Queen Victoria was on the throne, William Ewart Gladstone was her Prime Minister and Blackburn Olympic held the FA Cup when fifteen gentleman assembled around a table in the Midland Hotel, Derby, on the afternoon of September 22nd, 1883 to form the Derbyshire County Football Association.
Their main objective was to organise a cup competition to be contested by member clubs and they were following the precedent set 20 years earlier when the Football Association; the world’s oldest association and therefore not requiring the prefix ‘English’ since it was the only one at the time, was founded at Freemason’s Tavern in Lincoln’s Inn Field.
Since the formation of the The FA in 1863 county association had been springing up all over England and in Derbyshire, a county with a strong football tradition, it was inevitable that an association would be formed.
What the pioneers could not possibly have imagined was that one hundred and thirty-seven years later the Derbyshire FA would be responsible for more than 520 affiliated clubs and running over 17,000 teams across the county.
Of course, football had been played in Derbyshire long before the DCFA was formed. Indeed, no one can establish just who invented a game which goes back into the mists of time.
Today’s football derived from the plebeian mob game played in various forms all over the country. At many times in our history the game was banned for fear that it diverted young men from practising the bow and arrow for the national defence or because it was considered ungodly, or simply because successive governments and monarchs feared any large gathering of people who might turn against the authorities.
Many football clubs were now being organised in Derbyshire and it was against this background that those fifteen gentlemen met at the Midland Hotel in September 1883. Mr J.P. Irving of Derby took the chair and the following were recorded as present; Messers Stubs (Staveley), Lowles (Darley Abbey), Ballington (Matlock), Hemming (Wirksworth), Daykin (Matlock), Greaves (Bakewell), Higginbottom and Jackson (Stoney Middleton), Holmes (St. Luke’s), Swift (Long Eaton Rangers), Hood and Hill (Long Eaton rovers) Wells (Sawley Rangers and R.J. Smith (Derby).
Mr. Smith, who lived on Bateman Street, Derbyshire, addressed the meeting; there is no record of what he actually said, and it was resolved ‘That an Association of Derbyshire Football Clubs be formed and called the Derbyshire Football Association’ the object being to have a competition amongst the members for a challenge cup to be held for twelve months by the successful club.
It was also resolved that the annual subscription should be ten shillings and entry into cup competitions would be five shillings. Robert Smith was elected the first secretary of DCFA and a committee was also formed compromising of fifteen men.
It was decided that the Presidency be offered to the Hon W.M. Jervice JP and the secretary was ordered to approach ’several influential gentleman’ to become vice presidents and obtain subscriptions for the purchase of the Challenge Cup.
The first members of the DCFA were Darley Abbey, Derby Midland, Whitworth, Matlock, Derby St. Lukes, Wirksworth, Long Eaton Ranger, Long Eaton Rover, Ashbourne, Bakewell, Staveley, Stoney Middleton, Belper and Sawley Rangers.
Derbyshire County FA has come a long way since then, we now have a female Chief Executive, a dedicated Football Development team and a dedicated Football Services team.
It consistently supports the growth, development and structuring of football in Derbyshire, by providing coaching courses to ensure best practice, training referees to ensure safe practice, assisting with funding and facility bids to provide high quality environments whilst giving playing opportunities to the whole of Derbyshire. It is always striving to provide the best support possible and will continue to do so in the years to come. To see what we achieved last year watch our season highlights video below.