An 1881 Australian rules football match between Melbourne and Geelong. The clubs were founded in 1858 and 1859 respectively and currently compete in the Australian Football League (AFL), making them the world's oldest football clubs that are now professional.
An 1881 Australian rules football match between Melbourne and Geelong. The clubs were founded in 1858 and 1859 respectively and currently compete in the Australian Football League (AFL), making them the world's oldest football clubs that are now professional.

The oldest football clubs trace their origins to the mid-19th century, a period when football evolved from being a casual pastime to an organised mainstream sport.

The identity of the oldest football clubs in the world, or even in a particular country, is often disputed or claimed by several clubs, across several codes of football. The Foot-Ball Club of Edinburgh is thought to be the earliest recorded football club in the world, with records going back to 1824. Rugby clubs also referred to themselves, or continue to refer to themselves, as simply a "football club", or as a "rugby football club". "Club" has always meant an independent entity and, during the historical period in question, very few high school or university teams were independent of the educational institutions concerned. Consequently, school and university football teams were seldom referred to as "clubs". That has always been the case, for example, in American football, which has always had ties to college sport in general. Conversely, however, the oldest still-existing "football club" with a well-documented, continuous history is Dublin University Football Club, a rugby union club founded in 1854 at Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland. There exists some record of Guy's Hospital Football Club being founded in London in 1843, through an 1883 fixture card referring to Guy's 40th season.[1]

British Isles

Defunct clubs

Newspaper articles describing the game between the Body-guard Club and the Fear-nought Club, held on Christmas Day 1841

While the first clubs emerged in Britain, possibly as early as the fifteenth century, these are poorly-documented and defunct. For example, the records of the Brewers' Company of London between 1421 and 1423 mention the hiring out of their hall "by the "football players" for "20 pence", under the heading "Trades and Fraternities".[2] The listing of football players as a "fraternity" or a group of players meeting socially under this identity is the earliest allusion to what might be considered a football club.[3] Other early sporting bodies dedicated to playing football include "The Gymnastic Society" of London which met regularly during the second half of the eighteenth century to pursue two sports: football and wrestling.[4] The club played its matches – for example between London-based natives of Cumberland and Westmorland – at the Kennington Common from well before 1789 until about 1800.

The Foot-Ball Club (active 1824–41) of Edinburgh, Scotland, is the first documented club dedicated to football, and the first to describe itself as a football club.[5] The only surviving club rules forbade tripping, but allowed pushing and holding and the picking up of the ball.[6] Other documents describe a game involving 39 players and "such kicking of shins and such tumbling".

Other early clubs include the Great Leicestershire Cricket and Football Club present in 1840.[7]

On Christmas Day 1841, an early documented match between two self-described "football clubs" took place. The Body-guard Club (of Rochdale) lost to the Fear-nought Club after using an ineligible player as a substitute.[8][9][10] The complete rules used in this game are unknown, but they specified twelve players on each side,[9] with each team providing its own umpire, and the game being started by the firing of a pistol.[10]

A club for playing "cricket, quoits and football" was established in Newcastle on Tyne in or before 1848.[11] The Surrey Football Club was established in 1849 and published the first non-school football list of rules (which were probably based upon the eighteenth century Gymnastic Society cited above[12]). Windsor Home Park F.C. was in existence as early as 1854,[13] and would go on to compete in early editions of the FA Cup.[14]

Continuous clubs

Supported by the Guinness Book of Records, and founded by staff at Guy's Hospital in London in 1843, the Guy's, Kings and St Thomas' RFC would be the oldest "football" club of any code. Nevertheless, the connection between the present club and the original "Guy's Hospital" formed in 1843 is still disputed,[15] alleging that the present club is a modern amalgam of three formerly distinct hospital rugby clubs, starting with the Guy's Hospital and St Thomas' Hospital teams which were the first to merge following the union of their respective Medical Departments. The last department to merge was the King's College Hospital in 1999, although its club (founded in 1869) remained as a separate institution.

As the Guy's, Kings and St Thomas' RFC status is still disputed, other sources state that the Dublin University Football Club (DUFC), founded in 1854,[16] at Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland, would be the oldest "football" club. DUFC plays to the rugby union rules.

In Northern Ireland, the oldest football club is Cliftonville FC, formed in September 1879. It is also the oldest active professional football club on the island of Ireland.[17]

It has been claimed that the present-day Barnes Rugby Football Club, from Barnes in London, is a continuation of the nineteenth-century Barnes Football Club, and moreover that the latter club was formed in 1839 and is thus the oldest club to have played football for its entire history.[18] However, as of 2018, Barnes RFC's website claims only that the club was established in the 1920s, while alluding to "possibilities" that its history stretches back to 1862.[19]

Sheffield F.C. (here pictured in 1857) is the oldest independent (that is, not related with a school or university) association football club in the world
Sheffield F.C. (here pictured in 1857) is the oldest independent (that is, not related with a school or university) association football club in the world

Sheffield F.C. in England, is the world's oldest surviving independent open football club; that is, the oldest club not associated with an institution such as a school, hospital or university in which was open to all to play. It was founded in 1857.[20] Sheffield F.C. initially played Sheffield rules, a code of its own devising, although the club's rules influenced those of the England Football Association (FA (1863) including handball, free kicks, corners and throw ins. While the international governing body of association football, FIFA and the FA recognise Sheffield F.C. as the "world's oldest football club",[21] and the club joined the FA in 1863, it continued to use the Sheffield rules. Sheffield F.C. did not officially adopt association football until 1877.

Setting its birth date in 1856, Cambridge University A.F.C. has been described by the university as the oldest club now playing association football,[22][23][24] being recognised by The FA.[25] For example, : "Salopians formed a club of their own in the late 1830s/early 1840s but that was presumably absorbed by the Cambridge University Football Club that they were so influential in creating in 1846".[26] According to Charles Astor Bristed, in the early 1840s at Cambridge, there were games played between clubs from colleges and houses.[27] Football is documented as being played on the original club ground, Parkers Piece, as early as 1838.[28] The earliest existing evidence of the Cambridge University Football Club comes from "The Laws of the University Football Club" dated 1856, and held at Shrewsbury School.[24] The Cambridge rules of 1863 would provide the basis for the FA's original rules.

The only survivor among the FA's founding clubs still playing association football is Civil Service F.C.[29] Six of the 18 founding members later adopted rugby exclusively.[30] Cray Wanderers F.C., originally of St Mary Cray and currently playing in Bromley, founded in 1860, is the oldest club now playing association football in Greater London.[31] The code played by Cray Wanderers in its earliest years is unknown.

Liverpool Football Club (not to be confused with Liverpool F.C. of the Premier League), later known as Liverpool St Helens F.C., were formed in 1857, which claims to be the oldest open rugby club in the world. The club adopted the Rugby Union rules in 1872, never playing association rules.

