1820 to 1878-79


Leicestershire has a long and extensive football tradition that goes back as far as the mid-fourteenth century, when John O’Gaunt stopped at Ratby on his way to Leicester to watch a football match.

The Great Leicestershire Cricket and Football Club that existed in the early 1840s is thought to be one of the oldest football clubs in England. Little, however, is known about this club.

The earliest known newspaper report of a game of football in Leicestershire, between Appleby and Ibstock, took place a field at Snarestone in front of several thousand spectators in 1822. The Challenge match – 12 guineas a side – was ‘not properly decided’.

The only Leicestershire local rules found to date are those of Uppingham School – the simplified rules of 1862 – which are remarkably similar to the Sheffield Rules.

St Margaret’s Club played Belgrave in November 1871 – the earliest football match (found to date) played in Leicester.

The first game of football played on Victoria Park, Leicester was between members of the the Leicester Athletic FC in 1872.

The earliest known game of Association Football (found to date) involving Leicestershire clubs took place in Kibworth in November 1874 when “a Second Twelve of the Leicester Athletic Society played against Beauchamp House, Kibworth (Association rules), and after a very pleasant game proved victorious, as they scored two goals to their opponents’ nothing.”

Other local football clubs which are known to have played Association Football during the 1870s include Thursday Half-Holiday, Coalville, St Margaret’s, Wigston, and Wyggestion School.

Coalville Football Club founded in 1876 adopted the Sheffield rules, and published a fixture list for their inaugural season.

Ashby football manslaughter case (1878) – Herbert Dockerty was found not guilty.

In late 1878 both Leicester and Loughborough staged exhibition football matches played under electric light.

Friendly Matches

Additional Information