Thanks largely to the fortunate survival of the Mitchell and Kenyon archive, the British Film Institute now possesses many hours of Edwardian football footage. A large proportion of this has now been properly restored and the best of it released on two DVDs: Electric Edwardians and Edwardian Sport .
Snippets of this material come and go on Youtube, caught up in the never-ending copyright battle that makes the site so unpredictable, fun and frustrating. But now the BFI themselves have thrown a decent amount up there themselves. Here’s the best of what’s there so far. (The rest of their Youtube collection is well worth exploring, as is the Mediatheque at their beautiful Southbank headquarters in London).
Sunderland v Leicester Fosse 1907
(There’s an amusing drinking story around Leicester Fosse – look it up!)
Burnley v Manchester United 1902
Preston North End v Aston Villa 1905
Bolton v Burton United 1904/5
Preston North End v Wolverhampton Wanderers 1904
Blackburn Rovers v Aston Villa 1904
Bradford City v Gainsborough Trinity 1903
Notts County v Middlesbrough 1902
Everton v Liverpool 1902
Rotherham Town v Thornhill 1902
Newcastle United v Liverpool 1901
(The outstanding film of this set – the only one truly worth watching just for the game)
Sheffield United v Bury 1901
(The United side who lost to John Cameron’s Spurs in the Cup Final take on the Cupholders who defeated George Clawley’s Southern League Southampton in the 1900 Final)
Salford v Batley 1901
Rugby League – with fascinating changing room shots and much “background” detail.
The Ban on Womens’ Football
This is from 1921, and comments on the FA’s impending ban. Eccentric and disastrous behaviour on the FA’s part, even at the time. Genuine mysogyny I suspect, of the kind Rachel Heyhoe-Flint had to deal with at the other end of the century and Jackie Oatley’s putting up with now.