What a tragedy that Sheffield FC is being forced to sell off its archives and the historic 1858 set of Sheffield football rules which introduced laws of the game that still exist today.
I understand that Sheffield FC, the oldest club in the world, is having sell these archives in order to secure the club’s future.
Sotheby’s of London, who will be auctioning these in July, have described the set of rules as an ‘important historical document’ which is bound to attract international interest and the total archive is expected to fetch up to £1.2m.
According to the Financial Times ‘such is the worldwide interest in the archive, that it is being taken to Paris, New York and Doha by the auction house in the coming weeks to attract potential buyers’.
Sheffield FC were formed in 1857, six years before the formation of the Football Association and these rules were notable for their innovation and for taking the game out of the hands of the elite educational establishment. This handwritten pamphlet outlining the rules of club football is one of the earliest codifications of the world’s most popular game.
If this were a sculpture, an ancient artifact or a work of art, there would be a national campaign to keep it in this country. And I have a feeling that if it was a London football club every effort would be made to raise the cash to keep it in the city.
We are the fourth largest city in the country. Surely we have enough wealthy philanthropists living here, and committed to Sheffield, to help us keep this important piece of Sheffield heritage and a unique historic document, within our city.
Coun Peter Price, Shiregreen/Brightside