Let Arthur Wharton come back from the dead
To see the man in black blow the final whistle.
Let the game of two halves be beautiful,
Not years ahead. Let every kissing of the badge,
Every cultured pass, every lad and lass,
Every uttered thought, every chant and rant,
Every strip and stripe – be free of it.
Then football would have truly played a blinder,
And Arthur returned to something kinder.
Let the man in black call time on racism.
And Arthur will sing out on the wings,
Our presiding spirit – the first black blade.
Imagine having everything to play for.
This is our pitch. Now hear us roar.
Here’s a selection of programme covers from landmark games in the club’s history. First up we have the the game against Scotland’s oldest club that was played on 24th October 1957 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the club. Then in 1977 came the club’s finest modern-day moment. A visit to Wembley to play in the FA Vase final. Manchester Utd provided the opposition for the 125th anniversary game whilst Inter Milan, who including World Cup winner Marco Materazzi and a certain Marco Balotelli in their line-up, made the trip to Sheffield to play in the 150th anniversary game.
On Monday 2nd May Hallam FC will play Sheffield FC in a special fixture to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the World’s oldest inter-club football fixture. This is as good a time as any to have a bit of a look back into the history of the Countrymen, as Hallam are known, and revisit the occasion of what is probably still their finest hour; their triumph in the World’s very first football tournament.
In 1867 a Sheffield theatre owner by the name of Thomas Youdan offered up a cup and some prize money so that local clubs could play what turned out to be the World’s first competitive cup-tie fixtures. Previously all games had been challenge matches with nothing at stake bar local pride and maybe a few pennies as a side bet. Twelve Sheffield clubs accepted the invitation to take part. Though the oldest amongst them Sheffield FC declined having decided earlier in 1867 to forsake the local game and play only games against teams from outside Sheffield in an effort to popularise the game on a national level. This isolationist policy, with the exception of two games against Sheffield Gymnasium in 1870, lasted until 1887.