On This Day: Football's First International

England played Scotland in a publicly-advertised game for the first time on 30th November, 1872 - kickstarting international football as we know it today. The English team included players drafted in from Oxford University. The Scottish team was entirely made up of teammates from Queen’s Park. The score was 0-0.


Much of the game was yet to be codified - for example, that you couldn’t catch a ball with your hands. Readers of the match-report in The Guardian had to have it explained to them that half-time was 45 minutes. But the game was an indisputable hit.


In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly reveal why Scotland still wear dark blue in international competitions; consider the role of cricket stadiums in the continuing confusion over pitch sizes; and question the wisdom of the photographer booked to document the occasion - who decided not to turn up…Further Reading:

• ‘Scotland v England 1872’ (scottishsporthistory.com): https://www.scottishsporthistory.com/scotland-v-england-1872.html

• ‘The first official fixture between England and Scotland’ (The Guardian, 1872): https://www.theguardian.com/football/2016/nov/11/england-scotland-first-football-fixture-1872

• ‘EXCLUSIVE! First ever International Highlights’ (Queen’s Park YouTube Channel, 2017): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1OJD1nXlnuA


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The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.


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