take the field, and stand between two goals, placed at the distance of eighty or an hundred yards the one from the other. When the exercise becomes exceeding violent, the players kick each other's shins without the least ceremony, and some of them are overthrown at the hazard of their limbs.

1. The kick off from the middle must be a place kick.

2. Kick Out must not be from more than twenty-five yards out of goal.

3. Fair catch is a catch direct from the foot of the opposite side and entitles a free kick.

4. Charging is fair in case of a place kick (with the exception of a kick off as soon as a player offers to kick) but he may always draw back unless he has actually touched the ball with his foot.

5. No pushing with the hands or hacking, or tripping up is fair under any circumstances whatsoever.

6. Knocking or pushing on the ball is altogether disallowed. The side breaking the rule forfeits a free kick to the opposite side.

7. No player may be held or pulled over.

8. It is not lawful to take the ball off the ground (except in touch) for any purpose whatever.

9. If the ball be bouncing it may be stopped by the hand, not pushed or hit, but if the ball is rolling it may not be stopped except by the foot.

10. No goal may be kicked from touch, nor by a free kick from a fair catch.

11. A ball in touch is dead, consequently the side that touches it down must bring it to the edge of the touch and throw it straight out from touch.

12. Each player must provide himself with a red and dark blue flannel cap, one colour to be worn by each side.

Hallam played with great determination. They appeared to have many partisans present, and when they succeeded in "downing" a man their ardent friends were more noisily jubilant.

At one time it appeared that the match would be turned into a general fight. He also "threw off his waistcoat" and began to "show fight" in earnest. Major Creswick, who preserved his temper admirably, did not return a single blow.

There were a few who seemed to rejoice that the Major had been hit and were just as ready to "Hallam" it. We understand that many of the Sheffield players deprecated - and we think not without reason - the long interval in the middle of the game that was devoted to refreshments.

The unfair report in your paper of the... He was met by Waterfall who charged him and the Major struck Waterfall on the face, which Waterfall immediately returned.

I was christened in the courthouse of the prison because at that time the church was undergoing repairs and could not be used for the ceremony. Not far from Joppa my father had a farm, but he died while I was too young to remember him; and before I was many years older the family removed to Ayr, where I was sent to school. My three brothers - all dead now - were athletes, and I suppose the love of good, hearty games ran in our blood. The excellent country air, and the rural life we led, gave us plenty of strength and fitted us for out-door sports.

It wasn't long before I was playing football at school with the other lads; but football in those days was very different to what it is now or ever will be again. Such as it was though, I got to like the game immensely, and I spent as much time as I could kicking the leather. We were a merry lot, but by and by I had to leave school while I was still very young, and I was rather sorry, I can assure you.

I was sorry to go, but I wanted to continue playing, so I joined the Ayr Star Football Club, which was then a Rugby Union team and for a short time I played the strict Rugby game. After playing the season under the Rugby rules we held a meeting, not, as you might think, in some comfortable room, but under the blue canopy of heaven, and by lamp-light; and after considerable discussion we determined to alter the name of the club from the 'Star' to the 'Thistle'. But there was soon to be a great change. The Queen's Park, the leading club in Scotland, adopted the Association rules almost as soon as they were made and of course, most of the other clubs began to follow the example. The 'Thistle' Club was one of them. I had only played in two matches under the old code, officiating as full back... but now we began to practise dribbling...

And we went in for the new game with enthusiasm, I can tell you. Every other night saw us in hard training, and we learnt the art of working well together. In my opinion that is the secret of success. Good combination on the part of the players is greatly to be preferred to the muscular powers of one or two of them. Strength has got very little chance against science.

Some seventy years ago those who played Association football in England were generally regarded as harmless lunatics. Men shrugged their shoulders and said: "If they hurt anybody it will only be themselves, and the fewer lunatics the better." That is an impression given me by a man who was enjoying a football frolic when I was a child.

It seems to me as if football has always had detractors and scoffers. Royalty, Parliament, bishops and puritans for centuries tried to prevent the rough revels of parish against parish, when the playing area was a large track of country and town, with a millwheel and a church-door, miles apart, as the goals! An encounter of this character would frighten most modern players.

Possibly these rude games were the forerunners of the football that the old-foundation public schools developed according to the size and nature of their playgrounds. All the various rules of these schools were carefully considered by a body of gentlemen at Cambridge University.

These enthusiasts, trying to work out a code that all could play under, whatever may have been their school, produced a set of rules or laws of play that the Football Association, founded in 1863, took as a model for the game they wished to popularize.

It is not necessary to enlarge this summary by details. Suffice it to say that the parent body, as it is now called, gradually evolved the laws under which most civilized nations now play what I like to speak of as "our game."

During the fifty years from 1863 to 1913 this form made a great advance and became the national winter game of all Britain.

The influence of Ramsay, then Hunter, led Villa to develop an intricate passing game, a revolutionary move for an English club in the late 1870s. It was a style of play modelled on that which was prevalent in Scotland at the time which was prevalent in Scotland at the time and which had been pioneered by Queen's Park, the Glasgow side. This type of sophisticated teamwork had rarely been employed in England. Instead, individuals would try to take the ball as far as they could on their own until stopped by an opponent.

Those who wished to encourage sporting activity among working people, the ex-public-school men keen to tackle the problems of industrial Britain, needed a point of entry to a social world which was often distant and generally alien. One of the most useful means of approaching working-class life was via the Church, of all denominations. Of course among many of the clergy belief in athleticism was almost as striking as their belief in God (one prominent headmaster had said, "the Laws of physical well-being are the laws of God"). Few doubted the needs for large-scale recreation as part of the Churches' solution to the nation's ills. Clergymen seized on football as an ideal way of combating urban degeneracy. Robust games could, they believed, bring strength, health and a host of qualities badly needed by deprived working people - especially the young. As a result, working-class churches began to spawn football teams in the years immediately following the concession of free Saturday afternoons in local industries. Liverpool, which before the turn of the century was to establish itself as the footballing centre of England, was later than other cities in turning to the game, but when, in 1878, local teams began to form, they sprang most notably from churches, headed by St Domingo's, St Peter's, Everton United Church and St Mary's, Kirkdale. As late as 1885, twenty-five of the 112 football clubs in Liverpool had religious connections. Similar patterns emerged in other cities. In Birmingham in 1880, eighty-three of the 344 clubs (some twenty-four per cent) were connected to churches. Indeed many of today's famous clubs began life as church teams. Aston Villa originated in 1874 from members of the Villa Cross Wesleyan Chapel who already played cricket but wanted a winter sport. Birmingham City began life as Small Heath Alliance, organized by members of Trinity Church in 1875. Some years before, pupils and teachers of Christ Church, Bolton, formed a football club. In 1887 they took the name Bolton Wanderers. Blackpool FC emerged from an older team based on the local St John's Church. Similarly, Everton started life in 1878 as St Domingo's Church Sunday School (and later produced an offshoot which became Liverpool FC). In 1880 men at St Andrew's Sunday School, West Kensington, organized a football team which later became Fulham FC. Members of the young men's association at St Mary's Church, Southampton, formed a team in 1885, changing the name to that of the present professional club in 1897. In Swindon, the local football team owed its origins to the work of the Revd W. Pitt in 1881. A year later members of the Burnley YMCA turned to football. Boys at St Luke's Church, Blakenhall, formed a football team in 1877, later taking the name Wolverhampton Wanderers. These surviving professional teams constitute only a small minority of the thousands of teams founded in the 1870s and 1880s from church organisations (often with the local vicar or curate as a player).

It might seem a contradictory point to note that one of the other main institutions which spawned football teams in these years was the local pub. This, after all, had been the traditional centre for a host of plebeian pleasures for centuries past. Pubs offered a place to meet, somewhere to change, a venue for news and information; a place where teams, management and supporters convened (much in fact as they still do throughout Britain).

"I believe that all right-minded people have good reason to thank God for the great progress of this popular national game." Those words were spoken by the legendary Lord Arthur Kinnaird, the holder of the still unbeaten record of nine FA Cup Final appearances and the longest serving chairman in the FAs history.

Kinnaird, one of the leading Christian figures of the late Victorian era, would not have spoken those words lightly. As one of the pioneers at the forefront of football's amazing development from an amateur sport played by a small number of well-to-do enthusiasts to the country's national game enjoyed by countless thousands, he was able to look back with gratitude on all that had been achieved and thank God for it.

