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Football or Rugby? Definitely not Soccer!

Image from wikimedia

140 years ago on October 30, 1874, the London Advertiser and the London Free Press both carried an article on a "foot ball" match between Hamilton and London which took place after 3 pm. on October 29th. 

The players "appeared on the field dressed in outlandish style, the Hamilton men in zebra patterned shirts, looking like the inmates of Sing Sing, the Londoners in red nightcaps and blue guernseys, bearing a strong resemblance to a gang of fishermen ready for a cruise."   

The "old country" spectators were expecting a traditional game of football where the rule was "kick" and "hands off."  Instead they were treated to a very rough game of rugby where the player "with the ball tucked under his arm, as a boy would a precious watermelon", ran toward the opponent's goal, was chased and knocked down by his opponents, often resulting in fights. 

Consequently, the crowd rapidly diminished because of the violence and cold blustery weather.  Darkness overtook the game before either side could claim a victory so it was a 'draw." 

After the game, the players, with a large number of friends, dined at the Revere House (now the Richmond) at the northeast corner of King and Richmond streets.        


File:Osgoode Hall rugby football team champions of Canada 1891.jpg