Descendants of The FA’s Founding Fathers were invited to Wembley on Monday to mark the role their ancestors played in helping to shape the world’s most popular sport.
On 26 October 1863 - 150 years ago this week - eight men met in The Freemasons’ Tavern in Holborn, London, and formed ‘The Football Association’ and later codified the first Laws of the Game.
In this landmark year The FA set about finding relatives of the eight men and, with the help of cultural historian Dr Jane Clayton, they are delighted with the findings.
The descendants are spread all over the world, from London and Oxford to USA and New Zealand.
Dr Clayton told FATV: “I started with a list of surnames and a handful of initials and had to search through the original Minute Book from 1863, check we had the right people and then it was a case of trawling through heaps of information to come up with the names, the details, the jobs the Founding Fathers did and ultimately find their relatives.”
One of those relatives is Neil Sleight from Chicago, the great-great-great grandson of Arthur Pember, The FA’s first-ever President.
He said: “It’s incredible - the simple rules [Pember] wrote so many years ago have transformed into something so big and loved by so many people around the world.”
Auckland-born Tom Steward, the great-great-great nephew of Herbert Thomas Steward concurred.
He added: “It’s a phenomena around the globe and I think [Herbert Thomas Steward] would be astounded at where it’s gone to.”
To find out more about the search for living descendants of the Founding Fathers, please visit www.TheFA.com/foundingfathers and if you have any information that can assist, please email email@example.com.
The Founding Fathers of football are:
Ebenezer Cobb Morley (1831-1924)
Arthur Pember (1835-1886)
Charles William Alcock (1842-1907)
Francis Maule Campbell (1843-1920)
John Forster Alcock (1841-1910)
Herbert Thomas Steward (1839-1915)
George Twizell Wawn (1840-1914)
James Turner (dates unknown)