Rest of the world

Africa

South Africa

Savages FC was the oldest club in Africa, founded on 26 August 1882.[citation needed]

Egypt

Gezira SC was the oldest club in Egypt founded in 1882.[citation needed]

Algeria

CDJ Oran was founded in 1894. It is the oldest club in Algeria and Maghreb.[citation needed]

Tanzania

Young Africans was founded in 1935. It is the oldest club in Tanzania.[citation needed]

Tunisia

ES Tunis was founded in 1919. It is the oldest club in Tunisia.[citation needed]

Ghana

Accra Hearts Of Oaks was founded in 1911. It is the oldest club in Ghana.[citation needed]

Morocco

Moghreb Tétouan was founded in 1922. It is the oldest club in Morocco. Moghreb Tétouan took part in Spanish Liga for 33 years until Morocco's independence was achieved in 1956.[citation needed]

Asia

Hong Kong

Some of the oldest clubs in Hong Kong include St Joseph's (1880), Hong Kong Football Club (1886), Buffs (1886), all formed by Britons. The first club formed by locals was South China AA (1904).[citation needed]

India

In India, some of the oldest clubs are Calcutta Football Club (founded in 1872, later merged with Calcutta Cricket Club founded in 1792 to form Calcutta Cricket and Football Club), Sarada FC, Aryan FC (1884), Sovabazar FC (1886), Mohun Bagan AC (1889), Mohammedan SC (1891), and East Bengal Club (1920). All of these clubs are from Kolkata.[32]

Iraq

Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya is a Baghdad-based men's club founded in 1931 in Kingdom of Iraq under British Administration. It plays within the Iraqi Premier League.[citation needed]

Japan

In Japan, the oldest rugby (1866) and association football club (1886) is Yokohama Country & Athletic Club.[citation needed]

The oldest continuing association football club is Tokyo Shukyu-Dan, founded in 1917.[citation needed]

Pakistan

The oldest continuing association football club for men of nowadays Pakistan is Karachi Port Trust Football Club, founded in 1887, at the time of the British Raj, when Karachi was part of the Bombay Presidency.[citation needed]

For women, the oldest club is Diya W.F.C., established in Karachi in 2002.[33]

Continental Europe

Austria

The oldest still active football club is the First Vienna Football Club founded on the 22nd of August 1894.[34] Their early rivals, the Vienna Cricket and Football-Club, was founded only one day later.

Belgium

Football Club Spa was founded by the Hunter-Blair family of Blairquhan, Ayrshire, Scotland, and was in operation in 1863. The fourth Baronet took his family there in order to economise.[35] The oldest club still in existence today in Belgium is Royal Antwerp FC, founded in 1880.[citation needed]

Czech Republic

The oldest football club still in existence today is Slavia Prague, founded in 1892. The first football club to be founded in the country was the football section of the sport club Regatta Prague, founded in May 1891,[36] but discontinued in 1896, when all its footballers left to found the club DFC Prague.

Croatia

The oldest functioning football clubs in Croatia are NK Rijeka, formed in 1906[37] competing in the highest Croatian division, and possibly HNK Segesta, a club playing in the third division and founded in the same year.[38]

Denmark

Kjøbenhavns Boldklub is the oldest football club in Denmark and the oldest active club in continental Europe.[39] The sports club was formed in 1876 and association football was first played two years later.[40]

France

The first football club in France was established in Paris in 1863 by English expatriates, as the following excerpt from a contemporary newspaper shows: "A number of English gentlemen living in Paris have lately organised a football club.... The football contests take place in the Bois de Boulogne, by permission of the authorities and surprise the French amazingly".[41]

Le Havre AC was founded as an athletics and rugby club in 1872, making it the oldest surviving football club registered in France and continental Europe.[42] They began playing association football on a regular basis in 1894. Technically AS Strasbourg could be considered the first French association football team, being established in 1890; they were however a German team at the time.

Germany

The oldest surviving rugby football club is Heidelberger RK, which was founded on 9 May 1872 as a rowing and rugby club. The HRK has won 14 national titles 1927, 1928, 1971, 1973, 1976, 1986, 2010–2015, 2017 and 2018. The biggest success of the club was the qualification for the Rugby European Challenge Cup 2018/19 - only to be denied participation, because their main sponsor owns Stade Francais. The second oldest still surviving rugby club is Hannover 1878 founded 1878 and winning 9 German championships. Both clubs still play in the 1. Bundesliga.[citation needed]

The first association football in Germany (and likely the first outside Great Britain) was Dresden English, founded on 18 March 1874. The club had over 70 members by then, primarily Englishmen working in Dresden, with its matches being attended by hundreds of spectators. Nevertheless, Dresden English was dissolved in 1898.[citation needed]

The oldest still active association football club is BFC Germania 1888 founded on 15 April 1888. They play in the 10th division as of season 2020/21 and never managed to win any national titles.[citation needed]

Greece

The oldest still active football club is Panionios F.C. founded on 14 September 1890.[citation needed]

Hungary

The oldest still active football clubs in Hungary are Műegyetemi AFC founded in autumn 1897 as a proper football club and III. Kerületi TVE, which whose football section was founded officially in 1899 but stemmed from the 1897-founded Budai Football Csapat. The first ever football club to be founded in Hungary was Budapesti Torna Club having founded its football section in February 1897, dissolved in 1945–46.[citation needed]

Italy

In Italy, Genoa C.F.C. is the oldest active football club: it was founded by Charles De Grave Sells, S. Green, George Blake, W. Rilley, George Dormer Fawcus, H.M. Sandys, E. De Thierry, Johnathan Summerhill Sr., Johnathan Summerhill Jr. and Sir Charles Alfred Payton in Genoa on 7 September 1893. However, Genoa C.F.C. was not the first Italian football club, being Torino Football & Cricket Club (1887)[43] but its history lasted only for 4 years. Founded by Edoardo Bosio (owner of Bosio & Caratsch, the earliest brewery in Italy), the team broke up in 1891. Older than Genoa and Torino is Associazione Sportiva Dilettantistica Fanfulla, a sports club founded in Lodi in 1873, but its football section was established thirty-five years later in 1908.

Poland

The oldest football club in Poland was Lechia Lwów, established in 1903. As Lviv became a part of the USSR (and nowadays Ukraine), the club ceased to exist.[44] Seniority of the football club in current borders of Poland and still active in the Polish league system is subject to a dispute between two Kraków based clubs Wisła Kraków and Cracovia. Both clubs have been founded in 1906.[45]

Portugal

In Portugal, Académica de Coimbra is the oldest active football club, founded on 3 November 1887.[citation needed]

Slovakia

The oldest football club in Slovakia is 1. FC Tatran Prešov, founded in 1898, that after many name changes plays in the Slovakian second league.[46]

Slovenia

The first football club was founded in 1900 by the German minority in Ljubljana, the Laibacher Sportverein and got discontinued in 1909,[47] followed by the Hungarian minority Lendevai FE in 1903, and the German minority in Celje (Athletik SK in 1906). In 1911, the first Slovenian football club of the Slovenian minority opened in Ljubljana, Ilirija, followed by Slovan two years later. Ilirija is nowadays considered by the Slovenian FA as the oldest running football club in the country, because the Lendava-based club went bankrupt in 2012, although it got recreated right away.[48]

Spain

Founded on 23 December 1889, Recreativo de Huelva is the oldest football club in Spain. Two Scots, Alexander Mackay and Robert Russell Ross, overseas workers at the Rio Tinto mines, founded Huelva Recreation Club to provide their employees with physical recreation. Recreativo predates Sevilla Foot-ball Club, which was founded a month later and it is not related with Sevilla FC, founded on 1905.

Switzerland

FC St. Gallen 1879 is the oldest active football club in Switzerland, founded on 19 April 1879 as FC St. Gallen.[49]

Netherlands

The oldest football (and also the oldest cricket) club in The Netherlands is Koninklijke UD (Royal UD) from Deventer, founded in 1875.[50]

North America

Although football variants have been played in North America since the 1820s, the claim of oldest continuous football club in North America is still a matter of debate.

Oneida Football Club of Boston, Massachusetts, established in 1862, was the first organised team to play any kind of football in the United States. The game played by the club, known as the "Boston game", was an informal local variant that predated the codification of rules for association or American football. The team, which consisted of graduates of Boston's elite preparatory schools, played on Boston Common from 1862 to 1865, during which time they reportedly never lost a game or even gave up a single point.[51][52]

In terms of gridiron football the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League can trace their roots back to the Hamilton Football Club (nicknamed the Tigers) which formed in 1869, then later merged with the Hamilton Wildcats in 1950 to form the current franchise. Their rivals to the north, the Toronto Argonauts, were founded four years later in 1873 and have a mostly unchanged franchise history. Both clubs began as rugby football clubs and only later adapted to the gridiron-style of play which would become known as Canadian football. The oldest continuous rugby club in North America which still plays rugby is the McGill University Rugby Football Club which was established in 1863, although their first recorded game was not until 1865.[53] The oldest independent (non-university) rugby club is the Westmount Rugby Club of Montreal, which formed in 1876.[54]

In 1869, Rutgers University and Princeton University competed in the first US intercollegiate football game. According to U.S. Soccer, the rules of this game resembled rugby and association football more closely than gridiron football.[55] However, university-affiliated teams competing in intercollegiate championships are not typically classified as "clubs".