Remarkably, of the 39 clubs that have played in the FA Premier League since its inception in the 1992-93 season, 12 also have good reason to take Lord Kinnaird's words to heart - they owe their very existence to churches. But these same clubs know very little about the circumstances that led to their birth or the people involved. This is hardly surprising in view of the fact that church teams, when they started, were the equivalent of today's public parks teams and did not keep extensive records of their activities. How could they possibly have guessed that one day they would become famous and that details about their founders, match results, players' records, minutes of early meetings, etc., would be of enormous interest to thousands of their future supporters? Furthermore, much of the limited source material that was once available has since been irretrievably lost through fire or neglect.

I am convinced that it (football) will maintain its position as the most popular game in this country and that it will remain at the head of scientific sports. There is one enthusiasm for cricket and another for football and the enthusiasm for the latter game appears to me to be excited by deeper and heartier feelings. At all events I have no fear that football will decline, though I am sorry that it is so largely maintained by the professional element. Speaking as a professional myself, I may say that I can only look upon professionalism as an unavoidable misfortune. While it is of immense assistance to the game in many respects, it appears to me that it lowers its character and I myself should have felt happier very often if I could have continued to play as an amateur and so regarded the game as a game and not as a business. However, this is a matter for the Association to deal with.

I should like, as one who has been credited with some success in dealing with a football team, to offer a little advice to captains - to those who are not accustomed to their duties yet, or who may be called upon at some future time to assume the position. First and foremost I would impress this upon them - treat the players as men and not as schoolboys. I have seen a great deal of mischief resulting from neglect to do this. When the players are only treated as boys they are apt to regard themselves as boys and act accordingly. They become selfish, obstinate and quarrelsome, turn sulky if they are displeased, or wrangle with one another on the field. Insubordination can never be provided against unless every player is made to feel that he will be called to account as a man and I am certain that this system works well.

Then let all prejudices be avoided. I have known Scotchmen or Welshmen disliked by Englishmen simply on account of their nationality and I have known Scotchmen and Welshmen act just in the same way towards Englishmen. Now these prejudices ought to be stamped out. The team, however it is composed, must play as a team and not as a gathering of different men out of harmony with each other. I always tried to foster good feeling in Aston Villa and I think we were one of the merriest and happiest teams in the country. For myself I never bothered my head about the country a man came from and as long as we had good players and good fellows among us, it mattered not whether they were English, Scotch or Welsh.

As to guiding the players, I think a captain should make it one of the first rules that every man should get into the habit of defending his position. I greatly dislike to see men scampering wildly over the field, leaving their places unprotected, forgetting their own particular duty and doing another man's work. If a man is playing back let him remember that and single out his opponent and be prepared to tackle him whenever the opportunity arises. We won the match with the West Bromwich Albion through sticking to this plan and I think many more matches would be more evenly contested if the custom were more generally adopted.

The greatest mistake which players are in the habit of making and one which I most often cautioned my team about, is (his: when they think there is a foul, or that somebody has played off-side, they stop dead in their play and wait for the referee's decision. This has lost many a match that should have been won.

Young players especially cannot be told too often that it is not they who can stop the game and however sure they may be that an appeal will be supported, they must on no account relax their efforts until the whistle sounds. I have seen many times, at a doubtful point in the game, the ball rushed through goal simply because no opposition has been offered and then, perhaps, the referee has decided that the game ought to have been continued and allowed the goal. Most clubs have suffered in this way and I would earnestly impress upon footballers the necessity of playing their hardest until a definite order is given to them to cease.


The Portuguese Football Federation was formed in 1914 under the Portuguese Football Union name (by 1926, it changed to its current name) and the aim of creating national tournaments (since it only existed regional championships) and promoting matches in which a Portuguese representative team would play against other teams from various parts of the world. However, due to the outbreak of World War I, that objective was not feasible for the next seven years.

Portugal played its first match on 18 December 1921, a 3–1 defeat. The following year, the inaugural edition of the Campeonato de Portugal (a knock-out tournament and precursor to the Taça de Portugal) was contested with the winner named "Portuguese Champion".

After years of playing friendly matches, Portugal was invited to enter the 1928 Summer Olympics Football Tournament, which was, at that time, contested by the best national "A" teams in the world and, therefore, considered to be the best international footballing tournament until the FIFA World Cup started two years later in 1930.

The Portuguese team was drawn in the preliminary round against Chile for a place in the first round. After falling 2–0 behind, Portugal scored four goals to win the match 4–2. After their win against Chile, they faced off Yugoslavia and won 2–1 due to a late goal in the 90th minute. Portugal was then eliminated in the quarter-finals against Egypt after losing 2–1. Egypt would go on to lose against Argentina 6–0 in the semi-final and Italy 11–3 for the bronze medal match, which embittered the players. Nevertheless, it was a bright start in international tournaments for the team.

Portugal was not invited to the 1930 World Cup, which only featured a final stage and no qualification round. The team took part in the 1934 World Cup qualification process, but failed to eliminate Spain, aggregating two defeats in the two-legged round, with a 9–0 loss in Madrid and 2–1 loss in Lisbon for an aggregate score of 11–1.

In qualification for the 1938 World Cup, the Seleção played one match against Switzerland at a neutral ground, in Milan, losing 2–1 to end their qualification prospects. Due to the outbreak of World War II, there was no World Cup held until the 1950 competition. Subsequently, the national team played very few matches against other nations. A 10–0 away friendly defeat against England played two years after the war evidenced how the irregularity of matches played had taken its effects on the squad.

Upon the restart of international play, Portugal was to play a two-legged round against Spain, just like in the 1934 qualification. After a 5–1 defeat in Madrid, they managed to draw in the second match 2–2 (7–3 on aggregate).

For the qualification of the 1954 World Cup, the team played Austria. The Austrians won the first match with a humiliating 9–1 result. The best the national team could do was hold the team to a goalless draw in Lisbon, and the round ended with a 9–1 defeat.

In the 1958 qualification, Portugal finished last in the group stage that also featured Northern Ireland and Italy only the first-placed team would qualify. They started with a 1–1 draw against the Irish team, but lost in Belfast by a score of 3–0. After that, they won 3–0 against Italy and lost 3–0 in Milan. Finishing with three points, they were two points behind group winners Northern Ireland.

The year 1960 was the year that UEFA created the European Football Championship, a football tournament similar to the FIFA World Cup, but for European nations. The first edition was a knock-out tournament, the last four teams participating in final stage that only featured one leg while the older stages had two legs. For the first round, the Seleção das Quinas won 2–0 against East Germany and 3–2 in Porto for the second leg, finishing with a 5–2 two-legged win. The quarter-final opponent was Yugoslavia. Despite winning the first game 2–1, they lost the second leg 5–1 in Belgrade, and lost 6–3 on aggregate.

England and Luxembourg were the 1962 FIFA World Cup qualification adversaries of the national team. Portugal ended second in the group with three points, behind England (with seven points). They started well with a home win (6–0) against Luxembourg and a home draw (1–1) against the English, but lost the following games, first 4–2 against Luxembourg, then 2–0 against England. Like in the previous World Cup qualification, only the first in the group would qualify.

The 1964 European Championship shared the same format as the 1960 edition. Portugal played against Bulgaria in the first round. The Portuguese lost 3–1 in Sofia and won 3–1 in Lisbon. With the round tied 4–4, a replay was needed in a neutral ground. In Rome, Portugal lost 1–0 with a late goal from the Bulgarians.

In 1964, the Nations' Cup was held in Brazil. The event celebrated the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Brazilian Football Confederation. Three international teams were invited – Argentina, Portugal, and England – for the competition, which was played in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo in late May and early June, with an all round-robin format. Portugal ended with one point (five behind winners Argentina) and joint third place with England after two defeats (4–1 with Brazil and 2–0 with Argentina) and a 1–1 tie against England

In the 1966 World Cup qualification, Portugal was drawn into the same group as Czechoslovakia, Romania, and Turkey. They topped the group with only one draw and one defeat in all six games and finally qualified for a FIFA World Cup that year the final stage would be held in England. Notable results were 1–0 away wins against Czechoslovakia and Turkey and a 5–1 home win against the Turks.

The team started out with three wins in the group stage, where they were in Group C, against Hungary 3–1, Bulgaria 3–0, and two-time defending champions Brazil 3–1. In the quarter-finals, Portugal played against North Korea. Portugal won the game with four goals from Eusébio overturning a deficit of 3–0. Later, they reached the semi-finals but were defeated by hosts and eventual champions England 2–1 in this game, Portugal would have played in Liverpool, but as England were the hosts, FIFA decided that the game should be in London, which led the Portuguese team to travel unexpectedly from Liverpool to London. Portugal then defeated the Soviet Union 2–1 in the third place match for their best World Cup finish to date. Eusébio was the top scorer of the World Cup, with nine goals.

