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Top 7 Oldest English Football Clubs.

Updated: Jun 1


Top 7 Oldest English Football Clubs.
Top 7 Oldest English Football Clubs.

With a game that dates back more than 150 years, English Football naturally boasts many of the oldest clubs in the world. These early teams were typically founded by small groups or communities eager to play against others from their local area.

Sides soon became more established, quickly evolving into large organisations supported by millions of fans worldwide today. This rich history has cemented England's status as the birthplace of modern football, with its clubs playing a pivotal role in shaping the global sport.

Here Are The Top 7 Oldest English Football Clubs

7. Nottingham Forest (1865)

A group of Shinty players (a Scottish game played with a ball and stick) established an association football club called Nottingham Forest in 1865. Their home stadium, called The City Ground, currently accommodates over 30,000 Premier League supporters.

Forest have a credible history having won two European Cups, a First Division title, two FA Cups and four League Cups. With legendary manager Brian Clough at the helm, they saw noteworthy success in the late 1970's. The Garibaldi remains a symbol of pride for its passionate fanbase.

6. Brigg Town (1864)

Brigg Town FC, once revered as the oldest English football club, is a semi-professional football club from the market town of Brigg in North Lincolnshire. Founded in 1864, The Zebras currently reside in the tenth tier of England’s football pyramid called the Northern Counties East League.

The team play their home matches at The Hawthorns which can host around 2,500 fans at capacity. Brigg Town’s most prolific period came during the 1990s when they were crowned Northern Counties East League Champions for 2000/01. Despite being in a lower league, the club remains an integral part of the local community. It fosters local talent and maintains strong fan support.

5. Royal Engineers AFC (1863)

Royal Engineers AFC (also known as the Sappers) were founded in 1863 and are a British Army football team. The club’s finest achievements came during the late 1800s when they lifted the FA Cup thrice in 1875, 1876 and 1880.

They nurtured several players who would eventually move to professional clubs. Even today, the club continues to represent the British Army, playing against other military teams worldwide whilst raising money to support personnel and their families. The Royal Engineers AFC exemplify the enduring bond between football and military tradition.

4. Stoke Ramblers or Stoke City FC (1863)

Originally founded in 1863, Stoke Ramblers changed its name to Stoke in 1878. They were then renamed again to Stoke City FC in 1925 following Stoke-on-Trent’s city status being granted. After 119 years at The Victoria Ground, the club moved to their 30,000 seater Bet365 Stadium in 1997.

Stoke City FC won the 1972 Football League Cup and finished as FA Cup runners-up on three occasions. Today, they are competing in the Championship, the second-tier English Football League, after being relegated from the Premier League in 2018. Stoke City FC's journey through the ranks of English football reflects their resilience and adaptability.

3. Notts County (1862)

Notts County FC originated from Nottingham and was founded in 1862. They are considered one of the early pioneers of the English game we know today, their creation preceding The Football Association and so initially played without accepted modern rules. 

Notts County’s home ground is Meadow Lane which houses nearly 20,000 supporters at full capacity. They achieved notable success in the early 1900s including two FA Cup wins, four League Cups and four top-tier League titles. Notts County currently reside in the fourth level of the English game also known as the National League, with their famous heritage continuing to inspire fans and players alike.

2. Hallam FC (1860)

Based near Sheffield, Hallam FC was officially founded in 1860 when the owner of the Plough Inn Public House on Sandygate Road permitted a newly formed team to play on one of his fields. The team still remains at Sandygate Road Stadium which has a capacity of 1,000 with 250 seated spaces.

Over the years, Hallam FC has faced financial issues with their facilities often struggling to meet modern requirements. The club plays in the tenth tier of English football called the Northern Counties East Division One and in 2022 became League Champions. Hallam FC’s perseverance through financial adversity underscores their commitment to the sport and the community.

1. Sheffield United FC (1857)

Officially the oldest football club in England still in existence is Sheffield United FC which was formed by members of the Sheffield United Cricket Club. The team’s nickname is ‘The Blades’ which directly links to the city’s heritage as a key producer of cutlery in the United Kingdom.

The club was recently relegated to English football’s second tier following a below-par 2023-24 Premier League campaign, with their home ground Bramall Lane seating over 32,000 supporters. Sheffield United have won several major honours including four top-flight league titles, one FA Cup and four League Cups. They are renowned as officially the world’s oldest football club! Their storied legacy continues to make them a revered name in football history.

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