In the United States, gridiron-based variants of the game did not distinguish themselves from existing codes until 1871, when Harvard University began playing a variation known as the "Boston Game." This allowed a player to pick up the ball and run with it if he were chased and it quickly spread, with innovations added by Yale University student Walter Camp. The oldest existing non-university semiprofessional football club is the Watertown Red & Black, which was founded in 1896. The Arizona Cardinals, formed in Chicago in 1898, are the oldest team in the National Football League.

One of the first teams to have played "football" under the association rules in the US was Fall River Rovers, founded in 1884.[56]

The ten charter members of Major League Soccer were all new clubs created shortly before the league began play in 1996. However, in 2011, the league admitted the Vancouver Whitecaps, who had existed continuously since 1986.

Oceania

Australia

Australian rules football club Melbourne of 1879. The club (established in 1859) is the oldest in its country and has competed in the AFL since its inception in 1897
Australian rules football club Melbourne of 1879. The club (established in 1859) is the oldest in its country and has competed in the AFL since its inception in 1897

[citation needed]

In 1858, in Melbourne, Victoria, members of the Melbourne Cricket Club formed a loosely organised football team, and played against other local football enthusiasts over the winter and spring of that year. The Melbourne Football Club was officially founded the following year on 14 May, and three days later (17 May), four members codified the first laws of Australian rules football. In June 1859, the Castlemaine Football Club and Melbourne University Football Club were formed, and the Geelong Football Club was formed shortly afterwards, in July. Over the next decade, many more Australian rules football clubs were formed in Victoria. Melbourne and Geelong were founding members of the Victorian Football League (VFL) (now AFL), making them the world's oldest football clubs that are now professional.[citation needed]

New Zealand

Christchurch Football Club, established in 1863, is the oldest football club of any code in New Zealand. The club initially played using its own rules, before converting to rugby football. Wellington Football Club, based in Hataitai, was established in 1870 and is the oldest continuous rugby football club in New Zealand. The honour of being the country's first organised association football club is likely to belong to Auckland's North Shore United, which was founded as North Shore in 1886. Two Dunedin-based clubs, Northern and Wakari, were officially founded in 1888, although it is possible that Northern had been playing as a team prior to this time.[57]: 17 

South America

Argentina

Argentine Rosario A.C. rugby union squad in 1884. This is supposed to be the oldest photo of a rugby team in the country
Argentine Rosario A.C. rugby union squad in 1884. This is supposed to be the oldest photo of a rugby team in the country

Buenos Aires Cricket & Rugby Club claims to be the oldest club still in existence in Argentina. According to the club's website, the club was founded before 8 December 1864 as a cricket institution.[58] The date of foundation has been recognised by the Buenos Aires Rugby Union.[59] It is however believed that the club was founded in 1831, with existing documentary evidence about a cricket match played by Buenos Aires that same year.[60][61] Nevertheless, the practise of any "football" code did not start until 1951 when the BACC merged with the Buenos Aires F.C. and rugby union was added.[58]

Club Atlético del Rosario was officially established in 1867 as a cricket institution. The club soon added association football, being the first club from Rosario playing in the Primera División, the top division of Argentina.[62] In rugby union, Rosario AC played the first inter-clubs match in the country on 28 June 1886, when the team faced Buenos Aires Football Club.[63][64]

Having been established in 1875, Club Mercedes is considered the oldest association football club still in existence in Argentina.[65][66] This places Mercedes above Gimnasia y Esgrima de La Plata[67] and Quilmes, both founded in 1887.

Bolivia

Oruro Royal was founded on 26 May 1896 by the English workers hired by the Bolivian Government to build the national railways, becoming the first Bolivian football squad.[citation needed]

Brazil

São Paulo Athletic Club, founded on 13 May 1888 by English immigrants as a cricket club, could be considered the oldest Brazilian club to have played any code of "football", starting to play association football in 1898.[68] After football retired from competitions in 1912, rugby union became the main sport of SPAC.

The oldest club to have been in continuous activity in association football is S.C. Rio Grande, founded in July 1900 (a famous misconception is that the oldest one would be A.A. Ponte Preta, named after the neighbourhood of the same name in the city of Campinas, but it was founded close to one month later, in August 1900.[69] São Paulo Railway Company and São Paulo Gaz Company, both established in 1895 (and then defunct) played the first football match in Brazil that same year.[70]

Paissandu Atlético Clube, founded on 15 August 1872, could be the oldest football club in Brazil but the team was dissolved in 1914, with only a futsal section remaining nowadays.[citation needed]

Chile

Santiago Wanderers was founded on 15 August 1892 by Irish community and was the first football club in Chile.[citation needed]

Colombia

The defunct Barranquilla Football Club founded by British railway workers in 1908 was the first football club in Colombia.[citation needed]

Peru

Lima Cricket and Football Club claims to be the oldest football-practising club in Peru and the Americas, having been founded in 1859 by the city's British community.[71][72]

Uruguay

In Uruguay, the Montevideo Cricket Club, established in 1861, has however been ranked as the oldest rugby union club outside Europe by the World Rugby Museum of Twickenham,[73][74] although the first certain rugby match played by MVCC was in 1875.[75][76][77]

Before 1860

Date Club Original code Current codes City/Suburb Country Status Notes Source
1843 Guy's Hospital Rugby football Rugby union Blackheath England BUCS Rugby League Oldest documented football club in the world and founding member of United Hospitals RFC Now known as Guy's, Kings and St Thomas' Rugby Football Club.
1850 Durham School Football Club Rugby football Rugby Union Durham England Oldest documented football club in North East of England. Early member of the Durham Rugby Football Union (1876) who record their foundation as 1850/51. [78]
1854 Dublin University Rugby football Rugby union Trinity College Ireland All-Ireland League Oldest documented football club in Ireland and the oldest to later play Rugby union. Now playing in the All-Ireland League Division 1A.
1857, 24 October Sheffield Sheffield Rules Association football Sheffield England Northern Premier League Division One South FA and FIFA's president Joseph Blatter recognised the club as the oldest now playing association football. [79][80][81]
1856–57 Cambridge University Cambridge rules Association football Cambridge England BUCS Midlands Division 2A Official university publications have claimed that the club was formed in 1856, being also recognised as such by The Football Association. The FA awarded Cambridge a plaque in 2006 in honour of its "150th anniversary", giving its foundation date official recognition. Nevertheless, other sources state that the date of establisnment of the Cambridge AFC is not clear enough, setting it between 1856 and 1866, but ranking it 2nd after Sheffield. [82][79][25][81]
1857, 10 November Liverpool St Helens Rugby football Rugby union Liverpool England North 1 West The club's first match took place in 1857 when old boys from Rugby school challenged local boys to a game under the Rugby school rules. Liverpool Football Club were then formed. The oldest open rugby club, not part of an institution, in the world.
1857, 26 December Edinburgh Academical Rugby football Rugby union Edinburgh Scotland Scottish Premiership Oldest football club in Scotland. Oldest documented rugby club in the UK.
1857 Edinburgh University Rugby football Rugby union Edinburgh Scotland BUCS Rugby Union Premier North B Joined the RFU in 1871 but resigned to become a founder member of the Scottish Football Union in 1873. The Edinburgh University Association Football Club (AFC) was formed in 1878 and was a founder member of the Scottish Football League.
1858 Llanymynech "Football & Cricket" Association football Llanymynech England Shropshire County Football League Founded in May 1858, after a match between local villagers and navies who decided to form a club.
1858 Blackheath Rugby football Rugby union Blackheath England National League 1 Foundation member of the FA.
1858 University of St Andrews Rugby football Rugby union St Andrews Scotland BUCS Scotland Div. 1 Founder member of the SRU.
1859, 14 May Melbourne Australian football Australian football Melbourne Australia Australian Football League A loosely organised side played as Melbourne on several occasions in 1858. The club was officially formed the following year on 14 May 1859. On 17 May 1859, members of the club codified Australian rules football. It is the world's oldest football club of any code that is now professional.
1859, 14 June [a] Castlemaine Australian football Australian football Castlemaine Australia Bendigo Football League Foundation date recently rediscovered, but dormant for a period. [83]
1859 [a] Melbourne University Australian football Australian football Melbourne University Australia Victorian Amateur Football Association Section A Records of its formation are lost, however there are references of the club dating back to June 1859 and its first match was also in June 1859. Won Australian rules first ever trophy in 1861 by defeating Melbourne. Disbanded during World War I, but later reformed.
1859, 18 July Geelong Australian football Australian football Geelong Australia Australian Football League The club's own code was played in the Geelong region and influenced the rewriting of the laws of Australian football in 1866.

