RepositoryLancashire Archives
LevelCollection
Reference numberDDX 2708
TitleLancashire Football Association
Date1878-1965
DescriptionArchives including minutes 1878-1963, financial records, competition results and receipts, 1879/80-1964/65, registers of players fined or cautioned, 1953-1960s, press-cuttings 1931-1935
Background InformationThe Lancashire Football Association is responsible for the governance and development of all levels of football in Lancashire from Furness to the Mersey. Today it has over 100 leagues, 4000 teams and 1500 referees and all the North West football teams are first affiliated to Lancashire FA.

For a comprehensive history of the first 50 years of the association see: 'History of the Lancashire Football Association 1878-1928' by CE Sutcliffe and F Hargreaves, published by Geo Toulmin and sons, Blackburn 1928

Organised football in Lancashire developed during the 1870s. Turton Football Club, established in 1872, was a prime mover in adopting the Rules of the London FA and in becoming members of the Football Association in 1876. W T Dixon, secretary of Turton, was one of a small group of men who met at the Volunteer Inn, Bromley Cross to make arrangements for calling a meeting of the Association Football Clubs of Lancashire on 28 Sep 1878 in the Cooperative Hall in Darwen, where it was unanimously agreed to form a Lancashire Football Association. Twenty eight clubs joined: Astley Bridge, Blackburn Rovers, Blackburn Christ Church, Livesey United, Blackburn Park Road, Blackburn St George, Blackburn St Mark's, Bolton Emmanuel, Bolton North End, Bolton Wanderers, Bolton St George's, Bolton Rovers, Bolton St Paul's, Church, Clough Fold, Myrtle Grove, Darwen, Lower Darwen, Darwen Grasshoppers, Darwen Rangers, Darwen Lower Chapel, Darwen St James, Eagley, Enfield, Great Lever, Haslingden Rangers, Haslingden Grane, Turton.

Applying for membership of The Football Association and establishing a Lancashire FA Challenge Cup competition were considered early priorities as well as arranging matches and settling protests and disputes. A Lancashire Cup sub-committee was set up in 1879 to draw up rules for a knock-out cup competition, open to all registered football clubs in the county. The trophy, designed by Monk Brothers of Bolton, cost £160 and was won in the 1879-80 season by Darwen Football Club who beat Blackburn Rovers 3-0. Players taking part in the final were presented with commemorative medals.

For a detailed history of the Lancashire FA Challenge Cup competitions, with results and statistics, see ''The Lancashire Cup: a complete record 1879/80-2006/07' by Gordon Small 2007.

As more clubs joined the LFA it became impractical for all clubs to compete for the Challenge Cup so the Lancashire Junior Cup competition was established in 1885/86 followed by the Amateur Cup in 1893/94 and the Lancashire Junior Shield in 1906.

One of the early achievements of the Lancashire FA was to lobby for the legalisation of professional football, agreed by The Football Association in 1885.

In 1901 a Referees Committee was appointed to examine the qualifications of referees, to examine applicants and to report the results of applications to the Lancashire FA and to appoint referees to matches when requested. Previously there had been no registration of referees and no way of assessing their abilities.

As the number of leagues grew it became important to ensure that their rules were consistent and it became a condition that clubs and players should not play in any league until its rules had been sanctioned. The Leagues Sanction Committee was established for that purpose. In 1905 the Lancashire FA drew up a model code of Rules which became mandatory in 1924.

World War I disrupted play and clubs and players disappeared. In 1918 a Re-organisation Committee was appointed to assist in the re-establishment of football in the county and to foster juvenile football by providing cups for school competitions
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