Back in 1888-89, when it first kicked off, one very keen fan started a series of painstakingly handwritten scorecards to record fixtures and results from the league’s early seasons.
They are now coming to Derbyshire saleroom Hansons in the Football In Focus and Sports Memorabilia Auction on August 19, estimated at £300-400.
This fascinating find had been concealed in a pouffe that the late Doris Cope had rested her legs on for years in her home off Kedleston Road in Derby. It turned out to be a storage place for a set of nine scorecards.
They were discovered when her family cleared out the house after she died in 2007 at the age of 92.
They record fixtures and results of the 12 clubs which founded the league. Seasons covered include 1888-89, 1889-90, 1892-93 (First and Second Division); 1893-94 (First Division); 1894- 95 (Second Division); 1895-96 (Second Division) and 1896-97 (First and Second Division).
It is not known who made the cards.
The collection includes the results of Preston North End’s undefeated 1888–89 season – they were nicknamed ‘The Invincibles’ after completing an entire season unbeaten in league and cup competition involving 27 games in total.
Other teams to make an appearance include Newton Heath – now Manchester United – and Staffordshire’s Burton Swifts and Burton Wanderers. Burton Swifts were stablished in 1871. The club joined the Football League in 1892, remaining members until merging with Burton Wanderers to form Burton United in 1901.
Chalk and ease
A simple style can be charming: shown above is the original Director’s Lounge scoreboard from Coventry City FC’s Highfield Road, removed following the ground’s closure in 2005.
The hardwood board (from probably the late 1960s, to include the ‘Jimmy Hill era’) was used to update the latest scores from around the Football League, with interchangeable club names and space to update scores in chalk. A space is also left at the top for the attendance and any international fixture on that day.
It was obtained by the vendor here from the auction of Highfield Road items carried out by Smith Hodgkinson on July 3, 2005.
Offered at the Dawsons auction in Maidenhead on June 30, the 6ft 7in x 3ft 7in (2 x 1.1m) board sold for a premium-inclusive £1200 against an estimate of £1000-1500. It was bought by the CCFC Supporters Club. Dawson’s commercial director Pete Liggins said: “I am a huge fan of Coventry City FC, so helping find the fixtures board a great home was a labour of love.”
CCFC will be ground-sharing at Birmingham’s St Andrews next season after a series of wrangles over their Ricoh Arena ground, but plans have just been announced to build a stadium to the south west of Coventry.