HomeCreativeA Dickens of a Question!

A Dickens of a Question!


It could be a pub quiz question.

‘Who was William Sykes?’

Answer – NOT a villainous, bull terrier-loving character out of a Dickens novel!

 was a British manufacturer of footballs, and – according to records held in Germany – was the first to file a patent for goalkeeping gloves way back in 1885.

His idea would take another 60 years to catch on…

Another legend surrounding goalkeeping gloves involves a young Italian called Stefano ‘Stanno’ Andreotti, a leather tanner’s son who cost his team the game in Naples when the wet leather ball kept slipping through his bare hands on a rain-soaked pitch.

He designed a fingerless glove made from leather, with two crossed straps that fastened around his hands, later modifying the idea with twisted rope stitched to the outside for added grip.

He, too, was ahead of his time.

No-one knows quite when he came up with the concept, but in the 1960s his Stanno company began commercial production based on his original idea.

Oldest Club in the World?

And here’s another one for quiz lovers – who holds the record for the oldest football club in the world?

Sheffield can boast the title of the oldest association football club in existence. But NottsCounty are the oldest continuous league club…and therein lies a bone of contention that has been causing argument and controversy in pubs across the country for decades.

Sheffield joined the English Football Association in 1863, and are recognised by both the F.A. and FIFA as the world’s oldest club playing association football.

Their own rules are said to have influenced the FA themselves, including those on hand ball, free kicks, corners and throw-ins.

Division One’s NottsCounty, meanwhile, are the oldest club in the professional English League, heralded as pioneers of the modern game after becoming one of its founding members in 1888.

  • NottsCounty’s distinctive black and white kit is famous for being replicated by Italian team Juventus, who adopted the colours at the      turn of the 20th century.

So how did an English club’s strip end up gracing a top European side? It’s all down to a Nottingham entrepreneur, who – it is said – decided to ship a batch of NottsCounty jerseys to Turin in answer to a plea to replace the club’s existing pink shirts and black ties!

Nicki Williams is a sports correspondent for Gear-Zone, specialists in football, rugby, tennis, cricket and athletics sportwear and equipment and top brands such as Scarpa, Berghaus and Terra Nova.  Click here


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