What is the oldest football team ? Football is one of the most popular sports in the world and has a long and rich history. It dates back to the mid-19th century; a period when the game evolved from being a past-time to an organized mainstream sport. Since its inception, the game has grown and evolved in many aspects, including the use of technology. However, the foundations of the sport still remain the same.
With football’s rise in the mid-1850s and 1860s in England, several teams came into existence at the time. They proceeded to compete at a professional level and dominate the list of the oldest football clubs in the world. So, in this article, we take a look at the oldest football clubs around the globe that are still active.
10. Queens Park (Scotland)
Queens Park are a football club based in Glasgow and are the oldest club in the history of Scottish football. Founded in July 1867, they are also the oldest team in the world, founded outside England and Wales. The club were an amateur side for the first 152 years of their existence. That was until its status was changed in November 2019, after a vote from the membership.
Despite playing as an amateur team, Queens Park have a rich history. They have won the Scottish Cup the third-most number of times (10). Moreover, they are also only the team from the country to play in an FA Cup final. In addition, they have also won Scotland’s second-tier football division title twice.
9. Nottingham Forest (England)
Founded in 1865, Nottingham Forest are a club based in West Bridgford, Nottinghamshire. The one-time first division title winners are one of the most successful clubs in the history of the country. They also have multiple wins in the FA Cup and the Football League Cup.
However, their most notable success has come on the continental stage, as they are among only four English clubs to win the European Cup on more than one occasion, with consecutive titles in 1979 and 1980.
8. Wrexham (Wales)
Based in Wrexham, Wales, Wrexham are the oldest club in Welsh football and were founded in October 1864. They currently compete in the fifth tier of English football. The club have won the Welsh Cup a total of 23 times and have also had success in other domestic competitions, such as the Football League Trophy and FA Trophy.
Despite not being one of the most successful clubs in the UK, Wrexham have some notable upset victories over Arsenal in 1992 FA Cup and FC Porto in the 1984 European Cup Winners’ Cup. Since November 2020, the team are owned by actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, after they bought the club through RR McReynolds Company LLC.
7. Brigg Town (England)
Established in 1864, Brigg Town are one of the oldest football clubs in the world and are based in Brigg in Lincolnshire. They currently play in Northern Counties East League Division One – a semi-professional English football league that stands ninth in the country’s football pyramid and have won the competition once in 2001.
6. Royal Engineers (England)
Formed in 1863, Royal Engineers represent the Corps of Royal Engineers – a division of the British Army and are based in Chatham, Kent. The team played an important part in the early history of English football and are credited as being one of the main developers of the passing game.
Royal Engineers won the FA Cup title in 1975 after being finalists in three of the first four seasons of the competition’s existence.
5. Stoke City (England)
Stoke City are one of the biggest clubs in English football and currently play in the EFL Championship, the second-highest football division in the country. Founded as Stoke Ramblers in 1863, the club changed their name to Stoke Football Club in 1878 and then later to Stoke City in 1925.
The Stoke-on-Trent-based club were one of the 12 founding members of the Football League in 1888. The club won the League Cup in 1972, which remains their only major trophy.
4. Notts County (England)
Based in Nottingham England, Notts County currently play in the fifth division of English football. Founded in 1862, the club predates the Football Association, as they were one of the founding members of the FA.
Notts County have secured a third-place finish twice in the country’s first-tier football league, which remains their highest league position. However, their most significant achievement came in the FA Cup, winning the competition in 1894.
3. Hallam FC (England)
Founded in 1860, Hallam FC are based in Crosspool, Sheffield, and play in the Northern Counties East League Division One, at level 10 of the English football league system. In 1867, they made history by winning the Youdan Cup, stated as the world’s first-ever football tournament.
The club plays their matches at Sandygate Road, which as per the Guinness Book of Records, is the oldest football ground in the world.
2. Cambridge University (England)
Cambridge University claim to be the oldest football club in the world, as the Football Association awarded them with a plaque in 2006 in honor of their 150th anniversary, giving official recognition to the foundation date of the club in 1856.
The team represents the University of Cambridge and currently plays in the Midland 1A of the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS), the governing body for university sport in the United Kingdom.
1. Sheffield FC (England)
Currently competing in the Northern Premier League Division One – level 7 of the English footballing system – Sheffield FC were founded in 1857 and are recognized to be the oldest football club by FIFA, a claim which is disputed by Cambridge University AFC, as Sheffield FC did not adopt the new FA rules until 1878.
They are one of only two recipients of the FIFA Order of Merit award, an honor presented to these making a significant contribution to association football.
Oldest Football Clubs
If football hadn’t become an organised sport then it would just be twenty-two men kicking a pig’s bladder around in a field.
As it happens it not only became organised but became arguably the biggest sport in the world, watched by millions on an almost daily basis. It is now big business, worth billions of pounds and played throughout the world.
We’ve already had a look at the country’s most successful clubs, found out about the first ever games and goals scored and talked about the oldest stadiums. But which teams were the first to cotton on to the fact that people would like to watch those twenty-two men kicking a pig’s bladder around a field?
The table below shows the oldest teams in the world we list on this site, below this you can find the oldest clubs in England. It is important to note that the oldest football team in England is Sheffield FC formed in 1857 and nearby Hallam FC formed in 1860.
We do not list these on the site as they play in lower leagues but they were critical clubs in the formation of football as we know it today. Sheffield FC were responsible for the formation of the Sheffield rules, many of which were adopted into FA rules we know today – although Sheffield FC did not adopt them until 1878.
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