For the Euro 1968 qualifying, the Seleção played against Bulgaria, Norway, and Sweden. They finished second to Bulgaria, with six points, four behind the Bulgarians. Portugal only managed two wins and two draws both wins came from 2–1 results against Norway.

After their tremendous success in the 1966 World Cup, Portugal tried to qualify for the 1970 World Cup, which was to be held in Mexico. They finished fourth and last in their group, behind Greece, Romania, and Switzerland. With only four points (from one win and two ties), Portugal were four points behind group winners Romania.

To be able to participate in Euro 1972, Portugal had to win its group that comprised the teams of Belgium, Denmark, and Scotland. Portugal finished second to Belgium with seven points (two less than the Belgians). The three wins the Portuguese had were against Denmark (1–0 away, 5–0 home) and Scotland in a 2–0 home win.

Also in 1972, Portugal participated in the Brazilian Independence Cup, a tournament that marked the 150th birthday since Brazil received its independence from Portugal. Winning both group stages (in the first stage, with wins against Ecuador (3–0), Iran (3–0), Chile (4–1) and the Republic of Ireland (2–1) and in the second stage winning against Argentina (3–1), drawing Uruguay (1–1) and a 2–1 win over the Soviet Union) they qualified for the final with Brazil at the Estádio do Maracanã. The Brazilian star Jairzinho scored in the 89th minute to give Brazil the win.

For the 1974 qualification stages, Portugal were placed in an accessible group, but were unable to defeat Bulgaria (2-2) in the decisive match, thus not qualifying. The only country Portugal managed to defeat was Cyprus, winning 4–0 and 1–0 in Nicosia. Portugal faced tough competition from the strong Poland team to claim the spot that would ensure them a place in the 1978 FIFA World Cup held in Argentina. They finished second place, behind Poland.

The national team was put alongside Austria, Belgium, Norway, and Scotland to fight for the first spot in the group, which would allow them to go to the final stage of UEFA Euro 1980. With nine points, Portugal took third place, three points behind first-placed Belgium. Out of their four wins, the most important were the away win against second-placed Austria (2–1) and a home win against Scotland (1–0).

For the 1982 qualification the Portuguese team had to face Israel, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Sweden for the top two group places. Portugal finished in fourth place with seven points, less four than the first, with wins over group winners Scotland (2–1), second-placed Northern Ireland (1–0) and last-placed Israel (3–0), all in home ground.

During the campaign for Euro 1984, Portugal had to play with Finland, Poland and, highly favourites, Soviet Union. Portugal won the group with a dramatic win over USSR in the last game by a score of 1–0 in home ground. With ten points and five wins, the Portuguese had beaten the Soviet Union by one point.

Portugal ended in group B, alongside Spain, West Germany and Romania. In the first two games, they tied 0–0 and 1–1 against West Germany and Spain, respectively. A 1–0 win over Romania gave them second place in the group, which was enough to go through to the knockout stage. Benfica's Tamagnini Nené scored the winner.

They played against the hosts, France, and eventual champions, in one of the most exciting matches in European Championship history. France scored first, but Portugal equalised almost an hour later. The game was tied after 90 minutes and went into extra time. Portugal made the score 2–1 in the first 15 minutes, with both teams having numerous quality scoring chances. In the second half of extra time, France scored in the 114th and 119th minutes to eliminate Portugal 3–2 and go through to the final.

For the 1986 tournament, the Selecção played against Czechoslovakia, Malta, Sweden, and West Germany for the two spots that would guarantee them a ticket to Mexico. Needing a win in the last game against West Germany in Stuttgart, manager José Torres famously said to the press, after being severally doubted that his team would qualify for Mexico 1986, "Let me dream!" Portugal went on to win the game 1–0 to become the first team to beat West Germany at their home ground in an official match.

Portugal was a fan-favourite to make a good campaign because of their UEFA Euro 1984 tournament. The team exited early in the group stages after a win and two losses. They started with a 1–0 win to England. Later, they were beaten by Poland and Morocco, 1–0 and 3–1, respectively. Their staying in Mexico was marked by a doping case, an injured player and, most significantly, by the Saltillo affair, where players refused to train in order to win more prizes from the Football Federation.

Wanting to keep present at the major international football tournaments, the Portuguese team attempted to top their qualifying group in a tight group with favourites Italy, Malta, Sweden and Switzerland. Still, they only managed to win two games in a total of eight disputed, ending in third with eight points, five behind first-placed Italy. Both games were won away from home, in Malta (1–0) and in Sweden against second-placed team (also 1–0).

The 1990 World Cup qualification was widely seen as a possibility to go back to the international stage. Along with Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Luxembourg and Switzerland, Portugal fought until the last game to get one of the first two spots of the group. Playing at home against Czechoslovakia, they failed to score and the game ended in a 0-0 allowing the East Europeans to get the second place with twelve points (the same as winners Belgium) with two points ahead of Portugal, who came with the first place. Notable results are the wins against Switzerland, 3–1 in Portugal and 2–1 in Neuchâtel.

During the draws for the Euro 1992 qualifying, the Netherlands was seen as the strongest team besides Portugal. Greece, Finland and Malta were the other teams. With five wins and eleven points, the Portuguese ended second behind the Dutch, who had two more points than Portugal. A famous result in this campaign was the 1–0 home win against the Dutch.

They participated in the friendly 1992 U.S. Cup along with the host, USA, Italy and Ireland in a round robin tournament. Portugal finished last with one point (six behind winners United States) from a draw with Italy (0–0). The other two games were defeats with USA (1–0) and the Republic of Ireland (2–0).

For the ’94 World Cup qualification, Portugal played in the same group as Estonia, Italy, Malta, Scotland and Switzerland for the two highest places. They disappointed, ending in third with 14 points and six wins, just two points behind winners Italy and one behind second-placed Switzerland. In the last game of the round, Portugal were defeated by Italy in Milan. The Selecção managed to win 1–0 against Switzerland and 5–0 against the Scots, both were home wins. The then manager, Carlos Queiroz, blamed the Football Federation for this failure, saying, "They should clean the mess that the Federation has."

Portugal was invited to play at the SkyDome Cup in Toronto, Canada against the then-European champions Denmark and Canada. With a draw against the Canadians (1–1) and a win against the Danes, Portugal went on to win the trophy, which was their first win at senior level.

Portugal managed to reach the Euro 1996, by topping their group with twenty-three points, six more than second-placed Republic of Ireland. Their group consisted of Austria, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland.

In the final tournament, Portugal drew 1–1 with European Champions Denmark, won 1–0 to Turkey and 3–0 against Croatia, finishing first in their group. In the quarter-finals, they lost 1–0 to eventual runners-up Czech Republic, due to a marvelous Karel Poborský second-half lob over goalkeeper Vítor Baía. This marked the beginning of the Golden Generation, a group of youngsters who had won the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 1989 and 1991 and were now leading the national senior squad.

The team almost qualified for the tournament that was to be hosted by France. However, during a qualifier in Germany, Rui Costa was sent off by French referee Marc Batta for taking too long to walk off the field while Portugal was leading 1–0. Germany drew the crucial game and was thus able to qualify. This incident is regarded as one of the darkest in Portugal's football history, [ citation needed ] with FIFA being accused of favouritism in support of Germany, who were the defending Euro '96 champions. The group was made of Albania, Armenia, Germany, Northern Ireland and Ukraine, Portugal ended in third place with 19 points and six wins. Germany finished first with 22 points and Ukraine with twenty, with the Slavics winning a place in the final play-offs. Portugal tied both games with Germany (0–0 home and 1–1 away).

In the qualifications for the 2000 Euro, Portugal faced Azerbaijan, Hungary, Liechtenstein, Romania and Slovakia. Portugal gained twenty-three points, just one short of first place Romania, with seven wins. Having not qualified directly into the event, the Portuguese team had the best performance by any runner-up and therefore qualified for the final tournament.

Captained by Fernando Couto in the final stage, they defeated England (3–2, recovering from a 2–0 disadvantage), Romania (1–0) with a late header from Costinha in injury time, and Germany (3–0, from a Sérgio Conceição hat-trick), the last one using the B team, since they were already qualified in first of the group after the other two games, to finish atop their group and then defeated Turkey in the quarter-finals (2–0, with both goals from Nuno Gomes).

