I was involved in an interesting discussion on a Birmingham City fan site today. Someone on there was asking if football could be considered a religion. That in itself is an interesting question, but it was one of the comments that followed that really grabbed me.
Someone replied with…..’It is more important than Religion and Politics, but could be deemed to be both, and hence talk about such stuff, should, by default be banned from this place.’
Now i found that quite ridiculous. Obviously this bloke had no idea that the club that he supports has its origins firmly in a church.
Holy Trinity in Brodesley, Birmingham, had created a Cricket team with the blessing of their Vicar Dr Oldknow. This cricket team formed part of the churches temperance group activities. In 1875 six members of the club who were also choristers at the church asked if an Association Football club could be set up to help them keep their fitness during the winter months.
These lads realised that their wouldn’t be enough players to draw on purely from the church congregation so Small Heath Association Football Club was born.
But what about other Premier League clubs? should you be giving greater thanks to God for the football you enjoy?
Between 1992 and 2006 12 of the 39 premier league clubs can trace their origins directly back to a church.
Aston Villa – Wesleyan Methodist Church, Lozells Rd
Barnsley – St Peter’s, Central Barnsley
Birmingham City – Holy Trinity, Brodesley
Bolton Wanderers – Christ Church
Everton (and it’s little offspring Liverpool) – St Domingo’s, St Domingo grove
Fulham – St Andrews Church, Fulham fields
Manchester City – St Marks, West Gorton
QPR – St Jude’s, Lancefield St
Southampton – St Mary’s, Southampton
Swindon – Christ Church, ‘The Old Lady on the Hill’
Tottenham Hotspur – All Hallows, Tottenham
So those of us who are football fans owe much to the dedicated Christian men and women of years past…..I wonder what they’d make of the game now?