A HAND-WRITTEN pamphlet outlining the rules of club football is being sold as part of an archive collection expected to fetch up to £1.2million at auction, writes digital editor Graham Walker.
The archive belongs to the world’s oldest football club, Sheffield FC, and has been described by the chairman as “the ultimate prize in terms of football memorabilia”.
The pamphlet, drawn up in 1858, introduces laws of the game which still exist today, such as the indirect free-kick, the corner kick and the use of a crossbar.
Other documents in the archive detail the first floodlit game.
Sheffield FC, acknowledged by world football’s governing body FIFA as the oldest club in the world, was formed in 1857 - six years before the formation of the Football Association.
Chairman Richard Tims said the decision to sell had been taken to secure the club’s future.
He said the club runs 27 teams and is heavily involved in grass-roots projects and runs a number of disability teams which “all requires capital”.
He said: “We have exhausted all avenues and the club has voted to go down this route. It will allow us to develop our facilities. We didn’t have a ground for 144 years so we have been left a little bit behind.
“This will allow us to move forward and secure our future. It is a working document and is a living, breathing piece of history. It is the ultimate prize in terms of football memorabilia.”
The collection, which is being put up for auction by Sotheby’s in London in July, is being taken on a worldwide tour by the auction house in the coming weeks to attract potential buyers.