Woolwich Arsenal Football Team, 1895
The Virtual Victorian loves football, and with the season about to start again it seemed a good enough reason to look back through the mists of history, with many of our modern teams having had their origins in the early 1800s.
At this time, a dribbling form of the sport (as opposed to the handling game developed at Rugby school) was played at institutions such as Eton, Shrewsbury and Charterhouse. But the rules of the game were varied (sometimes from one half to the other) and fixtures played by the 'old boys' at university, or in the army, often descended into chaos.
A Corner Kick by Thomas Hemy. 1892
Sunderland v Aston Villa, the two most successful teams of the decade.
However, with a rapidly growing support base, it soon became a necessity to impart some Victorian discipline, which is why, in 1863, the newly formed Football Association drew up its rules and regulations ~ which also proposed using referees to offer protection against the all too frequent violent tackles. Broken bones were far from rare!
Goal! By Thomas Hemy. 1882
Teams were also encouraged to wear more than coloured caps or scarves to identity themselves. By 1872, at the first FA Cup final, The Wanderers donned what must have been a fetching combination of pale pink, cerise, and black. Meanwhile, the Royal Engineers were somewhat more subdued in a manly dark red and navy blue.
The Wanderers, originally known as Forest, in 1863
Arsenal FC - a fine and dashing squad of men!