Presented by: Steve Greenfield

This paper draws upon work being carried in the Haileybury School archives using contemporary reports on the development of the sporting and cultural life of the school from its foundation in 1862 through the first 20 years of its existence. The School took over the grounds and buildings of the East India College that was founded in 1806 and was closed by Act of Parliament in 1855.

It specifically charts the emergence of football at the school and covers four distinct areas.

1.      The organisation of the game and the developing rules under which the game was played.

2.      The creation and membership of the School, House and other teams.

3.      The opponents for ‘foreign’ fixtures.

4.       Match reporting.

Football was much less established than the summer sport of cricket and originally developed in something of a piecemeal fashion. It was organised by the pupils themselves with the emphasis on both formal House matches and informal games between newly created teams such as ‘Blondes v Brown. Foreign fixtures were, at the outset, rare and limited to a familiar list of opponents – none of them Schools.

There is a rich picture of a developing football culture that then assumed greater importance in the life of the school. The significant status of the players within ‘The Twenty’ is documented through the annual review and the match reports offer a detailed analysis of how the game was being played on the field. Overall It provides an insight into an emerging regulatory framework of both rules, teams and fixtures.

Article © Steve Greenfield