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Martin Westby

Martin's book A history of Sheffield Football 1857- 1889 provides a comprehensive review of the Sheffield football scene from 1793 until 1889 when Sheffield United was born. Using research, some of which never before seen in the public domain, it analyses all ninety-five clubs that existed during the period when Sheffield led the world of Association football and was a critical factor in the formulation of today’s world wide rules and regulations.

As part of his reclassification of the early Association Football, all the early Sheffield clubs are ranked by their English standings. This book also features other local clubs’ early histories from the surrounding area; Leeds, Bradford, Chesterfield Rotherham, Rawmarsh, Staveley,Elsecar, Mexborough, Worksop, Barnsley, Eckington and Doncaster.

This book is not just for South Yorkshire and Derbyshire football fans, it is for anyone with an interest in how Association football first started and then evolved.

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Martin pictured alongside Sheffield Wednesday's owner Dejphon Chansiri after he purchased his book at the 2018 Owls in the Park event

Following on from the book, Martin was approached by Sheffield Libraries to design and write the content for a free to download app that offers a walking guide to the heritage of Sheffield football, it is called ‘Sheffield: The Home of Football. It covers the rich history of the four remaining clubs (out of the 95 that existed between 1857 and 1889) and the Sheffield & Hallamshire County F.A. (England’s first County Association)

    The walk is just over 4.7 miles and while visiting the ten stops you will be introduced to the places and the people that made Sheffield the home of Association football. Enhanced with audio clips and map mash-ups showing Sheffield in the 1850s and today; you will be transported back to the Victorian era when the world’s first football club started.

    To download the app to your mobile search in your app store for Sheffield the Home of Football.


“This is a remarkable piece of scholarship which will provide a foundation for future studies of local and regional football. Given your upfront discussion and clarification of your methods and assumptions (all I am pleased to note are evidence based) there will be no need for anyone to retread the ground that you have so assiduously covered. If I were younger I could envisage using this as a base for a research project to investigate the various waves of club formation in different geographic areas and identifying which types of clubs were at the forefront of the developments”.

 - Professor Wray Vamplew, Emeritus Professor of Sports History, University of Stirling

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