Remembering the days when Harborough made footballing history in our county

The Leicestershire Football Archive celebrates the history of football in the county.
The Leicestershire Football Archive celebrates the history of football in the county - the snippet shows the reference to Harborough.The Leicestershire Football Archive celebrates the history of football in the county - the snippet shows the reference to Harborough.
The Leicestershire Football Archive celebrates the history of football in the county - the snippet shows the reference to Harborough.

An archive has been launched documenting the ‘ugly beginnings of the beautiful game’ in Leicestershire.

The Leicestershire Football Archive celebrates the history of football in the county, which spokesman Nigel Freestone says is full of ‘drama, excitement, controversy, violence, and even a tinge of sadness’.

It includes more than 15,000 results, 2,500 match reports, news stories and season summaries and is available online.

Nigel said the archive shows that Harborough led the way. He said: “In 1882 Market Harborough became the first Leicestershire football club to enter an Association Football competition – Wellingborough & District Cup. Unfortunately, the only information currently known about this momentous milestone in Leicestershire football history is that they were beaten in the opening round by Rushden. The following season Harborough were beaten finalists in the same competition.

“The following year in the same competition Market Harborough were slaughtered 10-0 by Wellingborough, but 139 years ago (1885) they reached the final – achieving another county footballing first.

“A ‘football special train’ conveyed 80 supporters from Harborough to witness the Wellingborough Challenge Cup Final against Rushden at Wellingborough.

“Harborough won the toss, and elected to kick with the sun and wind. Harborough for some time afterwards had the best of it, but Rushden got the ball in front of the Harborough goal, when ‘hands’ were claimed by the latter, but not allowed, and a second goal, accidentally knocked through by Harborough was scored for Rushden.

“Rushden played well together, and having secured two more goals remained the victors by four goals to nil.”

Residents with information of football in Harborough and Leicestershire are being called on to share their memories to add to the archive.

Nigel added: “You can get involved in this unique project by sharing with us and others any information you may have about the history of football in Market Harborough and Leicestershire, as well as personal memories of the beautiful game.

"This can be by digitally contributing items for inclusion in the archive, undertaking research about a particular club, era or competition.”

Visit www.leicestershirefootballarchive.com to contribute information or find out more.