It’s incredible to think that this following collection of vintage videos, which were shot over 100 years ago at football grounds across England, would be added to YouTube and we’d be viewing on a computer via this thing called the World Wide Web. But no matter how much technology has changed in the hundred plus years, two things haven’t changed that much. People back then went in watch English football games in large numbers. And the game of football itself has changed hardly at all ever since then.
In the first video from the Mitchell and Kenyon Collection, pictured above, the cameras pan over the crowd before a 1902 match kicks off and then feature some highlights of the game between Sheffield United and Bury, including video of the legendary goalkeeper Fatty Foulkes. The film is narrated by the excellent Adrian Chiles.
In the second video, above, Mitchell and Kenyon visit Trent Bridge to film the world’s oldest professional football club, Notts County. There isn’t any football on display, but the crowd shots are incredible. Again it’s remarkable to think how things have changed from 1902 to now where the club was recently taken over by Middle East investors.
In addition to the above videos from 1902, here are an assortment of other unbelievable videos to view, such as:
The next video, above, features the most football action with Newcastle United at home against Liverpool in 1901 at a St James’s Park that looks quite different than the current monolith. The action is fast and furious.
Burnley against Manchester United from 1902 is featured above, which shows a small Turf Moor ground with a grass embankment in the corner. The video is believed to be the earliest video of Manchester United in action.
If you think controversial decisions by referees are a new phenomenon, you only have to watch the above video to see how a goal scored by Preston North End against Aston Villa was disallowed in controversial circumstances before Preston later scored in this game from 1905, which features flashier jerseys than the previous 1901-1902 videos.
Enjoyed watching these videos? There are several more to choose from the British Film Institute’s YouTube channel (just search for football to see the collection).