Hopes to display historic Sheffield FC rules in city remain despite club missing out in £56,700 auction

Officials at Sheffield FC are still hoping there may be a chance to display a 162-year-old copy of their original football rules in the city – despite failing to buy it in auction.

Monday, 26th July 2021, 12:37 pm

The club launched a major fundraising drive to try to bring in £50,000 to buy the rule book when it went up for sale at Sotheby’s at the end of last week.

But in the end the piece of the club’s history fetched £56,700, and was sold to an anonymous buyer in the UK.

Sheffield FC chairman Richard Tims said the club, formed in 1857, had not given up hope of being able to display the book in the future, and said he would be asking the auctioneers to pass his details to the buyer in the hope that they would be prepared to contact him.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Sheffield FC Chairman Richard Tims.

The booklet is one of only two known copies of the booklet still in existence. The other copy sold to a buyer in the Middle East several years ago

Mr Tims said today: “It’s early yet, but what I will do, and what I did after the last sale, is to write to Sotheby's from the club, and ask for our details to be passed on. If they are a friend of the club, we will see what happens. There are a lot of private collectors out there, and we don’t know if it has been bought by a football fan or a collector of historic books, as it was in a books and manuscripts sale rather than sporting memorabilia.

“We’re a bit sad we could not buy it, but it went for well above the reserve price.”

He has still not given up hope on the possibility of the other copy of the rules coming back to the club for display.

Sheffield FC rule book

The club has contacted people who donated to its crowdfunding appeal to raise money for the attempted purchase, to refund their money. Some have said they can keep the money as a contribution to the club, which is currently based in Dronfield but has plans to move to Meadowhead.

In the meantime, the club is preparing for the world’s oldest local derby, on Tuesday July 27, against Hallam FC, formed in 1860, at the world’s oldest football ground, Sandygate.

Local journalism holds the powerful to account and gives people a voice. Please take out a digital subscription or buy a paper.

Thank you. Nancy Fielder, editor