On a beautiful sunny Sunday afternoon, an intrepid group of the curious, football enthusiasts and historians took part in a football heritage walking tour around Sheffield city centre led by John Wilson and Richard Tims – Chairman of Sheffield F.C. The Heritage Open Day tour was designed to identify and explain the unique football heritage in Sheffield which makes it the home of football. It was even interesting enough to attract away, for an interlude, a couple who were attending the gin festival!
Much of this wonderful football heritage is now largely invisible but there are still a few indicators of this glorious history. The walk began outside the Crucible Theatre which is built on the site of the Adelphi Hotel where meetings were held to create Bramall Lane Cricket Ground (30 January 1854), Yorkshire Cricket Club (8 January 1863) and Sheffield Wednesday F.C. (4 September 1867). A plaque inside the Crucible celebrates the founding of these sporting institutions.
On Norfolk Row there is another plaque recording the founding of Sheffield United F.C. (1889) and in the window of the Cutlers Hotel on George Street is a bust of William Prest one of the founders of Sheffield F.C. (24 October 1857). Inside the hotel is a fascinating wall celebrating some of ‘The Club’s’ history as the world’s first football club
For many shoppers and virtually all visitors and tourists to the city this remarkable football heritage is unknown. Michael Wood the historian acknowledges this remarkable heritage in the video posted below. Just as there is a statue celebrating the contributions of the ‘Women of Steel’ outside the City Hall, there should be a statue or other form of commemoration for Sheffield’s contribution of football to the world. Who is going to do it?