In the semi-final meeting with World Cup holders France, Portugal scored first and nearly scored again due to a João Pinto's header after France equalised. Portugal were eliminated in extra time by a golden goal when Zinedine Zidane converted a penalty. Austrian referee Gunter Benko awarded the spot kick for a handball after Abel Xavier blocked a shot from Sylvain Wiltord (Benko initially gave France a corner but changed his mind after consulting with Slovak linesman Igor Sramka). Xavier, Nuno Gomes (one of the top scorers in the tournament with four goals), and Paulo Bento were all given lengthy suspensions for shoving the referee. [1] The final result was 2–1.

During the World Cup 2002 qualification, Portugal made a crucial win against the Netherlands (2–0 in Rotterdam) and ties against Republic of Ireland (1–1 in both games) and the Netherlands (2–2), in Porto, after falling 2–0 behind and scoring in the dying minutes of the game. Portugal won the group with seven wins and three ties with no defeats and 24 points (the same as the Republic of Ireland), but with a better goal average.

While the 2002 World Cup qualifying stage was unusually smooth, several problems and poor judgment decisions occurred during the preparation and tournament itself – shopping sprees by players, this time in Macau, were widely reported in the Portuguese press. Questionable managing choices and some amateurism, including the same lack of agreement on prizes. Vítor Baía replaced in-form Ricardo in goal, Beto played out of position at right back, Luís Figo was in very poor physical condition, and Hugo Viana was called as a last-minute replacement for Daniel Kenedy (who tested positive in a doping control test) – as Portugal underachieved and ended third in its group stage, subsequently eliminated. The manager Oliveira was fired after the World Cup.

Portugal entered the tournament as favourites to win Group D. However, they were upset 3–2 by the United States, at one point being three goals down in the match. They then rebounded with a 4–0 smashing Poland, with Pauleta netting a hat-trick.

Needing a draw to advance, they lost the final group game to hosts South Korea. Argentine referee Ángel Sánchez sent off João Vieira Pinto for a tackle on Park Ji-Sung. Beto was ejected for his second yellow card of the match, reducing Portugal to nine men, and Park scored the winner to allow the Koreans to advance. [2]

The next major competition, the UEFA Euro 2004, was decided to be held in Portugal. On the preparation, the Football Federation made a contract with Luiz Felipe Scolari to manage the team until the tournament ended. Despite the disappointed friendly matches, the Portuguese team entered the tournament being a favourite to win it.

The host nation lost the first game against Greece 1–2, an upset. They got their first win against Russia 2–0 and also beat a strong Spain side 1–0, with the latter eventually knocked out in the group stages.

They went through and went on to play against England, in an entertaining 2–2 draw that went into penalties, where Ricardo proved decisive, with an epic attitude taking off his goalkeeping gloves, saving a penalty and scoring right after the winner himself. Portugal beat the Netherlands 2–1 in the semi-final with a Maniche strike from outside the box. They were eventually beaten by heavy underdog outsiders Greece 1–0, credited to striker Angelos Charisteas, marking the first time in the history of the competition that the final featured the same two teams as the opening match. The match was considered a dominant win for Greece.

After the tournament ended, a lot of players belonging to the Geração de Ouro (Golden Generation), abandoned their international footballing careers, with only Luís Figo remaining in the team, despite a temporary retirement. The only silver lining for Portugal was the emergence of Cristiano Ronaldo as a key player, who had just signed for Manchester United and had been a real revelation. Ronaldo scored two goals and was selected in the UEFA Euro All Stars Team. He would go on to become the captain of the national side after the retirement of Luis Figo. While Portugal was playing in the competition, Scolari agreed in a new two-year deal with the Federation.

Portugal finished first in the qualifying round for the 2006 World Cup with 30 points, nine games won, three draws, and no defeats. The second-placed Russia finished with seven points less. The Seleção played with Estonia, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Russia, and Slovakia.

Portugal finished first place in Group D of the World Cup finals, with victories over Angola (1–0, goal from Pauleta, the leading goalscorer in the World Cup qualifiers), Iran (2–0, scored by Deco, and Cristiano Ronaldo) and Mexico (2–1, goals from Maniche and Simão). Only Mexico's Francisco Fonseca was able to score against Portugal.

The Netherlands lost to Portugal 1–0 in the Round of 16 on 25 June in Nuremberg. The only goal came courtesy of a Maniche strike in an acrimonious match marked by 16 yellow cards, with four players (Khalid Boulahrouz, Costinha, Deco, and Giovanni van Bronckhorst) being sent off. (See the Battle of Nuremberg.)

On 1 July at Gelsenkirchen, Portugal drew 0–0 after extra-time with England, but won 3–1 on penalties to reach their first World Cup semi-final since 1966. Cristiano Ronaldo scored the winning penalty. The game was marred by a violent challenge on Portuguese defender Ricardo Carvalho by England's Wayne Rooney, which resulted in him being sent off. Cristiano Ronaldo was accused by England fans to have influenced the referee's decision to send Rooney off despite the two of them being teammates at Manchester United.

Portugal lost 1–0 against France in the semi-finals on 5 July at Munich. Two players had been forced to sit out due to accumulated bookings from the round of 16 and quarter-finals. It did not help that the team faced a hostile crowd of English and French fans they relentlessly booed Ronaldo for his perceived unsportsmanlike behavior in the previous round. As in the semi-finals of Euro 2000, Portugal were narrowly defeated by France, with the decisive goal being a penalty scored by Zinedine Zidane after Thierry Henry was awarded a penalty from a foul committed by Ricardo Carvalho.

Portugal faced Germany in the third place play-off match on 8 July in Stuttgart. The match was notable for being Pauleta's last game for the national team so as captain Luís Figo's last before retirement from international football – though, surprisingly, he was not selected to start the game, coming on as a substitute near the end and setting up Portugal's goal in a 3–1 defeat. All three German goals had the direct participation of Bastian Schweinsteiger, who scored twice and had another shot turned into an own goal by Portugal's Petit. Ultimately, the team won the "Most Entertaining Team" award for their play during the World Cup, in an award always organized through public participation in a poll. Cristiano Ronaldo missed out on the U-23 Player of the Tournament award and it was believed that FIFA's decision was influenced due to hate mail from supporters of England who were still upset with Ronaldo's part in getting Rooney sent off in the quarter - final stage. Once again Scolari was asked to accept a new deal with the Federation that would maintain with as the manager until the end of the next competition.

After the successes of the Euro 2004 and the 2006 FIFA World Cup, Portugal was seen as a major contender to win the Euro 2008, but their qualification wasn't easy. The national team faced some problems in the last games, in addition, Scolari was suspended for three games, being substituted by his assistant manager. Portugal ended with seven wins and twenty-seven points (one less than first-placed Poland). Armenia. Azerbaijan, Belgium, Finland, Kazakhstan, Poland and Serbia were the opponents. With important triumphs against Azerbaijan (2–0 in Baku), Kazakhstan (2–1 in Almaty) and Belgium (4–0 in Lisbon and 2–1 in Brussels), they managed to qualify for the final stage.

The Portuguese team was a featured part of TV network ESPNs ad campaign promoting their coverage of the UEFA Euro 2008 tournament. [ citation needed ] The first game was against Turkey and it was won 2–0, with first-ever scoring achievements for internationals Pepe and Raul Meireles. Their second game was against the Czech Republic, a 3–1 success. With assured qualification to the knockout stage, as first in group A, they played with the reserve team against Switzerland, and lost 2–0, with two Hakan Yakın goals. During the group stage, Scolari announced to the squad that it would be his last spell as the Portuguese manager, ending a five-year era full of prosperity.

On 19 June 2008, Portugal played against Germany, and were beaten 2–3 after falling behind 0–2 within the first half an hour. Portugal proceeded to score, followed by another Germany goal, a Michael Ballack header. Portugal scored a consolation goal in the final minutes of normal time, courtesy of Hélder Postiga, but was eventually knocked out of Euro 2008 at the quarterfinal stage.

Portugal participated in the qualifying stages with manager Carlos Queiroz for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, which took place in South Africa. The team had a qualifying campaign that almost turned disastrous and just sneaked into second place by a single point over Sweden, a group where Denmark finished first, one point ahead from Portugal. Portugal was drawn to play against Bosnia and Herzegovina in the European zone play-offs. With two wins (1–0 in the first leg, in Lisbon and 1–0, in Zenica), the team gained its right to participate in the World Cup. Having qualified for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the Seleção das Quinas had its most successful decade to date, having qualified for all of the World Cups and Euro Cups (Euro 2000, World Cup 2002, Euro 2004, World Cup 2006, Euro 2008, and World Cup 2010), along with Spain, Italy, Germany, and France, the only other four teams to have done so.