1860–1869

Date Club Original code Current codes City/Suburb Country Status Notes
1860, 17 May 1860 Munich Gymnastics Association football Munich Germany 3. Liga Started practising association football on 25 April 1899. But only played their first game in 1902.
1860, 20 May Ballarat Australian football Australian football Ballarat Australia Ballarat Football League Formed as a junior club; senior club established in 1862.[84]
1860 [a] Cray Wanderers (Unknown) Association Football Bromley England Isthmian League Premier Division The early years of Cray Wanderers are poorly documented with its early history based on oral recollections later in the 19th century.[85] Based on the frequently stated year of 1860, it is the oldest club now playing association football in Greater London.,[31] preceding Civil Service F.C., the only surviving foundation member of the FA,[29] by three years.
1860 [a] Hallam Sheffield Rules Association football Sheffield England Northern Counties East League Premier Division Took part in first ever football tournament. Original club dissolved in 1886.
1860 Manchester Rugby football Rugby union Manchester England South Lancs/Cheshire 1 No connection to association football clubs Manchester United F.C. or Manchester City F.C.
1861 Sandhurst Australian football Australian football Bendigo Australia Bendigo Football League Founded by J. B. Thompson, one of the inventors of Australian rules football.
1861 Richmond Rugby football Rugby union Richmond England National League 1 One of the first two clubs (with Barnes) to play a game of Association football, despite not being a member of the FA.
1861 Crystal Palace Association football Association football Crystal Palace England dissolved The current professional club claims to be a continuation of the original amateur Crystal Palace club founded in 1861. Founding member of the FA.
1861 Sale Sharks Rugby football Rugby union Sale England Gallagher Premiership Currently in the peak domestic competition for rugby union in England.
1861, 18 July Modbury Australian football Australian football Modbury Australia South Australian Amateur Football League
1862 Notts County Own code Association football Nottingham England National League NCFC official site history.[86] Oldest of all the association football clubs in the world that are now professional. Club officially founded December 1864, prior to this only existed informally
1863 St. George's Hospital Medical School Rugby football Rugby union Hyde Park Corner England BUCS league, South Eastern Conference, League 2A Founding member of United Hospitals RFC, and the only one of the original United Hospitals members that is in the same form as at inception. The team moved to Tooting, South West London, in the 1970s.
1863 [a] Bradford Rugby football Association football Bradford England National League North Founding member of Northern Union (RFL) in 1895. Changed codes in 1907 and renamed Bradford Park Avenue A.F.C., which folded in 1974 and reformed in 1988.
1863 [a] Darlington RFC Rugby football Rugby union Darlington England Durham/Northumberland 2
1863 [a] Stoke City Charterhouse rules Association football Stoke-on-Trent England EFL Championship While there are claims of a football club in Stoke formed by old boys of Charterhouse School in 1863 and this is the date given by the current club, little evidence exists of this entity, however there are contemporaneous reports in 1868 of the formation of Stoke Ramblers, which changed its name after a few years to Stoke Football Club. This club did not contest the FA Cup until 1883–84. Continuous history from reformation in 1908 following the wind up of the original club. It changed its name to Stoke City in 1928 after Stoke-on-Trent was granted city status.
1863 Christchurch Own code Rugby union Christchurch New Zealand Division One - Telecom Cup Oldest football club of any code in New Zealand.[87]
1863 [a] Sydney University Rugby football,
Australian football[88]
Rugby union University of Sydney Australia New South Wales Rugby Union Foundation date disputed by historian Tom Hickie who argues that it was actually 1865.[89] The oldest Australian rugby union club; according to fullpointsfooty.net, it "flirted with 'Victorian Rules' [Australian rules] in its formative stages."[88] The current Australian rules club at the university, Sydney University Australian National Football Club, claims to be a spin-off of SUFC, although the university did not play an inter-club Australian rules game until 1887.
1863 Royal Engineers (Unknown) Association football London England British Army competition Won the FA Cup in 1875.
1863 [a] Civil Service Association football Association football London England Southern Amateur League Senior Division 2 The only founding member of the FA that still plays association football.[29] The other founding clubs now play rugby or are defunct. Also known as the War Office Club.
1864, October Wrexham Association football Association football Wrexham Wales National League When the National Library of Wales digitised its Newspaper Archive in 2012, new evidence was discovered that proved Wrexham AFC were formed in 1864 rather than 1872 which was previously accepted as the foundation date.[90] Founded by members of Wrexham Cricket Club. The oldest football club in Wales of any code
1864 Huddersfield Rugby football Rugby league Huddersfield England Super League The world's oldest rugby league club. It celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2014.[91]
1864 Carlton Australian football Australian football Carlton Australia Australian Football League Source: Carlton Football Club.[92] Carlton has participated at the highest level of its code longer than any other club.
1864 Williamstown Australian football Australian football Williamstown Australia Victorian Football League The second club from Williamstown which exists.
1864 Brigg Town Association football Association football Brigg England Northern Counties East League Division One Traditional date.
1864, 8 December Buenos Aires C&RC Cricket Rugby union San Fernando Argentina URBA Primera A Although BACRC's itself sets the date of foundation "before 8 December 1864".,[93] some historians claim that there is documentary evidence about a cricket match played by the club in 1831.[60][61]
1865 West of Scotland Rugby football Rugby union Glasgow Scotland Scottish National League Division Three One of the founder members of the SRU.
1865 Bath Rugby football Rugby union Bath England Aviva Premiership Currently in the peak domestic competition for rugby union in England.
1865 Hull Rugby football Rugby league Kingston upon Hull England Super League The world's second-oldest rugby league club.
1865 Nottingham Forest (Unknown) (possibly Bandy) Association football Nottingham England Premier League The EFL confirmed that Nottingham Forest are now the current oldest member club due to the lack of evidence to support Stoke City's claim of having formed in 1863.[94]
1866 Yokohama Foot Ball Club Rugby football Rugby union Yokohama Japan First rugby club in Japan. Part of Yokohama Country & Athletic Club since 1884.
1866 Harlequins Rugby football Rugby union Twickenham England Aviva Premiership Founded as Hampstead Football Club, the club was renamed Harlequin Football Club in 1870 as the membership had ceased to be mainly Hampstead based. As the club's equipment and stationery was all monogrammed HFC, a dictionary was used to find an acceptable alternative name to Hampstead beginning with an H and all members agreed on Harlequin.
1866 Glasgow Academicals Rugby football Rugby union Glasgow Scotland Scottish National League Division Two One of the founder members of the SRU.
1866 Kapunda Australian football Australian football Kapunda Australia Barossa Light & Gawler Football Association
1866, 20 October Swinton and Pendlebury Rugby football Rugby league Swinton England RFL Championship Won three rugby league Challenge Cups and six championships
1867 Wasps RFC Rugby football Rugby union Coventry England Premiership Rugby Hampstead Football Club was founded in 1866. A split in the membership resulted in the formation of two different clubs: Harlequin F.C. and Wasps. Wasps Football Club was itself formed in 1867 at the now-defunct Eton and Middlesex Tavern in North London. names of insects, birds, and other animals were considered fashionable in the Victorian period.
1867, 27 March Atlético del Rosario Cricket Rugby union Rosario Argentina Top 12 The first rugby union match (which was also the first inter-clubs match in Argentina) was played on 28 June 1886, vs. Buenos Aires F.C.[63][64]
1867, 9 July Queen's Park Own code Association football Glasgow Scotland Scottish Championship Until November 2019 the club operated as the only existing amateur club playing in the SPFL.
1867, 4 September Sheffield Wednesday Sheffield Rules Association football Sheffield England EFL League One The Wednesday Cricket Club formed 1820 in Darnall, Sheffield. Sometimes known as Darnall Wednesday C.C or Sheffield Wednesday C.C. In 1867 a football section was formed known as The Wednesday Football Club. In 1929 the football club officially changed its name to Sheffield Wednesday Football Club.
1868 Tiverton Rugby football Rugby union Tiverton England Tribute Cornwall/Devon League Tiverton Rugby Club is known as Devon's oldest club.
1868 Fordingbridge Turks (Unknown) Association football Fordingbridge England Bournemouth Saturday Football League
1868 Perthshire Rugby football Rugby union Perth Scotland Scottish National League Division Three
1868 Brighton F.C. Rugby football Rugby union Brighton England London & South East Premier As they were founded before the RFU they are one of the few clubs who are designated F.C. rather than R.F.C.
1869 Oxford University RFC Rugby football Rugby union Oxford England The club contests The Varsity Match every year against Cambridge University at Twickenham.
1869 Glasgow University Rugby football Rugby union Glasgow Scotland Scottish University competitions
1869 Queen's University Rugby Football Rugby Union Queen's University Belfast Northern Ireland All-Ireland League Second oldest club in Northern Ireland. Current in Division 2A
1869, 3 November Hamilton Rugby Football Canadian football Hamilton Canada Canadian Football League The HFBC were nicknamed the "Tigers" in 1873. Merged with the Hamilton Flying Wildcats in 1950 to form the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.[95][96][97][98] Oldest current professional gridiron football team.
1869 North Melbourne Australian football Australian football North Melbourne Australia Australian Football League Was briefly known as the 'Hotham Football Club' between 1877 and 1888, due to a change in the town's name.
1869 Kilmarnock Rugby football Association football Kilmarnock Scotland Scottish Premiership Scotland's oldest professional club.
1869 Clapham Rovers Association football Association football London England Sportsman Senior Amateur Division Won the FA Cup in 1880

