The Oldest Football Club in the World

28.05.2008
Herbertson Scrapes through Against the Oldest Football Team in the World

In case you thought I had lost my reason this is one of these tricksy teasers. My Brother, Keith Herbertson donned the harlequinesque shirt of McCrae’s battalion Football team, last seen in 1916, to battle for a 3-2 victory against The Foot-ball Club of Edinburgh.

John Hope a 17 year old trainee lawyer, organised a season of games for this ‘Foot-Ball Club’, formed in Edinburgh.

The game involving 39 players, and ‘such kicking of shins and such tumbling’. Sticks marked the goals. The only surviving club rules forbade tripping, but allowed pushing holding and the lifting of the ball.

The subscription began at 1s. 6d. This paid for the hire of the park, the equipment and a boy, who probably blew up up the football but by all accounts, might have assisted the wounded and dying too. The most frequently purchased items were the bladders for the balls: They frequently burst.

The ball didn’t burst on this occasion. My brother, getting on in years but still fighting fit, helped the McCraes Battalion side to a hard fought victory and raised a few bob for ‘Cash for Kids’. You can even see him in the photo trying to straighten his back after a comrade had fallen by the wayside from exhaustion.

Jolly good fun though and I am going to trial for next year.

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