In the final draw, on 4 December 2009, Portugal was drawn in one of the toughest groups, the so-called Group of Death where the Seleção das Quinas faced 5-time champions Brazil, Africa's top contenders Ivory Coast and 1966 opponents North Korea.

Portugal faced Ivory Coast in their opening match on 15 June 2010 at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth and the game ended in a goalless draw. Their next match was against North Korea on 21 June 2010 at the Cape Town Stadium in Cape Town in which Portugal won by 7–0. Their last match in the group stage against Brazil on 25 June 2010 at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban ended in a goalless 0–0 while both teams advanced to the knockout stage. Portugal was on a 19 match undefeated streak, conceding only 3 goals. The Portuguese defence ended being broken by Spain's David Villa's goal which defeated Portugal in the round of 16, 1–0.

During the Tournament, Queiroz was frequently criticised for setting up the team in an overly cautious way. The team's style of play was to keep the team well closed in the back, while sending direct balls up to the front, most notably to a lonely Cristiano Ronaldo, whose mission seemed to be to run at the opposition's defence and try long shots to take advantage of the tricky Jabulani. This approach was widely criticised, with an outburst coming from Deco, [3] as well as implied from Cristiano Ronaldo's reply to a post-game comment after the defeat against Spain. When asked about the team's performances, he answered with a dry "You can go ask Queiroz".

The direct football style was perceived as not taking full advantage of the Portuguese midfield, filled with top-flight players such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Deco, Raul Meireles, Simão, where a creative possession-based football had been the basis of the team in the preceding years. Although the team reached their base objective of getting past the group phase, and lost out to the eventual world champions, there was a palpable feeling that the team could have gone further had the coach been more ambitious.

A few months after the World Cup, and just days before the beginning of the Euro 2012 Qualifiers, squad regulars Simão, Paulo Ferreira, and Miguel all retired from international duty, stating they wanted to focus entirely on their respective clubs. In January 2011, a few weeks before the friendly match against Argentina, midfielder Tiago also retired from international football at just 29 years of age, stating personal reasons.

As Carlos Queiroz suffered from criticism regarding the World Cup, he was also banned from coaching the national team for one month after an investigation concluded that he tried to block a doping test to the team while preparing for the World Cup in Portugal, as well as directing insulting words to the testers. [4] In consequence, he received a further six-month suspension. This meant that Queiroz was not able to select the players or lead the team for the first two Euro 2012 qualifiers against Cyprus and Norway. In the sequence of these events, Portugal drew 4–4 against Cyprus at home, followed by a 1–0 defeat at the hands of Norway, placing the team in a difficult position right from the start. That prompted several media outbursts from Queiroz [5] against the heads of the Portuguese Football Federation, which then prompted his dismissal as the head of the team.

In reaction to this dismissal, and in face of impending failure to qualify for UEFA Euro 2012, missing out to the first major final stage since the 1998 World Cup, the Federation's president, Gilberto Madaíl, traveled to Madrid in a bid to persuade superstar Real Madrid manager José Mourinho to lead his nation's team for the matches against Denmark and Iceland. [6] [7] This bid, however, was blocked by Real Madrid President Florentino Pérez. [8]

On 21 September 2010, Paulo Bento, the former Sporting Clube de Portugal coach, was appointed as the Portuguese head coach. Paulo Bento's spell with the Seleção began with a 3–1 home win against Denmark, followed by a 3–1 away win against Iceland, pushing Portugal into the second spot of the group. On 17 November, Portugal and Spain faced each other in a friendly to commemorate the 100th year of the modern Portuguese Republic and also to promote the joint Portugal-Spain bid to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup. In a shocking upset, Portugal were 4-0 victors over the reigning World and European champions. In the match Ronaldo should score a wonderful opening goal, only rued out as offside with a little kick by Nani in front of the crossing line. Portugal ended up winning all except one of their remaining qualifying games only losing to Denmark. They finished second in their group and had to qualify in a two-game playoff with Bosnia and Herzegovina. They tied the first game 0–0 in Zenica and won 6–2 in Lisbon, securing a place in Euro 2012.

Portugal didn't start off the tournament well, as they were defeated 1-0 by Germany. Despite this they bounced back to win their next two games, with a 3–2 win over Denmark and a 2–1 win over the Netherlands. These two wins secured passage to the knockout stages. They faced the Czech Republic in the quarter finals, and won after a Cristiano Ronaldo goal in the 79th minute. They faced Spain in the semifinals, where the match went into penalties after a goalless 120 minutes. Spain defeated Portugal 4–2 on penalty kicks.

On 30 July 2011 at the 2014 FIFA World Cup preliminary draw, Portugal were placed in Group F along with Russia, Israel, Northern Ireland, Azerbaijan and Luxembourg. [9] Portugal had a slightly shaky Qualifying campaign, finishing second in the group after three draws and 1–0 loss to the eventual group winners Russia. The third qualifying game was a special one for Portugal's captain, Cristiano Ronaldo, as he became the youngest Portugal player ever to win 100 caps for the national team.

—Ronaldo after the 2014 World Cup. [10]

Because they finished second in their qualifying group Portugal advanced to play Sweden in a two-game playoff. They won the first game in Lisbon 1–0 after a Ronaldo goal, then won the second game in Solna after a Ronaldo hat-trick. These wins secured Portugal's place in the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Portugal were drawn into Group G with Germany, Ghana, and the United States. They played Germany first at the Arena Fonte Nova. Germany took the lead early on with a Thomas Müller penalty kick after a foul on Mario Götze. Germany took a 2–0 lead after a goal by Toni Kroos. Pepe was involved in an altercation with Thomas Müller, where he headbutted Müller and was shown a straight red card. Germany went on to win the game 4–0 after two more goals by Thomas Müller. This is Portugal's worst loss ever at a World Cup.

In their next match with the United States, Portugal opened to scoring early, with Nani scoring in the fifth minute. However, the USA equalized after a goal from Jermaine Jones in the sixty fourth minute. The United States ended up taking the lead in the eighty first minute after a goal by Clint Dempsey. Cristiano Ronaldo crossed for Silvestre Varela who tied the game in the ninety fifth minute, keeping Portugal's qualification hopes alive.

In their last match in the group stage, in order to progress they needed to beat Ghana by at least 4 goals, and hope that the United States-Germany match didn't end in a draw. Despite Portugal winning the game 2–1, and Germany defeating the USA 1–0, Portugal were eliminated on goal differential to the USA.

Euro 2016 Edit

Portugal was drawn in Group I for UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying with Albania, Armenia, Denmark, and Serbia. Portugal started off with a 1–0 loss to Albania, which resulted in Paulo Bento being dismissed, and veteran of all three of the major clubs in Primeira Liga, Fernando Santos, being brought in as his replacement. Under Santos Portugal would win the rest of its games in qualifying, all by a single goal, and top their group.

During the final tournament Portugal were drawn in Group F with Iceland, Austria and Hungary. Three draws, including a thrilling 3–3 match with Hungary in the last group game, gave Portugal a third-placed finish in their group however, the new expanded form of the tournament meant Portugal qualified for the knockout stages as one of the best third ranked teams.

Portugal played Croatia in the round of 16. The match produced no shots on goal in ninety minutes. In the 116th minute Ivan Perišić hit the post for Croatia, and under a minute later Cristiano Ronaldo started a move passing to Renato Sanches, who ran it down the field. He passed it to Nani, whose scuffed shot landed at the feet of Ronaldo who had the first shot on goal in the game, which was saved, however the rebound was headed in by substitute Ricardo Quaresma. Portugal held on and moved on to face Poland in the quarter-finals.

The quarter-finals didn't start out well for Portugal, as Robert Lewandowski scored for Poland in the 2nd minute. Renato Sanches would equalize for Portugal in the 33rd minute. The game went to penalties, where Rui Patrício made a save on Jakub Błaszczykowski, and on the next spot kick, Ricardo Quaresma won the game for Portugal, and sent them to the semi-finals.

There, Portugal would face Wales. Cristiano Ronaldo gave Portugal the lead from a header in the 50th minute. This goal tied Ronaldo with Michel Platini for all-time leading scorer at the Euro finals, with nine goals. Just 3 minutes after this goal, Nani gave Portugal a 2–0 lead with an assist by Ronaldo. They held on to win, and Ronaldo was declared the Man of the Match, making it the sixth time in the tournament (including qualifiers).

