Sheffield has played a major part in the culture and history of football and it is fitting that the city is now celebrating that legacy through the Youdan Trophy.
The competition celebrates and recognises all of city’s rich footballing heritage including football’s first ever tournament; the Football Challenge Cup presented by Thomas Youdan Esq. which was played only once in 1867 at Bramall Lane. It was contested by 12 Sheffield teams and won by Hallam FC.
A local theatre owner, Thomas Youdan, sponsored the competition and provided the trophy. The trophy itself was made of silver and although Thomas Youdan awarded a £2 prize to the winner of a competition to design the trophy, it was not completed in time to be presented on the day to the winners.
The format of the competition was drawn up by a committee and played under Sheffield Rules. The first two rounds were on a knock-out basis; however the final was contested between three teams playing each other in turn.
The final took place on 5 March 1867 and attracted 3,000 spectators, each paying 3d admission.
The game used the concept of 'rouges' (a rouge was scored when an attempt at goal, using a goal only four yards wide, missed but would have gone into an eight yard wide goal. Rouges were only considered in the case of a drawn match).
Hallam beat Norfolk and Mackenzie to finish first, while Norfolk beat Mackenzie and finished second. The runners-up were presented with a two-handed silver goblet encircled with athletic figures that had been purchased with the proceeds of the gate money. Thomas Youdan was unable to present it personally as he was ill.
Sheffield’s footballing heritage is unrivalled anywhere in the world. The Steel City is the birthplace of the beautiful game. It has a string of firsts associated with the development of the modern game. Sheffield were pioneers in giving the world its most popular spectator sport.
It is home – as you’d expect – to the oldest club on the planet, Sheffield FC. The legendary club was founded on October 24th, 1857, by Nathaniel Creswick and William Prest.
The two sporting pioneers didn’t leave it there. They also wrote the first set of rules and laws for the fledgling game (1858).
Sheffield FC itself shaped much of the modern game. They argued that the ball should not be carried by hand which resulted in the divergence of football and rugby.
They called time on hacking (kicking of legs) whilst introducing the cross-bar, throw in, free-kick, 11-a-side and 90 minute games.
Sheffield also boasts the world’s second oldest club – Hallam FC. Formed in 1860, the club has its own first in the shape of the oldest ground – Sandygate – and also won the world’s first football tournament in 1867.
The first football ‘derby’ was played in the Steel City on Boxing Day, 1860. The match was between Sheffield FC V Hallam FC.
Sheffield is home to the oldest major professional football ground in the world. Bramall Lane is also one of only two stadiums in the world to have hosted both the
FA Cup final and a cricket test match. The other is The Oval in London.
Bramall Lane’s record breaking honours don’t stop there. It also hosted the first floodlit match in 1878. The first game was played at the ground as long ago as in 1862.
Sheffield and Hallamshire FA was formed in 1867 – it became the first area association in the country. The first insurance scheme was introduced for footballers in the same year.
Sheffield played Glasgow in 1874 – this was recognised as the first international. The game was played at Bramall Lane and resulted in a 2-2 draw.
The Clegg Shield was the world’s first inter-school’s trophy. Alderman W.S. Clegg presented it for the first time in 1889 for a football competition for elementary schools.
The first radio broadcast of a football game was between Sheffield United and Arsenal – it was played out in 1927.
Eight Under 14 sides took part in the inaugural Youdan Trophy in 2015 with teams from across the world joining together to celebrate the resurrection of the world's first football tournament. Held in Sheffield over five days, the competition saw both the city's two major clubs, Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United take part along with London based teams Brentford and Charlton Athletic. Giving the trophy an international feel were Nerang Eagles from Australia. FAB Academy from Buckinghamshire and Scottish giants Celtic and Rangers completed the eight.
The group stages took place over the first three days with Celtic, Rangers, Charlton and Brentford all progressing through to the semi-finals. The Old Firm derby was up first, with Rangers edging a thrilling 2-1 contest. They were joined by Charlton Athletic who prevailed on penalties after an enticing 1-1 draw.
