Friday, November 1, 2013

1 November 1906 - As Good As They Were, You'd Think They Could Have Gotten Paying Jobs

On 1 November 1906, England's national amateur team played their first game, beating France 0-15 in Paris.

As football in England began to shift from an amateur game to a professional one, the amateurs found places in the national team difficult to obtain. That, along with a desire by some to maintain the sport's original spirit, led to the formation of an amateur national side to complement the primary team.

Captained by Stanley Harris, who had six full internationals under his belt, the amateurs played their first match at the Parc des Princes against the senior French national team (who were playing just their fifth match themselves). England won 0-15, with seven goals from Harris and four from Vivian Woodward (pictured). S.H. Day added two more, with the remaining goals coming from J.E. Raine and P.H. Farnfield.

The match was not an outlier--the amateurs rattled off a string of seventeen consecutive victories, including equally lopsided wins over the Netherlands (12-2), Sweden (12-1), Belgium (11-2) and also served as the gold-medal winning British team at the 1908 Summer Olympics.

The amateur side lasted until 1974, when the FA stopped distinguishing between professionals and amateurs.

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