Sheffield F.C. home in ‘home of football’

Video: Sheffield FC The World's Oldest Football Club (YouTube)

Sheffield Football Club – since it was formed in 1857 – has been shuttling between various venues.

When Sheffield Football Club formed in 1857 their first home was East Bank, so named as it stood on the East bank of the River Sheaf. The players would get changed at Park House, where members wrote their first rules, before making their way to the field.

Sheffield F.C. is an English football club from Sheffield, South Yorkshire, although now based in Dronfield, Derbyshire (UK). They currently compete in the Northern Premier League Division One South East.

Nomadic existence

A statement on the Sheffield F.C website stated that from 1873 through to the formation of Sheffield United in 1889 the club listed Bramall Lane as their primary ground, also playing games at Newhall, Ecclesall Road, and the Old Forge ground in Attercliffe (UK). For the next two decades, the club led a somewhat nomadic existence, with Ecclesall Road becoming their primary residence before Owlerton and the Niagara Grounds, in Wadsley Bridge, around the turn of the century.

Club founder Nathaniel Creswick would later reminisce the very first match, recalling in a letter from the Sheffield F.C. archive, “I remember the first game in Mr. Thomas Turner’s field at East Bank and played in it in 1957.” The best view we can have of the site today is to look down on the car park of the B&Q store on Queens Road!

After the First World War when football resumed Sheffield moved to the new Abbeydale Park ground, this was to be their home facility for over 60 years. When league officials stated that the dressing rooms were quite a distance from the pitch a change of home to Hillsborough Park followed, with that then being declared as not to league standards after one season! A move to the 25,000-capacity Don Valley Stadium saw the club struggling with small attendances in the vast ground and the somewhat more compact Owlerton Stadium was also used for a period. Thus, the club was swinging like a pendulum from one ground to the other with no permanent venue of their own.

Home venue at last!

The statement on the Sheffield F.C. website added that shuttling between venues was also harming the future prospects of the club and was certainly not a healthy proposition for them. The club was in immediate need of a venue to call their own. In 2001, Sheffield F.C. moved to their current base, at the Coach & Horses in Dronfield. It had earlier served as the digs of the English association football club Norton Woodseats who had fallen on hard times and seen the club dissolved in 1999.

Sheffield’s first game at their new facility was a 0-0 draw against Thackley on April 21st, 2001, although the official opening took place the following July when Premier League team Manchester United side were the visitors for a momentous game.

Thackley A.F.C. is a football club based in Thackley, North Bradford, West Yorkshire, England. The club plays in the Northern Counties East League Premier Division.

Sheffield F.C. heaved a sigh of relief because at last they had a place to call their own home arena and over the next decade they showed their prowess on the pitch, clinching promotion to the Northern Premier League in 2007 and lifting League and Sheffield & Hallamshire FA Cup silverware.

‘The home of football’

A bright future and a whole new world now await Sheffield F.C. as it prepares to build a 4,000-seat arena at Meadowfield in Durham, UK. Locally, the site is known as the transport ground. On the site will sit a stadium. The club will return to its birthplace – Sheffield – where the game of football was first brought to life.

It will be known as ‘The Home of Football’ and will, for the very first time in the club’s history, lodge all its many teams on one site.

Sheffield F.C.’s planned venue will not only serve as a site to play footy, it will also woo international tourists where fans from every nation and supporting every club can visit where Football Kicked off.

The world’s oldest football club wants to build the 4,000-capacity arena alongside an interactive attraction.

‘The Star’ reported that Sheffield F.C. hopes the new ground at Sheffield Transport Sports Club, just off Meadowhead Roundabout, will become a place of pilgrimage drawing fans of the world’s best loved sport from around the globe.

The club’s Chairman, Richard Tims, believes the stadium could be ready in as little as two years, in what would be a long-awaited homecoming for a side which has spent the last two decades outside the City limits in Dronfield.

Tims is confident the heritage center will help Sheffield cash in on its proud sporting history as the place where the rules of the modern game were developed, having in the past been overshadowed by Manchester, where the National Football Museum is housed.

The National Football Museum is England’s national museum of football. It is based in the Urbis building in Manchester City Centre, and preserves, conserves and displays important collections of football memorabilia.

‘The Star’ quoted Tims as stating, “St Andrews is known around the world as the home of golf, Lord’s is the home of cricket, and we want Sheffield (City in England) to get the recognition it deserves as the home of football,” he said.

“This will be somewhere to which the sport’s three billion fans can make a pilgrimage and pay homage to the City which gave the world the beautiful game,” Tims added.

“It doesn’t matter whether you support Sheffield United or Sheffield Wednesday, this is about being proud of the region’s sporting heritage. We need everyone to get behind this and let the world know Sheffield is where football kicked off.”

Sheffield United F.C. is a professional football club in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England, which competes in the Premier League, the top division of English football.

Sheffield Wednesday F.C. is a professional association football club based in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England. The team competes in the Championship, the second tier of the English football league system.

Sheffield F.C. is preparing to apply to the North East Derbyshire District Council for permission to build homes on the site of its existing ground in Dronfield, which the club says are needed to bankroll the move.

Should that the same get greenlighted, it hopes to submit plans to the Sheffield Council before 2021 end for the new ‘Home of Football’ stadium at Meadowhead, which it says could be built in a year.

Apart from the arena, heritage center and a club shop, the new facilities would include a training academy.

Sheffield F.C. had planned to move to the Olive Grove sports ground in Heeley, near where the club began life at East Bank, but was forced to look elsewhere after those proposals cut no ice.

Its new stadium plans are being unfolded as part of a major marketing blitzkrieg to raise awareness regarding the club, founded in 1857, at a global level.

Sheffield F.C. has launched a new website and is inviting football fans around the globe to sign up free to what it hopes will become the world’s largest club membership scheme.

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