Football is one of, if not the oldest sports in the world. Most of it is down to the countless number of historic clubs that have lent their contribution to the history of this beautiful game. FootTheBall compiles the top 10 oldest, active football clubs in the world. England’s now most expensive footballer has played for one of these clubs, indicating their longevity.
10. Wrexham FC, 1864
The Welsh club is the oldest professional football club in Wales and one of the oldest in the world.
Manchester United just missed out on this list, being founded in 1878- Here’s Jurrien Timber profile, defender rumoured to take them back to their glory days!
The Dragons as they’re known were formed in 1864 and have gained a cult following recently following Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney’s takeover.
9. Royal Engineers Association FC, 1863
Royal Engineers Association is not what you can call a professional club, but the players take pride in their team.
The Sappers were formed in 1863 by Major Francis Marindin, and the team prefers to play a more combination game rather than just attacking.
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8. Civil Service FC, 1863
The Civil Service FC were formed in 1863 and were among the 11 clubs that formed the English FA.
The London club currently plays in the Southern Amateur League. Although it used to play both Football and Rugby in its early years, they switched to football later.
Civil Service FC played an honorary game to celebrate the FA’s 150th anniversary in 2013 at Buckingham Palace.
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7. Stoke City FC, 1863
The Potters are the oldest Premier League club having been formed in 1863.
Stoke City was formed by people from the Charterhouse School and was named Stoke Ramblers which was later changed in 1928.
The club currently play at the bet365 Stadium which was opened in 1997.
6. Notts County, 1862
The Meadow Lane outfit is the oldest professional football club in the world, having been formed in 1862. (Crystal Palace dissolved in 1876, re-founded in 1905)
The Nottingham based club have played over 4750 football league games, way more than any other English club. A part of some of these has been Jack Grealish, England’s most expensive footballer of all time!
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Notts County wears the traditional white and black stripes, the same as Juventus.
5. Cray Wanderers FC, 1860
Cray Wanderers FC is a semi-professional football club based in London.
The club were founded in 1860 and is the oldest club in London.
Cray Wanderers play at the Hayes Lane, which has a capacity of about 5000 people and has a very strong supporter base. The club currently play in the Isthmian League Premier Division.
4. Hallam FC, 1860
The Sheffield based club was formed in 1860 and is currently playing the Northern Counties East League One Division.
Hallam FC play at Sandygate Road, which is recognized by the Guinness Books of World Record as the oldest football stadium in the world.
Hallam are the fifth oldest football club in the world.
3. Lima CFC, 1859
This is a huge surprise as the tiny club from Peru is one of the oldest in the world, having been formed in 1859.
Lima CFC is both a football and cricket club, with the football team currently playing in the San Isidro District’s local league.
It is suggested that the club was formed by English migrants, although the club is small it has a lot of history behind it.
2. Cambridge University AFC, 1857
The US-based club was formed in 1857, however, university officials claim that the club was formed a year earlier.
The Cambridge University Association Football Club play at the Grange Road Stadium, which is also known as Fenner’s Pitches. The stadium has a seating capacity of just about 1000 people.
1. Sheffield FC – 1857
Sheffield FC is the oldest football club in the world, which their fans take immense pride in.
The club is currently playing in the Northern Premier League Division One South.
Sheffield was founded by local cricketers on October 24, 1857. The club currently play at the Coach and Horses Ground which has a seating capacity of just over 2000 people.
The curious case of the history of ‘Football Badge’
While we talked about the oldest football clubs here, the thing that holds the whole history of football clubs is the badge. Therefore, it’s worth noting the history of the ‘Football badge’ and its consequent commercialisation since.
The badge originated from the patterns drawn by ancient knights on the shield, and later evolved into the family badge and the city badge Early European football clubs’ badges are usually designed with the elements of the city and its landmarks. Manchester United did not have a team logo till the 1960s!
A badge is a symbol of historic football clubs. Most clubs initially only wore sewn badges on jerseys for large occasions, but by the 1960s, teams began to regularly display custom designs on their jerseys and badges were made into popular fans’ products such as custom badges stickers, custom keychains, custom pins etc. Hardcore fans even get the badge of their team tattooed on their bodies!