The history of the oldest football clubs in the world is a fascinating topic of discussion for all fans of the beautiful game. In addition to legendary players, stadiums and the contents of trophy cabinets, the age of a football club is one of the more intriguing aspects of its identity.
Very few of the oldest clubs in the world receive the attention of those at the elite level of the game, namely because many of them are local sides plying their trade in the lower leagues of their respective regions.
The United Kingdom is widely considered to be the birthplace of association football, although nowadays the sport has spread to every corner of the globe including the rest of Europe, South America, Africa and Asia. The first official match is recognised to have taken place on December 19th, 1863 in London, which lends to the fact that many of the oldest clubs in existence were formed within England, Scotland and Wales.
Whether amateur, semi-professional or professional, these are the 20 oldest active football clubs in the world, and even the most knowledgeable of fans will be hard-pressed to have come across all of them.
20 T18. Abingdon Town FC – 1870
19 T18. Marlow FC – 1870
18 T18. Stranraer FC – 1870
17 Kilmarnock FC – 1869
16 T15. Harefield United FC – 1868
15 T15. Fordingbridge Turks FC – 1868
14 T13. Sheffield Wednesday FC – 1867
13 T13. Queen’s Park FC – 1867
12 Nottingham Forest FC – 1865
11 T10. Brigg Town FC – 1864
10 T10. Wrexham FC – 1864
9 T7. Civil Service FC – 1863
8 T7. Royal Engineers Association FC – 1863
7 T7. Stoke City FC – 1863
6 Notts County – 1862
5 T4. Hallam FC – 1860
4 T4. Cray Wanderers – 1860
3 Lima CFC – 1859
2 T1. Cambridge University AFC – 1857
1 T1. Sheffield FC – 1857
Tied atop this list with Cambridge University AFC, Sheffield FC was also founded in 1857. The 158-year-old club is more likely to be the oldest association football club in the world, with FIFA commemorating their 150th anniversary by awarding it an Order of Merit in 2007. The South Yorkshire outfit currently competes in the eight-tier Northern Premier League Division One South and plays its home fixtures at the Coach and Horses Ground in Dronfield, Derbyshire. The club, currently managed by former English footballer Andy Kiwomya, has a proud history and is arguably the more deserving holder of the oldest football club in the world.
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