For the Final of Euro 2016, Portugal played the host nation and favorites to win, France. A Dimitri Payet challenge on Cristiano Ronaldo forced the Portuguese captain to be substituted despite his attempts to return. France came close to winning the game in the last minute of normal time, when André-Pierre Gignac struck the post. In extra time, Portugal's Raphaël Guerreiro hit the crossbar from a free kick. Eder, a substitute striker, eventually scored the winning goal in the 109th minute. With this win Portugal won its first ever major international trophy in the nation's history, led by Cristiano Ronaldo as the captain. Portugal's Renato Sanches was awarded the best young player and Cristiano Ronaldo won the Silver Boot for his 3 goals and 3 assists in the finals.

2017 FIFA Confederations Cup Edit

Following their Euro 2016 victory, Portugal was allowed to participate in the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup. Portugal were drawn into Group A with Mexico, New Zealand and hosts Russia. In the opening match, Portugal faced Mexico. Ricardo Quaresma opened the scored in the 34th minute, following an assist from Cristiano Ronaldo. However, due to defensive errors Javier Hernández scored the equaliser in the 42nd minute. In the second half, Cédric Soares restored the advantage for Portugal, but minutes later Mexico would tie the game 2–2 after a header from Héctor Moreno, ending the match in a draw.

In the next match, Portugal faced hosts Russia. The Portuguese dominated the Russians from the beginning, and the goal came naturally in thr 9th minute, scored by Cristiano Ronaldo. Afterwards, Raphaël Guerreiro injured himself during the game, being unable to play the rest of the competition, and the match ended with the Portuguese winning. In their last group stage match, Portugal faced New Zealand. Portugal took the advantage in the first half, with goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Bernardo Silva. The result would be 4–0 in the second half after André Silva and Nani also put the ball in the back of the net. Thus, Portugal went to the semi-finals of the competition as the first place team of Group B, with a better goal difference than Mexico.

In the semi-finals, Portugal faced Copa América winners Chile. The game was extremely close with dangerous situations fot both sides and went into extra time after 90 minutes without a goal. The draw persisted for the entire amount of extra time. During this time, Gelson Martins replaced André Gomes, this being the first time a fourth substitution had been made in an official tournament match. Even before the extra time was over, Chile struck the post twice. The Chileans would eventually be victorious on penalties, with keeper Claudio Bravo saving all three Portuguese shots. Portugal thus missed out on qualification to the final and an unprecedented title.

In the third place play-off match, Portugal faced Mexico in a rematch from the group stage. André Silva had the opportunity to put Portugal ahead but missed a penalty in the 17th minute. It would be Mexico to open the scoring thanks to Luis Neto's own goal in the 55th minute. Pepe managed to restore equality at 91st minute, sending the game into extra time. During extra time, Adrien Silva took another penalty, this time successfully, but shortly afterwards Nélson Semedo left the team reduced to 10 after being sent off. Despite the numerical advantage on the field, Raúl Jiménez would eventually also see a red card for a foul on Eliseu. The result would be unchanged at 2–1 until the end. Thus, the Portuguese managed to reach the podium of the competition, finishing in third place.

2018 FIFA World Cup Edit

In the 2018 FIFA World Cup preliminary draw, Portugal were placed in Group B along with Switzerland, Hungary, Faroe Islands, Andorra and Latvia. Portugal would only lose one match in qualifying: a 2–0 loss in their opener against Switzerland. However, Portugal would get redemption in their last group stage match, defeating Switzerland 2–0 to top their group on goal difference and qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

In the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Portugal were drawn into Group B with Spain, Morocco and Iran. In their opening match on 15 June, Portugal played against Spain. Cristiano Ronaldo scored with an early penalty, winning it after he was fouled by Nacho inside the box. Diego Costa then twisted and turned away from two Portugal defenders to score with a low shot to the left corner which brought the two sides level. But just before the break, David de Gea fumbled a Ronaldo shot from outside the penalty area through his gloves and over the line. Costa scored his second equaliser of the night just after the restart from close range before Nacho scored with a right foot half-volley in off the post from the edge of the penalty box, his first goal for Spain. As the clock ticked down, however, Gerard Piqué brought down Ronaldo just outside the box, with the Portugal star completing the scoring and his hat-trick with a free kick into the top right corner of the net. The match would finish 3–3.

In the second match, Portugal faced Morocco. Early in the match, João Moutinho swung in a cross from the right after a short corner and Cristiano Ronaldo headed the ball powerfully past goalkeeper Munir Mohamedi from six yards out and into the middle of the goal to open the scoring. Ronaldo played Gonçalo Guedes into the box but Munir made a one-handed save. Ronaldo shot over the crossbar when Bernardo Silva's mishit presented him with a shooting chance on the edge of the box early in the second half. Rui Patrício then made a save to preserve Portugal's lead when Hakim Ziyech's free kick was headed towards goal by Younès Belhanda, the goalkeeper diving to palm the ball away from danger. Ziyech shot another set-piece just over the crossbar from 25 yards. Nordin Amrabat and Medhi Benatia fired over with better chances. With their second loss in a row, Morocco became the first team eliminated from the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Portugal's last group stage match was against Iran. In the 45th minute, Ricardo Quaresma cut in from the right before scoring with a curling shot off the outside of his right foot that looped over Alireza Beiranvand into the top-left corner. Saeid Ezatolahi's foul on Cristiano Ronaldo won Portugal a penalty, which Ronaldo shot low into the right, enabling Beiranvand to get down and make a stop. Iran then managed to get a penalty in stoppage time after the referee used VAR to determine that Cédric's handball from Sardar Azmoun's header had been intentional, which Karim Ansarifard converted high to his right. The game ended in a 1−1 draw, with Portugal advancing to te round of 16 as the runners-up of their group, after Spain drew 2−2 with Morocco.

Portugal would be eliminated from the tournament after losing to Uruguay in the round of 16. In the seventh minute, Edinson Cavani switched play from right to left with a sweeping pass out to Luis Suárez, who delivered a cross which the former headed home at the back post from six yards out. In the 55th minute, Raphaël Guerreiro delivered a cross from a short corner on the left, which Pepe finished with a downward header. Just seven minutes later, Rodrigo Bentancur collected the ball around 30 yards out and slipped a pass out to Cavani on the left side of the penalty area, who then scored his second goal of the match with a curling right-foot strike into the right corner of the net to reclaim the lead for Uruguay. Bernardo Silva shot off-target with the goal gaping after Fernando Muslera's mistake, with Cavani seeming to pick up an injury in the scramble. The match finished 2–1 to Uruguay and Portugal were eliminated from the tournament.

2018–19 UEFA Nations League Edit

Following the World Cup, Portugal took part in the inaugural UEFA Nations League, where the Seleção were placed in League A and drawn into Group 3 with Italy and Poland. On 9 March 2018, UEFA announced that Portugal had expressed interest in bidding for the Nations League finals, and it was later announced that the group winners would be appointed as the host of the tournament finals. [11]

Before the first match with Italy, the Portuguese played a friendly with 2018 FIFA World Cup runners-up Croatia at the Estádio Algarve. The Portuguese pushed early, but it was the Balkan team that scored first after a close-range shot from Ivan Perišić. Pepe, who appeared in his 100th international game, scored the equalizer following a corner kick from Pizzi.

Portugal started the Nations League defeating Italy in a home 1–0 victory, with André Silva scoring the match's only goal, in a game where Portugal was always on top of an Italian team that rarely showed danger. This was Portugal's first victory in an official game against Italy since 1958. [12]

In Portugal's second match, they faced Poland in Chorzów. The home side opened the scoring after 18 minutes following a corner kick which was scored by Krzysztof Piątek, but Portugal grew and managed to turn the match around just before the break with André Silva scoring for the away side, followed by an own goal from Kamil Glik, who put the ball on his own net after a pass from Rúben Neves to Rafa Silva. In the second half of the match, Bernardo Silva scored Portugal's third goal of the match. Poland did not give up, and Jakub Blaszczykowski managed to reduce to the home team with a shot from outside the box. Despite this, the Portuguese managed to maintain the advantage and secure a victory by the score of 3–2, consolidating the leadership of their group. [13] [14]

In Portugal's third match, they once again faced Italy, this time in Milan. Forced to win, the Italians took on the expenses of the game, but Portugal knew how to hold the result, which remained 0–0 until the end, leading Portugal to win the group and ensure them as the host of the UEFA Nations League Finals, qualifying for the semi-finals of the tournament. [15] Portugal's last match was against Poland at Estádio D. Afonso Henriques in Guimarães. André Silva scored the opening goal following a corner kick from Renato Sanches. In the second half, Arkadiusz Milik scored a penalty to equalize the match, after Danilo Pereira fouled him in the penalty area, leading Danilo to receive a red card and miss the next match.