The final saw over 1000 spectators at Bramall Lane for the final day of action. Before the grand finale Brentford defeated Celtic to clinch third place, whilst the bottom four teams from the group stage had been battling it out for the Youdan Plate with FAB Academy the eventual winners.
The Youdan Trophy final was a five goal thriller and it was Rangers who eventually triumphed over Charlton Athletic winning the tie 3-2. One of the stars of the tournament, Celtic striker Karamoko Dembele, picked up the 'Player of the Tournament'.
After a successful first ever Youdan Trophy in 2015, it was decided to increase the number of participants as well as introduce a second age category u16s for the 2016 edition. Thirty two teams arrived in Sheffield on the 31st July for another five day festival of football. Both Sheffield clubs were both again invited and brought both u14 and u16 teams, while Scottish Old Firm duo Celtic and Rangers also returned. The former bringing both age categories and the latter bringing their u14s only. Last year's runners up Charlton Athletic were also back with two teams as were FAB Academy. There were also plenty of newcomers from across Britain, and expanding on the first year, there was an bigger international presence to the tournament with JHR from the Netherlands and Royal Antwerp from Belgium bringing both age groups, FC Basel from Switzerland, Rosenborg from Norway and Seattle Sounders from the USA bringing under 16 sides.
Last year's beaten finalists Charlton Athletic u14s progressed through the group stages to defeat Celtic u14s 2-1 in the first semi final at Warminster Road. They were joined by Sheffield Wednesday in the final who beat JHR. The two Championship clubs contested the final and the London side were not to be beaten finalists two years in a row, and raced into a three goal lead in the first half. There was no way back for blue side of Sheffield and Charlton went on to win 3-0.
Over in the u16's competition, FC Basel edged out Celtic 2-1 in another agonising exit for the Hoops late in the competition. Seattle Sounders, impressive throughout the group stage, overcame Wolves 3-1 in the other semi-final. The final was a tightly fought match with a goal from the tournament's top scorer Azriel Gonzalez the difference between the two sides.
Driven by the success of the Youdan Trophy 2016, organisers decided to extend the number of teams from 32 to 40 and welcomed over 800 players to Sheffield to celebrate footballing history for the third year in a row.
As last year, 2017 welcomed two age categories, Under 14s and Under 16s with matches taking place at Warminster Road (U14) and Hallam Sports Park (U16).
Both Sheffield clubs were again competing across both age categories with United finishing runners up in the U14s losing 2-1 to Sunderland in the final.
Last year's U16s winner from the US, Seattle Sounders, returned this year also bringing an u14 team with them that fought for the title in their category, losing only to the eventual winners of the tournament Sunderland in the semi-finals, but defeated surprise package Kawasaki Frontale in the third place play-off.
Their u16 counterparts successfully defended their trophy with an enthralling 4-2 penalty shoot-out in the final against Everton, in a game refereed by 2016 world's best referee Mark Clattenburg, fresh from retiring from the Premier League. Last year's runners up once again came up short finishing third after beating Charlton Athletic in the play-off.
Of the English clubs, more top level academies joined Youdan Trophy this year such as Manchester United, Newcastle United and Crystal Palace which, without doubt, made Youdan Trophy more attractive for the spectators. Another appealing side of the tournament was the diversity of the countries being represented by the clubs. Youdan Trophy 2017 hosted teams from the Middle East namely Omani side Al Habsi Football School and Al Dhafra, from the United Arab Emirates.
All the teams from abroad produced respectable performances but it was Japanese side Kawasaki Frontale that climbed up to the 4th place in the final position table, impressing fellow clubs and supporters.
It was also a first Youdan Trophy tournament for Canadian academy ANB Futbol who were drawn in a tough group including Sunderland FC.
In addition to the current U16 winners , another US team, Houston Dynamo, came to experience English weather and looked to replicated their rivals success by competing for the Youdan Trophy 2017 by bringing teams in both U14 and U16 age categories.
Overall, the tournament proved to be exciting, challenging and entertaining which ensured an enjoyable five days of football for both teams and spectators.