Football is a national sport in England and has an avid, dedicated fan base in this country. Having evolved from medieval ball games over the course of many centuries, it was eventually formalised during the 19th Century.
In fact, the first set of formal rules was set out in 1863. Although these rules have changed somewhat, they played an integral role in the establishment of today's formal, legal football laws.
View from North side of Wembley Stadium. View from Wembley Way.
The first written record of football being played (in some form) was penned by William Fitzstephen in approximately 1170 of our Common Era (CE). He described a scene in which even the elite would travel to watch teams of young men playing this ball game using only their kicking skills. By the 1500's, written records referred to formally organised teams and referees.
During the mid- to late-19th Century, football was flourishing as a sport in England. By 1900, there were about 40 formal football clubs in the country.
The sport was largely abandoned during World War I and II. Between those times, though, it flourished and developed in leaps and bounds. In 1923, the national stadium at Wembley was opened and the first FA Cup final played there.
This continues to be the national stadium for the Three Lions, as the English football team is affectionately known.
England boasts an impressive number of association football clubs, numbering over 40 000. It has achieved several world records and notable achievements. As at 2010, these included:
.The first national team .The world's oldest association football club (Sheffield FC) .The oldest national governing body (The Football Association) .The oldest national knockout competition (FA Cup) .The oldest national league (The Football League)
The Premier League is the top domestic league in the country and is one of the richest sports leagues in the world. In 1992, the Premier League season started with 22 teams. However, three years later, FIFA insisted that this be reduced to 20 teams. From this time on, Manchester United dominated the football front. In 1999, Manchester United won the Premiership, FA Cup and UEFA Champions League; a unique and startling accomplishment.
Other major football teams in England include Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal. Football players are esteemed as celebrities in England. They and their partners are frequently snapped by the paparazzi, their images splashed across tabloids all over the world. This is a fairly new culture and fad within the sports industry, one in which English football players have been suddenly and blatantly thrust.
Although England is part of the United Kingdom (also comprising Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland), the national football team represents the country as an independent entity, even in international competitions. England won the FIFA World Cup. in 1966, a feat which only a handful of other national teams have ever been able to accomplish. As a nation, England maintains it outstanding record in the world of football and sporting accomplishments.