In the semi-finals, on 5 June, Portugal faced Switzerland. Although the Swiss started the game with more scoring opportunities, it was Portugal who opened the scoring with a free-kick from Cristiano Ronaldo. In the 57th minute, Bernardo Silva was fouled in the penalty area and the match official immediately called a penalty for the Portuguese. However, the team responsible for the VAR drew attention to a move that occurred earlier, in which Nélson Semedo appeared to have touched Steven Zuber in the Portuguese area. After a bid review, referee Felix Brych gave a penalty to Switzerland, leading Ricardo Rodríguez to score the equalizer. The prospect of extra time would become more real until the 88th minute, when Rúben Neves pitched the ball to Bernardo Silva, who gave the ball to Cristiano Ronaldo to score Portugal's second goal. Two minutes later, Ronaldo scored his third goal of the game, completing a hat-trick and securing the hosts a spot in the final. With this game, Fernando Santos became the coach with the most victories in the history of the Portuguese team. [16]

Four days later, in the final on 9 June at the Estádio do Dragão in Porto, Portugal faced the Netherlands. Portugal outperformed the Dutch early on, with multiple plays of danger. After much pressure, in the 60th minute, Gonçalo Guedes scored the only goal of the match with a shot from outside the box. The Dutch tried to score until the last minute, but the result remained unchanged until the end and Portugal won their second major international trophy in three finals. With this game, Rui Patrício became Portugal's most capped goalkeeper ever, surpassing Vítor Baía's record. [17] [18]

Euro 2020 Edit

Portugal was drawn in Group B for UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying with Lithuania, Luxembourg, Ukraine and Serbia. Portugal drew its first home matches against Ukraine and Serbia, in 0–0 and 1–1 draws respectively, and suffered a 2–1 loss against Ukraine their away fixture, but managed to win the rest of their matches, with a 2–0 away victory against Luxembourg sealing second place in their group, qualifying Portugal for the final tournament. In the process, Fernando Santos overtook Luiz Felipe Scolari's record as the coach of Portugal with the most victories. Santos' team was drawn in Group F of Euro 2020, alongside world champions France, Germany, and the Play-off winner A or D in a widely speculated "group of death".

NFL Draft History

Prior to the inaugural National Football League draft in 1936, players were free to sign with any club. This tended to make the stronger teams even stronger and created much disparity in the NFL. On may 19, 1935, the league owners adopted a plan for a college player draft. Proposed by Bert Bell, the Eagles owner and future NFL commissioner, the plan called for teams to select players in inverse order of their finish the previous season.

The first draft had nine rounds and was increased to 10 in 1937. It was expanded to 20 rounds in 1939. Adding a twist to the procedure in 1938 and 1939, only the five teams that finished lowest in the previous season were permitted to make selections in the second and fourth rounds.

The NFL faced competition in drafting for the first time when the All-America Football Conference came onto the pro football scene in the latter part of the decade. The NFL also added a bonus selection - the first pick overall - in 1947. -

The idea of the bonus pick, which began in 1947, ran full cycle and was abandoned after the 1958 draft. By that time, each team in the league had been awarded the first overall pick in the annual draft, and teams resumed picking in reverse order of league standing.

The draft became the battleground for a war between the National Football League and American Football League. The rival leagues held separate drafts through 1966 before holding joint drafts from 1967-1969. When the leagues merged at the end of the decade, the draft rivalry was over, and a new rivalry, the Super Bowl, had begun.

The NFL, drafting as one unified league, eventually reduced the number of rounds to 12. The fierce competition for top talent saw the number one overall pick being secured through trades four times during the decade.

The NFL again fended off competition from a potential rival as the United States Football League attempted to tap into the talent pool in the mid-1980s. Perhaps the highlight of the decade, draft wise, came in 1983 when a rare group of college quarterbacks dominated the first round of that year&rsquos draft.

Many of the decade&rsquos elite teams, like so many franchises before them, have built through the draft. There may be no greater example than the Dallas Cowboys, who used multiple picks to go from a 1-15 team in 1989 to winning three Super Bowls in the 1990s.

In back-to-back drafts in the 2000s, an NFL team made trades in order to select three players in the first round. In 2000, the Jets drafted in the number 12th, 13th, and 27th spots of the first round. One year later, the St. Louis Rams had the 12th, 20th, and 29th overall picks of round number one.

The St. Louis Rams selected quarterback Sam Bradford with their first overall pick. This set the trend as other teams used their first overall pick to also select quarterbacks as the face of their franchise including Cam Newton, Andrew Luck, Jameis Winston and Jared Goff.


Mention the term “football” and depending on just where you are one of two entirely different games might come to mind. In North America, people will picture a smash-mouth game played by large men wearing pads and helmets on a field with goal posts at each end. The ball is moved down the field by running and passing. In most of the rest of the world “football” means a sport played by shorts-clad men and women on a pitch, or field, with netted goals at each end. It is a game that primarily involves the feet as the ball is kicked up and down the pitch. For the purpose of this article, we will focus on the history of football, American style, the first type mentioned. Association football, or soccer as it’s commonly called, is addressed on a different page on this website.

Has football always been this confusing? In a nutshell, yes.

Soccer, Rugby and More
American Football (let’s make it simple and just call it plain ol’ “football”) has it roots in both soccer and rugby. A form of soccer was played as early as 206 BC in the Han Dynasty of China when teams competed in a game called Tsu Chu to celebrate the emperor’s birthday. The roots of rugby-type games go back to 11th century England when young boys played a tackle game with an inflated cow bladder. This child’s play evolved into violent clashes between men from opposing villages. Hundreds of players from each town would attempt to run the bladder into the middle of the their opponent’s town. Injuries and even death were such a common part of the game that the King of England eventually outlawed the sport.

In 1623, football resurfaced (legally) in England as a soccer-type game played on a field rather than in the town streets. Players were not allowed to touch the ball with anything except their feet. At about the same time, Irish teams took up a form of football that allowed players to hit the ball with their fists.

One of the biggest changes in the game happened at Rugby College in 1823. According to legend, William Ellis suddenly stopped kicking the ball, picked it up and ran down the field and across the goal line. Sure, Ellis had broken one of the fundamental rules of the game, but the crowd loved it. Rugby College recognized that Ellis had a good idea and began allowing players to run with ball. This was the official beginning of rugby and the catalyst for what we know today as football.

Meanwhile, Across the Atlantic
American colonists played similar football-type games. By the mid 1800s, colleges in the United States were challenging each other to games of football. In November 1869, some 100 fans watched Rutgers and Princeton play what might be considered the first college football game. Players were allowed to kick, hit or dribble the ball. Throwing the ball or running it was prohibited. Trivia buffs will want to know that Rutgers won that first game 6-4. (Click to see chart on football scoring ).

Where Was American Football Invented?

It’s hard to pin an exact date concerning when American football was invented.

However, the first officiated match was played between Princeton University and Rutgers University. This intercollegiate match was held on November 6 th , 1869, and Rutgers ended up winning the game.

This particular match took place in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and it was pretty much a soccer-style game with the rules being adapted from the London Football Association.

After this first match, many colleges in the northeast proceeded to pick up the game. The Intercollegiate Football Association (IFA) was formed in 1873 with the primary purpose of bringing order to the game.

Back then, the game didn’t have a particular set of rules. Different towns and colleges would pick and choose the aspects of the game they liked and have their own set of rules.

As a result, as you would imagine, not everyone jumped on board with the new standards and regulations when the IFA was created.

Some schools, such as Harvard University, stuck to playing by their own rules. Harvard played a variation of American football known as the “Boston Game.”

In May 1874, however, after playing a match against McGill University of Montreal, Harvard players seemed to prefer McGill’s rugby-style rules to their own.

So, in 1875, following Harvard and Yale’s first intercollegiate match, all players and spectators embraced the rugby-style of play.

The first record of an athlete getting paid to play a game dates back to 1892, which is when Pro football was created.

This athlete was William ‘Pudge’ Heffelfinger, and he was paid $500 to play one match with the Allegheny Athletic Association.

The history of football/soccer in England

People have been playing football for over 3,000 years. Nobody can tell where it was played for the first time. There is evidence that it was played in Japan, China, Rome and Greece. But the birthplace of modern soccer is Britain (both England and Scotland).

