Friday, October 26, 2007

150 Years And 2 Days OId

Celebrating From The Terraces

On Wednesday Sheffield FC celebrated its 150th Anniversary with this posh bash.

I wasn't present, but was in London to undertake some research into Parliamentary Archive material. But I did make the celebratory friendly match which the club held on its home ground the preceding evening. A football match with the regulars present seems to me to be a more appropriate way to celebrate an historic anniversary than a (partially) black tie event - although I am not against the latter which raises the Clubs image and links.

The match was against an FA Non-League XI. There were over 40 youngsters as mascots, decked out in the two teams' colours. There were also flags, photo calls and video cameras to record the event; all this seemed just the ideal atmosphere. We even had a top flight referee in control of the proceedings in Uriah Rennie.

Sheffield Versus Sheffield

It mattered little that we lost 2-0 against an impressive FA XI. After all, we lost an earlier celebration game when the visitors were Sheffield United who fielded a reasonably strong team including Paddy Kenny and James Bettie.

United's football was fast, fit and frantic; except for Bettie who ambled through the game. Yet he scored a hat-trick. The first from a penalty. The second from a toe poke when the ball was bobbing around the Sheffield FC goal. Then finally from the edge of the six-yard box when he was left completely unmarked.

At least Sheffield FC got the last and best goal of the game via their impressive recent signing, Stewart Copnell. And again there was plenty of atmosphere, with another pile of mascots and a crowd of 700 or so, which is three times the norm.

Into European Football

We have a third celebration to attend. This one will be at Bramall Lane (just 5 miles away) against Inter-Milan. At least we will win on mascots.

I don't mind losing celebratory games, as we are doing well for a newly promoted team in competitive games. We are second in the Unibond Premier League. Our last home game being an exciting 2-1 win over Kidgrove Athletic, thanks to a fine second half revival. We have now lost only one of our last 9 competitive games and recently saw off Bradford Park Avenue on their own ground 2-0 in the FA Trophy.

Next Time

There is, however, a bigger celebration I am looking forward to. When Sheffield FC was established 150 years and 2 days ago, they could only fix up games amongst their members (it was rather like joining a club to play golf). But in 1860 a second football club was established as Hallam FC. Hallam still play on their original ground, which saw the first ever challenge match against Sheffield FC on Boxing Day that year.

The 150th Anniversary of that game will be on Boxing Day 2010. I insist that we have a re-match that day. If they want a black-tie dinner, they can have it afterwards in the evening. Here is my report of the memorable game that was played last Boxing Day on the 146th Anniversary.

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