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A History of Nottingham Schools' Football Association

On December 12th 1891, a meeting was held at Clarendon Street School. Mr. King was in the chair and sixteen teachers were present. It was resolved by those in attendance that a Nottingham Schools’ Football Association should be formed. The stated aim of these teachers at their inaugural meeting was “the mental, moral and physical development of school children through the game of football”.

Today those men would not recognise Nottingham as the same city; they would be amazed at the improvement in schools; they would see many changes in the equipment, laws and style of play in the game of football; but they would find an unbroken thread linking them with 2006 in the work of the Association. There are still, as there have been for 112 years, teachers, who give freely of their time with the aim formulated in 1891, and boys and girls, who play with enthusiasm for the game. We feel that those pioneers would be proud of the organisation which has grown from their early efforts.

During the first season, 1891-1892, there were thirty-two affiliated schools, which were divided into eight leagues of four schools each. It is interesting to note that nine of the original schools are still affiliated to Nottingham Schools’ Football Association today. Most of these are now primary schools, but in 1891 they were all age schools, with only the oldest pupils comprising the football team. The schools that remain in name after 112 years are Bluecoat, Carrington, Hyson St. Marys, Lenton, Old Basford, Scotholme, Sneinton, Southwark and Trinity.

During the current season, 2006-2007, no fewer than 65 Primary Schools, 18 Secondary Schools have affiliated to the Association. There are nine U11 leagues, of which are supported by the Derby Road Trust. There are also city-wide Merit Tables for the U10s and U11 Girls.

At Secondary level, schools have the choice of entering boys’ teams in either merit tables or leagues. This has resulted in five merit tables at each age group from U12 to U16 and leagues for U15 Boys, U13 Girls and U12 Boys. A recent innovation has been the introduction of Central Venue Leagues. This began with the U15 Boys’ 5-a-side league, played on five Wednesday evenings through the season at the Swerveturn courts at Harvey Hadden Sports Centre. This season there will be an U12 Boys’ 6-a-side League, which will be played at two outdoor venues – Fernwood Comp. Sports Centre and Southglade Sports Centre. This is a joint venture organised by the NSFA and Schools Sports Partnership PDMs.

In addition to this the NSFA offers knock-out cup competitions for girls’ and boys’ teams at all age levels, as well as a vast range of Indoor and Outdoor small-sided events.

The first ever Town team to represent Nottingham played Sheffield on Thursday, 21st April 1892. For more than fifty years, the Association had only one representative side. However since the 1950’s, the number of City teams has increased immensely. The NSFA is proud to boast that it now runs Secondary teams at U15, U14, U13 and U12 level, while at the Primary age group it supports one U11 mixed side, as well as U11 Girls and U10 squads. These teams play numerous matches against other Associations, throughout the country.

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