1870–1879

Date Club Original code Current codes City/Suburb Country Status Notes
1870 Wellington Football Club Rugby football Rugby union Wellington New Zealand Wellington RFU Premier

Oldest continuous rugby football club in New Zealand.

1870 Maidenhead United Association football Association football Maidenhead England National League
1870 huddersfield Giants Rugby football Rugby league Leeds England Super League
1870 Southend Rugby football Rugby union Southend England National League 2 South
1870, 12 May Port Adelaide Australian football Australian football Port Adelaide Australia Australian Football League Played in the SANFL until 1997 when it entered the AFL.[99] Only pre-existing non-Victorian club to be competing in the league.
1870 Stranraer Association football Association football Stranraer Scotland Scottish League Two
1870 Abingdon Town Association football Abingdon England Hellenic Football League
1870 Darwen Rugby football Association football Darwen England West Lancashire Football League The club was wound up in 2009 and later reformed as AFC Darwen.
1870 Burton Rugby football Rugby union Burton upon Trent England Midlands 1 West The club has since changed its name to Burton Rugby Football Club
1870, 22 November Marlow Association football Association football Marlow England Southern Football League
1870 Reigate Priory Association football Association football Reigate England Surrey Elite Intermediate Football League Participated in the first ever FA Cup draw. Believed to be the oldest club in Surrey. Still playing on their original ground.
1871 Ealing Trailfinders Rugby Football Rugby union Ealing, London England RFU Championship The club played its first match in 1869 but the official date of establishment was set up in 1871.
1871 Exeter Chiefs Rugby Football Rugby union Exeter England Premiership Rugby Exeter Rugby Club was founded in 1871. The club played its first match in 1873 against St. Luke's College. In 1890, they won the Devon Cup.
1871 Henley Town Football Club Football Oxfordshire Henley on Thames England
1871 Ararat Football Club Australian football Australian football Ararat Australia Wimmera Football League
1871 Streatham-Croydon RFC Rugby Football Rugby Union Thornton Heath England Founded as Streatham Rugby Club but later incorporated Croydon following a move from Streatham Common to Thornton Heath.
1871 Southall Association Football Association Football Southall England Isthmian League South Central Division
1871 Uxbridge Association Football Association Football Uxbridge England Southern Football League Division One Central
1871 Birkenhead Park Rugby Football Rugby union Birkenhead England National League 3 North
1871 Langholm Rugby Football Rugby union Langolm Scotland East Division 2
1871[100] Rochdale Hornets Rugby football Rugby league Rochdale England Championship 1
1871 Worcester Warriors Rugby Football Rugby union Worcester England Premiership Rugby Worcester Rugby Football Club dates back to 1871 and owes its foundations to the cleric Rev Francis John Eld. The playing side made their first outing on November 8, 1871 against the Worcester Artillery at Somerset Place.
1871, 9 November Oxford University Association football Association football Oxford England BUCS Football League
1871, 25 December Reading Association football Association football Reading England Football League Championship
1872 Cambridge University R.U.F.C. Rugby football Rugby union Cambridge England The team plays Oxford University RFC in the annual Varsity Match at Twickenham Stadium every December.
1872 Lutterworth Rugby Football Rugby Union Lutterworth England Midlands 2 East (South)
1872 Dumbarton Association football Association football Dumbarton Scotland Scottish League Two Founder member of the Scottish Football League, and joint winners of the first Scottish Football League title in 1890–1.
1872 Rangers Association football Association football Glasgow Scotland Scottish Premiership Founder member of the Scottish Football League, and joint winners of the first Scottish Football League title in 1890–1.
1872 Heidelberger RK Rugby football Rugby union Heidelberg Germany Rugby-Bundesliga
1872 Clifton Rugby football Rugby union Clifton England National League 2 South
October 1872 Cefn Druids Association Football Association Football Wrexham Wales Welsh Premier League Year of 1872 claimed in club's official history.[101] Druids merged with Acrefair United in August 1927 to form Druids United. Druids United merged with Cefn Albion in 1992 to form Cefn Druids. There are many discrepancies in club's official history when compared to primary historical sources. Newspaper Archives show club was formed as Ruabon Rovers in October 1872.[102][103] Newspaper Archives also state club was formed as Plasmadoc in 1874.[104] Druids name does not appear anywhere until 1876.
1872 Wigan Warriors Rugby football Rugby league Wigan England Super League
1872 Cuckfield Town FC Association football Association football Cuckfield England Mid Sussex Football League Founded by Mr. Wyndham Burrell and Mr. G.T. Bunting in 1872 as claimed in club's official history.[105] and founder members of the Mid Sussex League in 1900.
1872 Essendon Australian football Australian football Essendon Australia Australian Football League Although the exact date of foundation is still unclear, Essendon thought to have formed in 1872 at the home of Robert McCracken[106]
1872 Calcutta FC Rugby football Association Football Kolkata India Calcutta Premier Division C Oldest football club in Asia; Now known as "Calcutta Cricket and Football Club" after the merger with Calcutta Cricket Club in 1965.[107][108][109][110][111]
1873, 2 April St Kilda Australian football Australian football St Kilda Australia Australian Football League
1873, 3 May North Shore Rugby Football Club Rugby football Rugby union Devonport, Auckland New Zealand North Harbour Rugby Union The oldest football club of any code in Auckland.
1873 Gloucester Rugby Rugby Football Rugby union Gloucester England Premiership Rugby The club was formed in 1873 after a meeting at the Spread Eagle Hotel with the announcement in the Gloucester Journal: "A football club (as rugby was then called) has been formed in this city – the season's operations begin at the Spa on the first Tuesday in next month." a team was then organized to play the college school, which was actually played on the current Kingsholm ground.
1873 St Helens Rugby football Rugby league St. Helens England Super League
1873 Wakefield Trinity Rugby football Rugby league Wakefield England Super League
1873 Toronto Argonauts Rugby football Canadian football Toronto Canada Canadian Football League Founded as a rugby team by the Toronto Argonaut Rowing Club, itself founded the year previous in 1872.
1873 Halifax Rugby football Rugby League Halifax England Championship Founding members of the Northern Rugby Union.
1873 Halesowen Town Association football Association football Halesowen England Southern Football League Division One Central
1873 Chippenham Town Association football Association football Chippenham England Southern Football League
1873 Exmouth Rugby football Rugby union Exmouth England National League 2 South
1873, 1 October Kirkcaldy Rugby football Rugby union Kirkcaldy Scotland Scottish National League Division Two Founded in 1873 but played its first recorded match on 3 January 1874.[112]
1873 Salford Red Devils Rugby football Rugby league Salford England Super League
1874 Coventry R.F.C. Rugby Football Rugby union Coventry England RFU Championship In 1874 a group, including members of Stoke Cricket Club, took part in what could be described as the first organised game of rugby football played in Coventry.
1874, 8 June Rochester Football Club Australian football Australian football Rochester Australia Goulburn Valley Football League
1874, 19 June Sydney Swans Australian football Australian football Sydney Australia Australian Football League Previously located and known as South Melbourne. Relocated to Sydney in 1981.
1874 Port Melbourne Australian football Australian football Port Melbourne Australia Victorian Football League
1874 Blues Rugby football Rugby union Invercargill New Zealand Southland RFU Premier Oldest football club in Southland.
1874 Ponsonby RFC Rugby football Rugby union Auckland New Zealand Auckland RFU Premier The oldest club in the Auckland union; the second oldest football club of any code in Auckland.
1874 Bolton Wanderers Association Football Association Football Bolton England Football League One The club was founded as Christ Church and was one of the founder members of the Football League in 1888.
1874 Greenock Morton Association Football Association Football Greenock Scotland Scottish Championship
1874 Arthurlie Association Football Association Football Barrhead Scotland West of Scotland League Premier Division
1874 Heart of Midlothian Association football Association football Edinburgh Scotland Scottish Premiership
1874 Hamilton Academical Association football Association football Hamilton Scotland Scottish Championship
1874 Aston Villa Association football Association football Perry Barr England Premier League Founded in 1874,[113] also founder member of the Football League.[114]
1874 Northwich Victoria Association football Association football Northwich England Northern Premier League Premier Division The foundation date of Northwich Victoria was at least as early as 1874. Founding member of the Cheshire FA, the Football League Second Division, The Combination and Cheshire County League. Their home ground Drill Field, at the time of its demolition in 2002, it was believed to be the oldest football ground in the world.[115]
1874 Macclesfield Town Association football Association football Macclesfield England Football League 2
1874 Portarlington Demons Australian football Australian football Portarlington Australia Bellarine Football League
1875 Doncaster Knights Rugby Football Rugby union Doncaster England RFU Championship Doncaster Rugby Football Club was founded in 1875 although there is some evidence of a rugby side in the town at an even earlier date.
1875 [a] Lampeter Town Rugby football Rugby union Lampeter Wales WRU Division Four West Officially recognised by the Welsh Rugby Union as the oldest Rugby Club in Wales, when the Reverend Rowland Williams brought the game with him to the college in 1850. The club currently plays within the British Universities and Colleges Sports (BUCS) league system.
1875 Birmingham City Association football Association football Small Heath England Football League Championship
1875 Blackburn Rovers Association football Association football Blackburn England Football League Championship

