Football Facts

Do you know where football was invented or which celebrity chef nearly went professional? Test your terrace trivia.

1970s football

Football was actually invented in China. First reports of the game can be found in writings dating from around 476 BC, when it was known as "cuju" and involved players kicking a leather ball through a hole in a piece of cloth. Recognisable football goalposts developed later as the game became standardised and professional players emerged.

Andrew Watson is a name that really should be better known, as he was the world's first black international player. Born in British Guiana, he was a proper celebrity in the Victorian era, winning three caps for Scotland in the 1880s. He also became the first non-white player to feature in the FA Cup.

Ryan Giggs's real surname is Wilson and he's part African. His dad, Danny Wilson, is a half-Welsh, half-Sierra Leonean rugby professional who used to play for Wales. Giggs took his mother's maiden name when his parents split up.

Founded on November 5th 1875, Blackburn Rovers owes its name to its lowly beginnings. The team lacked an official ground for quite some time after its formation, causing them to be dubbed the "Rovers".

Famous figures who were almost footballers include Gordon Ramsay (who was scouted by Rangers but turned to cooking after a knee injury), crooner Julio Iglesias (who played for a Real Madrid youth team before a car crash ended his career), and the legendary philosopher Albert Camus, who was a goalie for his university team before TB ended his professional hopes. He later said, "what I know most about morality and the duty of man I owe to football."

Only three teams have won the FA Cup without conceding a single goal during the entire competition. Don't expect to see any footage though. The teams were The Wanderers, who won it in 1873, Preston North End in 1889, and Bury in 1903.

Aston Villa was actually founded by cricketers. It was in 1874 that players from Villa Cross Wesleyan Chapel cricket team got together to discuss how to keep fit during the winter months. They saw a football game being played on a meadow close by and decided it was the perfect solution.