Saturday, 2 March 2013

The first day of the Football League

Appears in the Trinity Road Stand at Villa Park
It was 125 years ago that the first ever Saturday 3 o'clock kickoffs changed English culture forever. Here's a roundup of the first day's action.

Ten of the twelve teams took part in the first ever round of Championship fixtures on Saturday, 8 September 1888 and although no league table was published in any of the newspapers of the time West Bromwich Albion would have been the very first team to claim top spot.

By modern day calculations, Derby County would have been the first ever table toppers because of their superior goal difference which was +3 after the first game.

The match between Blackburn and Notts County couldn't take place because the former had a friendly fixture against Newton Heath, who later became Manchester United. Even then, they were responsible for fixture congestion!

Albion won 2-0 at Stoke in front of 4,500 spectators and would have headed Preston North End, Derby County and Everton by virtue of goal average, which would be used to separate teams who were tied on points at that time. 

The first ever league goalscorer!
Preston defeated Burnley 5-2, Derby were 6-3 winners at Bolton and Everton secured the points in a 2-1 victory over Accrington.

Gershom Cox earned the distinction of scoring the first ever league goal. Unfortunately the Aston Villa defender put through his own goal in a 1-1 draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers. Minutes later Fred Dewhurst opened the scoring at Preston with the first intentional goal.