140 Years

A history of Derbyshire football

140 years since the inception of Derbyshire FA, let's take a look back in time



It is an impossible task to write a definitive history of 140 years of Derbyshire FA, as there's just so much to it. Derbyshire is a very football-proud county with a lot of tradition and heritage, and the timeline below does a good job of showing the rich history of football in Derbyshire since our inception in 1883. It is worth noting that football in Derbyshire existed long before Derbyshire FA did. Traditional versions of football have existed for centuries and have even originated within our county borders, for example Ashbourne's Royal Shrovetide, which still takes place to date.



22nd September 1883 – Fifteen gentleman assembled around a table in the Midland Hotel, Derby, to form the Derbyshire County Football Association. Their main objective was to organise a cup competition to be contested by member clubs.


1st October 1883 – A second meeting was held at the Lamb Inn, Derby, in which the draw for the first round of the inaugural Derbyshire Senior Challenge Cup took place.


5th April 1884 – The first Senior Challenge Cup Final took place as Staveley beat Derby Midland 2-1 in front of seven thousand spectators at the County Ground, Derby.


13th May 1884 – Derbyshire FA and Derbyshire County Cricket Club officials met at the Bell Hotel, Derby, to discuss Derbyshire CCC’s aims to form a football team of which the proposed name of ‘Derbyshire County FC’ was rejected by Derbyshire FA. The title of the club was modified to Derby County FC.


1885 – The 1885/86 season saw the introduction of senior and minor charity cups.


10th April 1886 – Derby staged the first ever FA Cup Final to take place outside of London. West Brom faced Blackburn Rovers on a snowy day at the County Ground.


September 1886 – Chesterfield FC were formed at the Eagle Hotel, Chesterfield.


28th January 1888 – The FA Cup Quarter-Final saw a tremendous upset take place as Derby Junction beat Blackburn Rovers at the famously sloped Arboretum Field, Derby. Unfortunately the club folded eight years later, but their historic cup run lives on in football heritage.


1888 – Derby County were one of the 12 founding members of the Football League.


1899 – Glossop North End entered the First Division. To this day, Glossop is the smallest town in England to have had a club play in the top flight.


1900 – The Senior Challenge Cup was abolished and replaced by four cup competitions based on Derby, Erewash, Chesterfield and High Peak districts.


1904 – The introduction of compulsory education in 1880 led to the organisation of schools football teams. Derbyshire FA’s Derby Boys team, with 12 other associations, formed the England Schools FA.


23rd April 1912 – The Senior Challenge Cup was reintroduced, with Derby County and Glossop North End contesting the final which was won 4-1 by the Rams.


August 1914 – The world was at war. On the advice of the FA, Derbyshire FA carried on as normal, following the example of the Football League and FA Cup which were played through the first season of World War One. 906 players and 870 club members from Derbyshire had enlisted within the first few weeks of hostilities.


1915 – FA guidelines for playing football in 1915/16 were that matches could be played so long as they were not for cups, medals, or other rewards. The FA Cup and Football League were suspended.


1915 – The annual meeting of 1915 passed a resolution that ‘in view of there being no competitive football next season owing to the continuance of the war, that all positions should for the time being, be honorary.’ Fees for clubs and referees to register were halved.


1918 – Football was beginning to return as normal and as a gesture towards the many players that fought during the war, Derbyshire FA announced an amnesty on fines and suspensions.


1939 – Football, and the world, was heading into a new dark age. For the second time in a quarter of a century, war was on the horizon. Again, football in Derbyshire was restricted.


1946 – Derby County were the first side to win the FA Cup post-World War Two.


February 1947 – A Manchester Amateur League match between New Mills and Altrincham was stepped due to crowd trouble. The DCFA High Peak Committee heard that an Altrincham player was the first offender, as he had incited the crowd by throwing snowballs at them!


1966 – The Chesterfield Sunday League was formed.


1968 – The Alfreton & District Sunday League was formed.


January 1969 – Derbyshire FA moved into its own HQ at 1 Bridge Street, Derby.


July 1970 – The Long Eaton Sunday League was founded.


1971 – The Central Midlands Football League was formed.


1973 – The Derby Taverners League was founded.


September 1975 – Derbyshire FA HQ moved to Friar Gate, Derby.


22nd September 1983 – Derbyshire FA celebrated their centenary year.


1984 – Matlock Town FC won the 100th edition of the Derbyshire Senior Challenge Cup.


1991 – Gresley Rovers become the first village team to play at Wembley Stadium, in the FA Vase Final.


3rd September 2002 – Derbyshire FA moved to its current HQ on Millennium Way, Pride Park.


9th February 2010 – Derbyshire referee Amy Fearn became the first woman to referee a Football League match.


2011 – Walking Football was created in Chesterfield by John Croot.


2020 – Football was suspended until further notice due to Coronavirus.


19th April 2023 – Buxton FC won the Derbyshire Senior Challenge Cup, after the competitions three-year hiatus due to the pandemic.


20th August 2023 – Derbyshire-born Millie Bright becomes the first woman to lead an England team out in a World Cup final.


22nd September 2023 – Derbyshire FA celebrate their 140th year, proudly sponsored by Cawarden.