Founder members of both the Football League and the Premier League.[116]

1875, 11 September Bournemouth Association football Association football Bournemouth England Wessex League Known as Bournemouth Poppies to avoid confusion with the Football League Club AFC Bournemouth Founder Member of the Football Association, the Hampshire F.A. and the Bournemouth F.A. [117]
1875 Dewsbury Rams Rugby Football Rugby League Dewsbury England Championship (rugby league) Won 2 Challenge Cups (1911–12, 1942–43) and 1 Championship (1972–73).
1875 Hibernian Association football Association football Edinburgh Scotland Scottish Premiership The Edinburgh derby match between Heart of Midlothian and Hibernian is the oldest regularly played derby match in the world.
1875 Club Mercedes Association football Association football Mercedes Argentina Primera D The oldest club currently competing in any Argentine association football league.[65][66]
1875 Redruth Rugby football Rugby union Cornwall England National League 2 South
1875 Taunton Rugby Football Rugby union Taunton England National League 2 South
1875 Widnes Vikings Rugby football Rugby league Widnes England Super League Formed late 1875 as Farnworth & Appleton FC, becoming Widnes FC in May 1876 playing rugby rules although two games were played under Association rules versus Northwich Victoria in the first two seasons.
1875 [a] Newtown AFC Association football Association football Newtown Wales Welsh Premier League Year of 1875 claimed in club's official history as this is the foundation date of Newtown White Stars. Newtown AFC formed in 1885 when Newtown White Stars merged with Newtown Excelsior.[118]
1875 Montevideo C.C. Cricket Rugby union Montevideo Uruguay Campeonato Uruguayo The first sport practised was cricket, then adding association football and rugby. 1875 indicates the first registered rugby game by MVCC, although the sport had been introduced before.[76][77]
1875 Barrow Raiders Rugby football Rugby league Barrow-in-Furness England League 1 Joined the Northern Rugby Football Union came in 1897[119]
1876 Saracens F.C. Rugby Football Rugby union London England Premiership Rugby Saracens were founded in 1876 by the Old Boys of the Philological School in Marylebone, London (later to become St Marylebone Grammar School).
1876 Old Carthusians Association football Association football Surrey England Arthurian League
1876 Old Foresters Association football Association football London England Arthurian League Forest School, Walthamstow, started playing football c.1857. The Old Foresters played from shortly after this year, the earliest recorded match versus Forest School in September 1864, but the club was not officially formed until 1876.[120]
1876 South Adelaide Australian football Australian football Adelaide Australia SANFL South Adelaide is the 2nd oldest football club in South Australia.
1876 Bangor City Association Football Association Football Bangor Wales League of Wales
1876 Albury Tigers Australian football Australian football Albury Australia Ovens & Murray Football League
1876 Warrington Wolves Rugby football Rugby league Warrington England Super League
1876 Chirk AAA Association Football Association Football Wrexham Wales Welsh National League (Wrexham Area) Formed in 1876 as Chirk FC.[121] Welsh Cup winners on 5 occasions.[122]
1876 Westmount Rugby football Rugby union Montreal Canada 2nd Division of Quebec Rugby Federation Oldest active rugby club (excluding university teams) in North America. Founded as Montreal Football Club.
1876 Port Vale Association Football Association Football Burslem England Football League One The club claim to have been founded in 1876, though contemporary research suggests the club was probably founded in 1879.[123]
1876 Falkirk Association football Association football Falkirk Scotland Scottish League One
1876 Stafford Rangers Association football Association football Stafford England EVO-STIK Premier, England
1876 Middlesbrough Association football Association football Middlesbrough England Football League Championship
1876 Partick Thistle Association football Association football Glasgow Scotland Scottish Championship
1876 Kjøbenhavns Boldklub Danish longball Association football Copenhagen Denmark Danish Superliga Formed in 1876, but association football was only added in 1878. The club itself claims to be the oldest football club in continental Europe. In 1991, Kjøbenhavns Boldklub and B 1903 merged their professional football teams and formed F.C. Copenhagen.
1876 Tynedale Rugby football Rugby union Corbridge England National League 1
1876 Keighley Cougars Rugby football Rugby league Keighley England League 1
1876 Oldham Rugby football Rugby league Oldham England RFL Championship
1877 Nottingham R.F.C. Rugby Football Rugby union Nottingham England RFU Championship The club was established circa 1877 by Alexander Birkin after returning from Rugby School, where he was introduced to the sport.
1877 Newcastle Falcons Rugby Football Rugby union Newcastle upon Tyne England Premiership Rugby The club was established in 1877 as the Gosforth Football Club.
1877 Clyde Association football Association football Glasgow Scotland Scottish League One Moved to Cumbernauld
1877 Crewe Alexandra Association football Association football Crewe England Football League One
1877 St Mirren Association football Association football Paisley Scotland Scottish Premiership
1877 Wolverhampton Wanderers Association football Association football Wolverhampton England Premier League Formed as St. Lukes, before merging with The Wanderers two years later.[124] Founding member of the Football League.
1877 Western Bulldogs Australian football Australian football Footscray Australia AFL Founded as "Footscray Football Club".[125]
1878 London Scottish F.C. Rugby Football Rugby union Richmond England RFU Championship In early 1878, three Scottish members of a team called St. Andrew's Rovers FC decided to break away to form their own club for Scots.
1878 Coggeshall Town F.C. Association football Association football Coggeshall England Isthmian League The second oldest club in Essex, founded on 27 September 1878
1878 Norwood Football Club Australian football Australian football Adelaide Australia SANFL One of the oldest football clubs in South Australia
1878 West Bromwich Albion Association football Association football West Bromwich England Football League Championship Founded as West Bromwich Strollers, before adopting the Albion suffix two years later.[126] Founding member of the Football League.
1878 Everton Association football Association football Liverpool England Premier League Also a founding member of the Football League. The club played cricket for two years before adopting association football, so could be said to have been formed in 1876 as a sports club.
