Walk your way round Sheffield’s football history

Walk your way round Sheffield’s football history

25 April 2018

Sheffield is widely regarded as the birthplace of Association Football and now a new walking app will allow you retrace Sheffield’s football heritage, introducing you to the places and people that made Sheffield the home of football.

Devised by local historians Martin Westby and John Wilson and Sheffield tech company Llama Digital, the 'Sheffield: The Home of Football’ app covers the rich history of the city’s four remaining clubs (out of the 95 that existed between 1857 and 1889) and the Sheffield & Hallamshire County F.A. (England’s first County Football Association).

The walk is just over 4-and-a-half miles long and has 10 stops en-route with an audio guide throughout read by local actor Roger Bingham. It also uses photographs from Sheffield Libraries, Archives and Information to map the key places involved in the creation of the world’s number one sport and transport walkers back to the Victorian era when the world’s first football club started in Sheffield.

The walk can be done at any time and takes around 90 minutes to complete, though users may want to allow another 30 minutes of ‘extra time’ if they want to stay longer at the various points of interest.

The journey covers the second half of the 19th century telling the stories of the first ever football derby, the world’s oldest football cup, the first floodlit game at Bramall Lane and the ancient football grounds where the games were played, many of which are now long gone.

The walk begins at the tomb of Nathaniel Creswick at Heeley Parish Church, the co-founder of the world’s oldest football club, Sheffield FC, then winds its way into the city centre past sites of the early grounds and significant events which shaped the game that was to become the most popular sport in the world. It finishes at Highfield Library, the site of Sheffield Wednesday’s first ground.

If you can't make it to Sheffield to do the walk in person, you can always just peruse the app from the comfort of your own home to see these unique historic images and learn more about Sheffield's prolific football heritage. 

The app is downloadable at https://situate.io/homeoffootball  and there is a group on Facebook set up to support those using the app. Just search ‘Sheffield Home of Football’.