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The Youdan Cup - The World’s First Football Trophy

The Youdan Cup, the World's first football trophy

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. 

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Hallam FC

  • Authenticated as the oldest football ground in the World
  • Proven to be the World’s second oldest football club
  • Winners of the World’s first football trophy

2010 sees Hallam FC celebrate their 150th anniversary. Founded in 1860 they have always played their games at Sandygate and it was this ground that hosted the World’s first ever inter-club match when Hallam hosted local rivals Sheffield FC on Boxing Day 1860. The game is still played to this day making it the oldest surviving football fixture in the World. The two clubs plan to meet on Boxing Day 2010 as part of the 150 years anniversary celebrations.

The Youdan Cup was the World’s first ever football tournament. Hallam won it beating Norfolk of Sheffield in the final played at Bramall Lane in 1867. More about this tournament in a later post.