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Fourteen goals to none!

Published 11 June 2012

Text from the All England Cricket and Football Journal and Athletic Review, 1877

An exhibition of football-related material from Special Collections, marking the Euro 2012 Football Championship.

"Fourteen goals to none!" follows the story of football's medieval beginnings, 19th century development, and 20th century expansion, with a particular focus on international competition. The exhibition includes a range of books, newspaper reports, magazines, photographs, letters, poems and personal memorabilia.

The title comes from a match report in the All England Cricket and Football Journal and Athletic Review (Brotherton Yorkshire collection), published in Sheffield in 1877. The report describes Sheffield enjoying an emphatic victory against their Manchester rivals, though the humbled team were consoled by "a good dinner afterwards".

The Sheffield Football Association, formed in 1867, was particularly influential in the development of the modern game. Its rules of play contributed many of the aspects now familiar to fans of the sport, including corners, free kicks, and throw-ins. In the 1870s, the different regulations of the London-based Football Association and the Sheffield organisation gradually converged, producing a sport recognisable to millions of fans around the world today.

However, the history of football can be traced back much further, and the items in the first part of this exhibition document some of the notoriously anarchic medieval games. Successive British monarchs tried to ban matches, often fought between rival towns and villages, due to the damage and chaos that ensued. The first part of the exhibition also shows the historical development of football into a codified sport.

Part two demonstrates the popularity and influence of the modern game in the 20th century, and includes items from the Leeds Russian Archive, the Liddle Collection (First World War) and the English Literature Collection. Alongside this unique material, the display features a 1956 guide to playing the sport, which contains instructions on how to perform a two-footed lunging tackle - the kind that would make today's players, managers and referees wince.

Parts three and four of the exhibition trace the development of international competition, from a report on the first official international football match between England and Scotland in 1872 through to the present day. There are reports and images from European Championship and World Cup tournaments, including England's triumph at Wembley in 1966.