1878 Manchester United Association football Association football Manchester England Premier League Founded as Newton Heath LYR Football Club in 1878, the club changed its name to Manchester United in 1902 then moved to Old Trafford outside of Manchester in 1910.
1878 Kirkintilloch Rob Roy Association football Association football Kirkintilloch Scotland West of Scotland League Premier Division
1878 Lugar Boswell Thistle Association football Association football Lugar Scotland West of Scotland League Third Division Founded as Lugar Boswell and played until 1939 and reformed 1945 as Lugar Boswell Thistle.
1878 Leigh Centurions Rugby football Rugby league Leigh England RFL Championship
1879 Melton Australian football Australian football Melton Australia Ballarat Football League
1879 Fulham Association football Association football London England Premier League
1879 Brora Rangers Association football Association football Brora Scotland Highland League
1879 Sunderland Association football Association football Sunderland England Football League One
1879 Koninklijke HFC Association football Association football Haarlem Netherlands Tweede Divisie Oldest Dutch club
1879 Montrose Association football Association football Montrose Scotland Scottish League One
1879 Doncaster Rovers Association football Association football Doncaster England Football League One
1879 Swindon Town F.C. Association football Association football Swindon England Football League Two Founded as Swindon AFC in 1879, they became Spartans in 1880 and Swindon Town in 1883.
1879, 20 September Cliftonville Association football Association football Belfast Northern Ireland NIFL Premiership Oldest football club in Ireland.
1879, 19 April St. Gallen Association football Association football St. Gallen Switzerland Swiss Super League
1879 Jersey Reds Rugby Football Rugby union Saint Peter, Jersey Channel Islands RFU Championship Rugby has been played in Jersey since 1879 with breaks for war and the five years of Nazi occupation (1940–45).
1879 Leinster Rugby Rugby Football Rugby union Dublin Ireland United Rugby Championship The Leinster Branch was inaugurated at a meeting on 31 October 1879.
1879 Munster Rugby Rugby Football Rugby union Limerick and Cork Ireland United Rugby Championship Munster was officially founded in 1879, at the same time as Leinster and Ulster.
1879 Ulster Rugby Rugby Football Rugby union Belfast Ireland United Rugby Championship
1879 Canterbury Rugby union Rugby union Christchurch New Zealand ITM Cup Oldest provincial rugby team in New Zealand.
1879 Sunbury Australian football Australian football Sunbury Australia Ballarat Football League

1880–1889

Date Club Original code Current codes City/Suburb Country Status Notes
1880, 3 Aug Leicester Tigers Rugby Football Rugby union Leicester England Premiership Rugby Leicester Football Club was formed on 3 August 1880 by the merger of three smaller teams: Leicester Athletic Society, Leicester Amateurs, and Leicester Alert.
1880, 11 Nov Gimnasia y Esgrima (BA) Association football Association football Buenos Aires Argentina URBA Primera C Like the homonymous club from La Plata, Gimnasia y Esgrima was established as a gymnastics and fencing institution, then adding other sports. After GyE disaffiliated from AFA in the later 1910s, association football has remanined but only at amateur level. Rugby union would emerge as the predominant "football" code, competing in URBA leagues up to present
1880 SC 1880 Frankfurt Rugby union Rugby union Frankfurt Germany Rugby-Bundesliga
1880 Northampton Saints Rugby Football Rugby Union Northampton England Gallagher

Premiership

Northampton R.F.C was founded by the clergy of St.James' Church in 1880. The Club have been Champions of England, Second Tier Champions, and Champions of Europe in recent times
1880 Preston North End Association football Association football Preston England EFL Championship Preston North End was a founder member of the Football League in 1888. In the 1888–89 season, the team won both the inaugural league championship and the FA Cup, the latter without conceding a goal. They were the first team to achieve the "Double" in English football and, as they were unbeaten in all matches, are remembered as "The Invincibles".
1880 East Craigie Association football Association football Dundee Scotland SJFA Midlands League The Scottish Junior Football Association was founded in 1886. East Craigie pre-date this and are one of the oldest Junior (i.e., non-SFA) clubs still in existence.
1880 Antwerp Association football Association football Antwerp Belgium Belgian First Division Antwerp was founded in 1880 by English students as Antwerp Athletic Club. A football division named Antwerp Football Club was formed in 1887. It was the first club to register to the Belgian Football Association in 1895 and they later received the matriculate number one.
1880 Manchester City Association football Association football Manchester England Premier League Formed in 1880 as St. Marks Gorton. Became Ardwick A.F.C in 1887 and Manchester City in 1894
1881 Kiveton Park Association football Association football Sheffield England Sheffield & Hallamshire County Senior League Division One
1881 Eastbourne Town Association football Association football Eastbourne England Southern Combination Premier Division Formed in 1881 as Devonshire Park, they played at the venue of the same name which is now the home of the Eastbourne International tennis tournament. Moved to their current ground of the Saffrons in 1886. Became Eastbourne F.C. in 1889 and Eastbourne Town F.C. in 1971.
1881 Watford Rovers Association football Association football Watford England EFL Championship One of the oldest clubs to never have won a major trophy.
1882, 18 May Burnley Association football Association football Burnley England EFL Championship
1882, October Albion Rovers Association football Association football Coatbridge Scotland Scottish League Two First players drawn from two local Junior teams ' The Albion' and 'The Rovers'.
1882 QPR Association football Association football White City England EFL Championship
1882 Tottenham Hotspur Association football Association football Tottenham England Premier League
1882 Burgess Hill Town Association football Association football Burgess Hill England Isthmian League South East Division
1882 North Ballarat Australian football Australian football Ballarat Australia Ballarat Football League
1882 Hull Kingston Rovers Rugby union Rugby league Kingston upon Hull England Super League
1882 Roman Glass St. George Association