Although it was a war game (The first football game took place in the east of England - where the locals played 'football' with the severed head of a Danish Prince they had defeated in a battle.) In medieval times kicking, punching, biting and gouging were allowed. So King Edward III tried to ban football. But the game was too popular. Even Queen Elisabeth I couldn't stop it, although soccer players were jailed for a week.

In 1815, the famous English School, Eton College, established a set of rules.
The Football Association was founded in 1863. In 1869 any handling of the ball was forbidden. In the 1880s students at Oxford University created a slang word for the word association. They shortened it to ›SOC‹ and added 𠎮R‹. So the word soccer war created. The same happened to Rugby (RUGGER).

The Buffalo Bills began their pro football life as the seventh team to be admitted to the new American Football League. The franchise was awarded to Ralph C. Wilson on October 28, 1959. Since that time, the Bills have experienced extended periods of both championship dominance and second-division frustration.

The Bills' first brush with success came in their fourth season in 1963 when they tied for the AFL Eastern division crown but lost to the Boston Patriots in a playoff. But in 1964 and 1965, they not only won their division but defeated the San Diego Chargers each year for the AFL championship. Head Coach Lou Saban, who was named AFL Coach of the Year each year, departed after the 1965 season.

Buffalo lost to the Kansas City Chiefs in the 1966 AFL title game and, in so doing, just missed playing in the first Super Bowl. Then the Bills sank to the depths, winning only 13 games while losing 55 and tying two in the next five seasons. Saban returned in 1972, utilized the Bills' superstar running back, O. J. Simpson, to the fullest extent and made the Bills competitive once again. That period was highlighted by the 2,003-yard rushing record set by Simpson in 1973.

But Saban departed in mid-season 1976 and the Bills again sank into the second division until a new coach, Chuck Knox, brought them an AFC Eastern division title in 1980. In 1981, Buffalo advanced to the playoffs again but lost to Cincinnati. The roller coaster ride for Buffalo fans then took another downturn with six straight non-winning seasons in the mid-1980s.

However, Marv Levy, who took over the coaching reins in 1986, quickly fashioned the Bills into one of pro football's truly dominant teams. Starting in 1988, the Bills won five AFC Eastern titles in six years and became the only team ever to play in four straight Super Bowls. Levy was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2001.

While three coaches -- Saban, Knox and Levy -- have been primarily responsible for the Buffalo's winning years, so too have a handful of superstar players been key factors in the Bills' successes. While Simpson was the key man in the winning years in the early 1970s, such stars as quarterback Jack Kemp, who later became a United States Congressman, fullback Cookie Gilchrist, defensive tackle Tom Sestak and Hall of Fame guard Billy Shaw played dominant roles in the 1960s. Levy's teams in the late 1980s and 1990s were powered by such perennial all-stars as quarterback Jim Kelly, running back Thurman Thomas and defensive end Bruce Smith.

Attendance demands forced the expansion of the Bills' first inner-city home, War Memorial Stadium, from 26,000 to 45,748 during the 13 seasons the Bills played there. In 1973, the Bills moved to Rich Stadium in suburban Orchard Park, NY. Buffalo fans set an NFL single-season attendance record of 635,889 in 1991. The Bills were purchased by Terry and Kim Pegula in 2014. They are just the second owners in the team's history.


The 1890s saw significant changes in football rules and the creation of better football pads. In 1894, the "flying wedge" formation was outlawed after it killed 20 collegiate players and injured 100 more in a single season. Meanwhile, sports equipment manufacturers, including Spalding and Victor, began marketing leather football pads. The pads were thicker than Smock's original pads, and their leather construction made them more sturdy. Also, unlike Smock's pads, the leather pads were designed to be sewn or strapped to the outside of the football uniform.

In 1915, sports equipment manufacturers developed and sold the first football helmets. These helmets were made of soft leather and were designed primarily to cover and protect the ears. Although early football helmets were called "head harnesses" by their manufacturers, their distinctive earflaps soon earned them the nickname "dog-ear helmets." In the 1930s, the first hard leather helmets appeared, followed by rigid plastic helmets in the 1950s.

Share All sharing options for: 1869-2014: A history of college football, as yelled about by the internet

Benham and Allen, Wikimedia Commons

The world isn't the way it used to be. College football, being part of the world, is also not the way it used to be. It's evolved quite a bit since the 19th century, mostly for the better.

And as you'll discover below, a band of irate college football internet commenters has been carried, kicking and screaming, the entire way. Mostly, everyone just keeps threatening to stop watching college football.

Let's review the tweets and Facebook comments written by outraged football fans on the internet over the last couple centuries, as the game has altered, as all things in the universe do. Also during this time new technologies have improved the lives of people all around the globe, wars have become less common, diseases have been cured, and life has generally gotten better for most people, all despite endless fear of progress and change. Also the internet was invented in the 1990s, allowing people to more freely complain about things like inventions.

So, time-traveling college football fan, what are you angry about along the way?

The 2000s

"If college football ever goes to a playoff, I will immediately disregard all the things I've said about a college football playoff never working. But for now, I'll say it'll never work and will just make everyone stop watching college football." [Note: This internet commenter is believed to be either Jim Delany or Bill Hancock.]

"If the thing that'll turn into the BCS tries to give a sport without an actual champion a champion, I'll stop watching college football and just crown m'-DAMN-self champion."

"If schools win that lawsuit against the NCAA and earn the right to make their own television deals, the big teams and conferences will also be outrageously rich within the next couple decades. The land rush will be so hilarious that everyone will pretend 128 teams compete for the same BCS and Playoff trophies.

Stadiums will rise higher. Scoreboards will grow larger. Almost absolutely everyone involved in the sport will begin receiving greater and greater compensation.

But if the players ever want their compensation to increase too, I'll just be flabbergasted as to where they got that notion. And stop watching college football. But for now, look at all this college football I get to watch!"

"If ABC starts showing college football on television every week, I'll stop watching every week.

The 1950s

"If black people are allowed to start playing college football, I'll [comment deleted and user banned for violating website terms of service]."

"If Army starts winning all the championships due to every other school's young men being drafted to go participate in the worst mass thing that has ever happened to people on earth, I'll pout about sports."

The 1930s

"If a few other bowl games sprout up and eventually become part of the Playoff, I will stop watching college football and only allow myself to vacation in cities that will never host bowls. This rules out Evansville, Indiana.

Also, if the Associated Press goes through with the Top 25 concept that likewise develops into an annual cornerstone of the sport, I will force myself to forget how to count."

"If a school from the talent-deprived and passion-free Southeast is allowed to compete in the Rose Bowl itself against a more respectable outfit, I wi-"




The 1920s

"If coaches like Pop Warner and Knute Rockne keep coming up with strategies and ideas that will establish the groundwork for the next century of American football tactics, I will cry and stop watching anything with tactics in it."

"If more and more schools around the country continue adopting what was clearly intended to be a Northeastern variation on soccer, I will be drafted into the most horrifically pointless war in world history."

"If the forward pass is legalized, I'll just start watching boxing, a sport with too much integrity to ever change."

"If Theodore Roosevelt tells colleges to stop letting students murder each other on the field, I won't even bother to set up a tailgate anymore."

"If the Big Ten founds itself, I am going to scream into my pillow until I am hoarse."

"If the Harvard-Yale series is suspended until 1897 due to catastrophic player injuries, college football can kiss my lily ass goodbye [/mimes ass-kiss, 1894-style]."

All of the 1880s

"If that bastard Walter Camp doesn't stop making up rules that will eventually come to be realized as fundamental to American football, I'm canceling my subscriptions to recruiting websites and dying of some horrible-sounding plague that 20th-century medicine will eradicate."

"If a bunch of eventual Ivy League schools establish the first American football governing body, I will never watch television again, not even if I somehow live until it is created."

"If a bunch of football-playing schools assemble to agree on one set of rules, I will die around the age of 44, as is my approximate life expectancy at this point in history, due to things not being as great as they will be in 2014."

"If Rutgers and Princeton invent college football, I am d-o-n-e with college football."


"If groups of young men, whether Native American or English or other, play a sport somewhat similar to soccer that is incredibly unruly and will probably eventually contribute to American football, I will insist they just play soccer."

Be uneasy about the future. We all are. But hope for the best, and don't lie about giving up things we love.

College football television coverage continues to reach new heights as its audience expands digitally as well. No, we will not "just stop watching college football."

We need it, whether the players are able to reform their own medical treatment or not.

Watch the video: The History of Football in 10 Minutes


  1. Drew

    This version has aged

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