Kicking off a football feast

TV historian Michael Wood (centre) with teacher Steve Faulkner and Callum Furniss.
TV historian Michael Wood (centre) with teacher Steve Faulkner and Callum Furniss.
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A festival of football next week will kick off a project designed to celebrate Sheffield as the true home of the world’s most popular sport.

TV historian Michael Wood will present medals at the event at Hallam FC’s Sandygate ground on Wednesday, June 26, to officially launch the lottery-backed Home of Football initiative.

Michael visited Notre Dame RC High School to find out more about the plans, and talked to All Saints High history teacher Steve Faulkner about the city’s rich football heritage.

Former top flight referee Uriah Rennie will take charge of two games on the day in a top hat, with the help of pupils from Forge Valley Community School.

Boys and girls will wear old fashioned football kits and will attempt to play with a vintage leather football, according to original 1858 Sheffield Rules.

Notre Dame teacher John Wilson said: “Football involves billions of people around the world yet most are unaware that Sheffield is the ancestral home of the modern game.

“Sheffield has a genuinely unique football heritage which has influenced the modern game and can be found nowhere else in the world, and we want to celebrate that.”

Pupils from All Saints, Forge Valley, Westfield and Handsworth Grange have all been working on the project, researching archives with the help of their teachers and football historians.

They have recorded their findings in a brochure, a programme for the day and a blog.

The plans were inspired by Michael Wood’s BBC2 series The Great British Story: A People’s History, which led to community groups being offered development grants of up to £10,000.

Michael said: “Youngsters have been finding how Sheffield has helped shaped the modern game - it is a fascinating story.”