football

Association

football

Bristol England Western League Oldest continuous club in Bristol. Originally St. George FC and Bristol St. George.
1883, 5 March Gloucester City Association football Association football Gloucester England National League North
1883 Balgownie Rangers Association football Association football Balgownie Australia Illawarra District League Oldest currently active association football club in Australia
1883 Bristol Rovers Association football Association football Bristol England League One
1883 Stockport County Association football Association football Stockport England National League North Formed as Heaton Norris Rovers changing name to Stockport County FC in 1890
1883 Darlington Association football Association football Darlington England National League North Known as "Darlington 1883" between 2012 and 2017 due to "Darlington F.C." being temporarily expelled from the FA
1884 Derby County Association football Association football Derby England EFL League One One of twelve founders of the Football League.[127]
1884 Leicester City Association football Association football Leicester England Premier League Known as Leicester Fosse between 1884 and 1919.[128]
1885, 20 February Richmond Australian football Australian football Richmond Australia Australian Football League A number of teams formed in the Richmond area during Australian rules football's rapid expansion of the 1870s, and early 1880s. However, all played at a junior level and it was considered an anomaly that Richmond, one of Melbourne's biggest locales, did not boast a senior team. The wait ended when the Richmond Football Club was officially formed on 20 February 1885.
1885, 11 April Luton Town Association football Association football Luton England EFL Championship
1885, 13 May Aalborg Boldspilklub Association football Association football Aalborg Denmark Danish Superliga
1885 Bury Association football Association football Bury England Bury were Second Division Champions in their inaugural season. Currently without a competition after being expelled from the EFL in 2019.
1885 Forfar Association football Association football Forfar Scotland Scottish League Two
1885 Southampton Association football Association football Southampton England Premier League Formed as St. Mary's Y.M.A..
1886, 1 September Grasshopper Club Zürich Association

football

Association

football

Zürich Switzerland Credit Suisse Super League Founded by a group of English students led by Tom E. Griffith. The club remains the most successful club in terms of trophies in Swiss football history.
1886 Glossop Association football Association football Glossop England Northern Premier League Division One West Glossop is one of the smallest towns in England to have had a Football League club, and it remains the smallest town whose team has played in the English top flight.
1886 Linfield Association football Association football Belfast Northern Ireland NIFL Premiership
1886 Motherwell Association football Association football Motherwell Scotland Scottish Premiership
1886 Arsenal Association football Association football South London England Premier League
1886 North Shore United Association football Association football Auckland New Zealand Lotto Sport Italia NRFL Division 1 Founded as North Shore, the club is reputedly the oldest extant association football club in Oceania.
1886 Myrtleford Alpine Saints Australian football Australian football Myrtleford Australia Ovens & Murray Football League
1887 Académica de Coimbra Association football Association football Coimbra Portugal Segunda Liga The oldest club currently playing football in the Iberian Peninsula. The club only started playing football in 1912.[129]
1887 Barnsley Association football Association football Barnsley England EFL League One Initially formed under the name "Barnsley St. Peters" but dropped "St. Peters" to become simply Barnsley in 1897.
1887 Wallsend Association football Association football Wallsend Australia Northern NSW State League Division 1
1887 USV Hercules Association football Association football Utrecht (stad) Netherlands Derde Divisie
1887, 3 June Gimnasia y Esgrima (LP) Association football Association football La Plata Argentina Primera División The first sports offered were, as its Spanish name indicates, gymnastics and fencing. Association football and other sports were added later.[130]
1887, 12 July Odense boldklub Association football Association football Odense Denmark Danish Superliga
1887, 7 November Celtic Association football Association football Glasgow Scotland Scottish Premiership Founded in 1887 but played its first game against rivals Rangers in May 1888, winning 5–2.
1887, 27 November Quilmes Association football Association football Quilmes Argentina Primera B Nacional The club claims to be established on 5 November 1887,[131] although some local historians stated that the original "Quilmes" club founded that year was later dissolved and the "Quilmes Cricket Club" was in fact a completely new institution, not related with other clubs previously founded in the city of Quilmes.[132][133][134]
1888 Bristol Bears Rugby Football Rugby union Bristol England Premiership Rugby Bristol Football Club was formed in 1888 when the Carlton club merged with rival club Redland Park to create a united Bristol team.
1888, 13 May São Paulo A.C. Association football Rugby union São Paulo Brazil Brazilian Rugby Championship First Brazilian football association and rugby union team.
1888 Northern Association football Association football Dunedin New Zealand FootballSouth Premier League Founded under its current name. Briefly renamed as Dunedin North End (1972–74) and North End United (1974–90).
1888 Roslyn-Wakari Association football Association football Dunedin New Zealand FootballSouth Premier League Founded as Wakari AFC. Name changed to Roslyn AFC in 1890. Team split into Roslyn AFC and Wakari AFC in 1895 before re-amalgamating under its current name in 1904.
1889, 26 February
Arundel FC
Association football Sussex 
Akademisk Boldklub Association football Association football Gladsaxe Denmark Danish 2nd Division Founded through a merger between Fredericia Studenternes Kricketklub and Polyteknisk Boldklub.
1889, 22 March Sheffield United Association football Association football Sheffield England EFL Championshup The oldest football team called United.
1889, 12 July Adamstown Rosebud Association football Association football Adamstown Australia National Premier Leagues
1889, 15 August Mohun Bagan Association football Association football Kolkata India Indian Super League Founded as Mohun Bagan AC in 1889, it competed in I-League till 2020. It has been dubbed as the National Club of India and has the distinction of being one of the oldest existing football clubs in Asia. In 2020, this historic club merged with ATK FC (now dissolved) to form ATK Mohun Bagan FC. The club plays in the traditional green and maroon colours of Mohun Bagan AC in the Indian Super League.[135][136]
1889, 23 December Recreativo de Huelva Association football Association football Huelva Spain Segunda División The oldest football club in Spain.
1889, 24 December Rosario Central Association football Association football Rosario Argentina Primera División The peculiarity is that this club was designedly founded for the practice of football, unlike other Argentine clubs of the 1880s that incorporated it later

See also

Notes

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Disputed, poorly documented or dormant for a period.

References

  1. ^ "Official site – A Brief History". Archived from the original on 9 April 2009. Retrieved 13 April 2009.
  2. ^ Magoun, Francis Peabody (1929) "Football in Medieval England and Middle-English Literature." The American Historical Review, v.35, no. 1
  3. ^ M. Marples, 1954, A History of Football, Secker & Warburg, London, p. 36
  4. ^ Football The First Hundred Years: The Untold Story by Adrian Harvey, Routledge 2005, page 54
  5. ^ John Hope, Accounts and papers of the football club kept by John Hope, WS, and some Hope Correspondence 1787–1886 (National Archives of Scotland, GD253/183)
  6. ^ "The Foot-Ball Club in Edinburgh, 1824–1841 – The National Archives of Scotland". Archived from the original on 22 January 2013. Retrieved 23 January 2008.
  7. ^ Football The First Hundred Years: The Untold Story by Adrian Harvey, Routledge 2005, page 60
  8. ^ Football The First Hundred Years: The Untold Story by Adrian Harvey, Routledge 2005, page 85
  9. ^ a b "Foot-ball". Bell's Life in London: 4. 12 December 1841. Archived from the original on 29 January 2022. Retrieved 17 April 2018.
  10. ^ a b "Foot-ball". Bell's Life in London: 4. 2 January 1842. Archived from the original on 29 January 2022. Retrieved 17 April 2018.
  11. ^ The Guardian, 10 June 1848.
  12. ^ Football The First Hundred Years: The Untold Story by Adrian Harvey, Routledge (2005), pages 78-79
  13. ^ "W. Runicles: Carver, Gilder and Picture Frame Maker [advertisement]". Windsor and Eton Express. 7 October 1854. p. 1.. A newspaper advertisement for W. Runicles, of Eton High Street, boasts of patronage by "H.R.H. The Prince of Wales, the Young Gentlemen of Eton College, and the Members of the Home Park Football Club".
  14. ^ Windsor Home Park at the Football Club History Database
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