Hallam FC

Playing football since 1860 at Sandygate, The Worlds Oldest Football Ground

Our History

History of Hallam FC

Located in a leafy suburb of Sheffield 10 to the West of the city centre and some 800 feet above sea level lies Sandygate Road, officially the oldest football ground in the World and home of Hallam FC since 1860, thus making them the second oldest football club in the World to Sheffield FC.

After the formation of Hallam Cricket club in 1804 by the landlord of the Plough Inn the club blossomed. By the 1850's it had more than three hundred members. Many of these members, familiar with the team football being played by Sheffield FC (formed in 1857), wished to create a less exclusive club led by cricketers. Thus in 1860, Hallam FC was born.

The first ever challenge match took place against Sheffield FC on Boxing Day 1860 at Sandygate Road. This is still believed to be the first ever Inter Club game and the oldest to survive until today.

John Shaw who was the founder and captain of Hallam FC represented the Sheffield Football Association and along with Charles Alcock of the Football Association of London created a nationally accepted set of rules of playing the game. The two gentlemen in fact both captained their respective teams in the first all Sheffield match with London in 1871 in which they experimented with the new rules.

In 1867 Hallam went on to win the Youdan Cup named after a local football enthusiast Thomas Youdan. This is believed to have been the first cup competition and the oldest football trophy in the World. Although lost for a number of years it resurfaced with a Scottish antique dealer in 1997.

As professionalism grew within the game and more clubs were formed Hallam struggled to compete, they were content to retain their amateur status and still enjoyed success in local league and cup competitions. A crowd of over two thousand spectators filled Sandygate as they defeated Bishop Auckland in an FA Amateur cup game in 1925.

Hallam progressed through the senior local leagues and had the opportunity to play more famous clubs in the FA Amateur Cup competition. One such cup match against Dulwich Hamlet in 1953 was played at Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough stadium and attracted a crowd of over 13,000 spectators. Hallam went on to win the Sheffield senior cup four times during the 1950's and 1960's.

With the restructure of the amateur leagues in 1982/83 season Hallam had to make extensive fund raising efforts to meet the requirements of the new ground grading system which was as influential on promotion as the team’s performance itself and to pay a premium for the 99 year extension of the ground lease which had to be met within 12 months of being agreed with their landlords, a burden to be shared by the cricket club. The ground lease is due to expire in 2088.

Necessary improvements to the ground included the provision of floodlights, first used in 1992, a 250 seat stand and a covered standing area to house one hundred spectators. The fund-raising was boosted by a legacy from a late supporter and the two new stands were completed for the 1999/2000 season. New changing rooms were then built behind the main stand and the old ones were refurbished internally to create a licensed clubhouse.

During season 2000/2001, Hallam FC received two certificates from the Guinness World Records organisation, which recognised that Sandygate was the Oldest Football Ground still in use and that Hallam FC possesses the World's oldest "knock-out" cup, namely the "Youdan Cup" of 1867.Both certificates can be seen proudly displayed in the entrance porch of the 1860 suite.

In 2003/04 season a barren spell of 36 years without a trophy was ended as the club beat Mickleover Sports 1-0 in the NCEL cup final at Buxton.

2009/2010 season saw the club's 150th anniversary season celebrated with a Dinner and the replay of the first inter club match with Sheffield FC which was delayed until May Day 2011 due to a heavy snow cover on the Sandygate Road pitch on Boxing day itself. The closely fought game watched by a crowd of over five hundred spectators saw Sheffield win 2-1 to take home the Alan Cooper Memorial Trophy. A special 150th anniversary edition of "The Countrymen" the official History of the club written by John A. Steele was also published to mark the anniversary.

We slipped from the Premier Division at the end of 2010/11 after 17 consecutive seasons and this lead to several difficult seasons

In 2011-12 the marvellous legacy left to the club by lifelong fan Roger Bell allowed the facilities to be upgraded in line with the modern day league requirements and to refurbish the clubhouse which was officially re-opened by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, who was the local MP for Sheffield, Hallam, on the 13th April 2012 as the "1860 Suite”.

On the pitch we eventually saw an upturn in performances with both 2015/16 and 2016/17 being rewarded with play-off semi-final places whilst in 2017/18, the club remained in contention for the play-offs until the last week of the season.

Progress continued in 2018/19 with an excellent third place finish which would have previously qualified us for the play offs however re-organisation of many leagues deemed that no play-offs took place and only one team promoted.

Two seasons were then effectively lost to Covid 19 but on full resumption last season Manager Craig Denton and his backroom group lead the team to an excellent Championship winning season creating several new records along the way and a return to the Premier Division after an absence of ten seasons.

With great support from the terraces the team looks ahead to the forthcoming season with great anticipation!

The "Hallam Football Club" is an unincorporated Association of its Members with our home ground at Sandgate Road, Crosspool, Sheffield, S105SE.

CASC Registration No: 06142


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