The FA Cup will go on display in Sheffield as part of a major football exhibition celebrating the city’s role as the ‘crucible’ of the modern game.
A copy of the Sheffield Rules, which are widely credited with shaping the sport as we know it today, will also be on public show for the first time, alongside numerous other football ‘treasures’.
They will be brought together at Sheffield Central Library on Thursday, October 25, just yards from where the rules were written at the former Adelphi Hotel, where the Crucible Theatre now stands.
The Sheffield Football Treasures exhibition is being staged to mark 160 years since the rules were drawn up here, and to build on the growing momentum behind efforts to market the city as the true ‘home of football’.
Visitors will also be able to see several of the game’s oldest trophies, the ball with which Brian Deane scored the first ever Premier League goal, the 2016/17 SkyBet League One trophy and much more.
And they will be encouraged to bring their own memorabilia to be looked over by experts and to share their sporting memories to build an oral history of the beautiful game in the city.
Councillor Mary Lea, cabinet member for parks, culture and leisure at Sheffield Council, said: “This is an amazing opportunity to celebrate Sheffield’s unique status as the home of football. Whether you’re an Owl, Blade, or follow the fortunes of Sheffield FC or Hallam FC, this event is for you.
“It’s simply not right that so many people still don’t know about Sheffield’s role in creating the beautiful game as we know it. To see those historic rules alongside the FA Cup will show how strongly we value Sheffield’s role in creating the world’s number one game.
“As well as seeing Sheffield’s football heritage close up, you can hear all about the famous footballing firsts that took place in the city, record your Sheffield footballing memories and join the growing movement to help the city celebrate its unique position as the crucible in which the world’s favourite game was forged.”
Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United have teamed up with the world’s oldest football club, Sheffield FC; Hallam FC, whose ground is the world’s oldest; and Sheffield & Hallamshire County FA to loan their historic artefacts for the exhibition.
Fans will be able to get their photo taken with the FA Cup and other famous trophies including the Youdan Cup, which is the world’s oldest knockout prize; and the Sheffield Association Challenge Cup from 1876/77, which was England’s first ever County Association Cup.
They will also get the chance to view the Clegg Shield, awarded to the winners of the oldest surviving school football tournament, in which England star Kyle Walker was once a finalist; and an FA commemorative goblet given to the city for hosting the 1966 World Cup quarter-final.
The free event, which will take place from 10.30am to 2.30pm, follows the successful launch of the Sheffield Home of Football walking app earlier this year.
Steps are afoot to turn the app into a children’s book so youngsters can better appreciate Sheffield’s role as the birthplace of modern football, and a film is being made about former Sheffield Wednesday winger Fred Spiksley, who was one of the game’s first superstars and shared a stage with Charlie Chaplin.
Football historian Martin Westby said the Sheffield Rules, written on October 27, 1858, proved ‘hugely influential’ in the evolution of the modern game and it would be a ‘proud’ moment for the city have a copy on display alongside the FA Cup.
The rules evolved and by 1862 included innovations like the corner kick, the crossbar and the halfway line kick-off, which the Football Association would adopt.
Councillor Anne Murphy, who has spearheaded the drive to market Sheffield as the home of football, described the event as ‘an exciting chance to celebrate Sheffield football heritage’.
Sheffield United’s FA Cup winners from 1899 (pic: Sheffield City Council)
And Nick Partridge, of Sheffield Libraries, said it was ‘just the start’ when it came to raising awareness within Sheffield and further afield of the city’s ‘rich footballing history’.
A Sheffield United programme from 1899 (pic: Sheffield City Council)