The Oldest Football Clubs in Yorkshire 

21 June 2024

When was the last time you visited a local sporting event? Yorkshire has some of the biggest football clubs on earth, and it also has some of the longest-running. Our local Harrogate Town AFC was formed way back in 1919, yet compared to some, it is fairly young. Below, we discuss the origins of the oldest football clubs in Yorkshire.

Sheffield Wednesday

The Wednesday Football Club was founded in 1867 as a branch of the cricket club. However, the exact date is in dispute, with newspapers of the time citing both the 4th and 5th of September. The team qualifies as one of the oldest surviving football clubs in the world. Wednesday were inaugural champions of one of Britain’s first leagues, the Football Alliance, in 1889.

Since then, they have never dropped below the top two tiers of English football. However, it has been a long wait for Sheffield Wednesday to make a return to the top, having been relegated in 2000. Having been in the Premier League at its 1992 formation, the club and fans are yearning for the glory days they once had. Most of the football betting sites UK-wide have them well outside the rankings for promotion, preferring hometown rivals Sheffield United as the more likely option.


The exact date of formation for Middlesbrough FC is vague, though the year is most definitely 1876. An industrial town just on the border of the North Yorkshire coast, they are the 12th oldest league club in the UK. Like Sheffield Wednesday, they were founders of the Premier League in 1992.

However, there have been plenty of near misses in which Middlesbrough Football Club almost ceased to exist. In their early days, they swung from professional to amateur status. They have had some legendary players in their time, including Brian Clough, and were managed by Jack Charlton. Despite this, the eighties were financially tough, and they almost went into liquidation before being bought by current chairman Steve Gibson. This led to a heyday in the nineties when they had several high-profile purchases like Juninho and Ravenelli.

Middlesbrough are currently favourites for promotion, and home fans yearn for them to be back in the betting on EPL games. Experiencing a return to form under Michael Carrick, it can’t be long before the team is back in the top flight.

Doncaster Rovers

Doncaster Rovers date back to 1879. They were formed by a fitter at the Great Northern Railway Works, who put together a team to play against the Yorkshire Institute for the Deaf. In their early years, Doncaster Rovers switched between playing in the Midland League and the Football League.

One of their oddest accolades is being involved in one of the longest matches of all time. Playing against Stockport County in a cup tie, the game ended at 2-2. This resulted in two extra halves of 10 minutes, which yielded no result. The rule was that play must then continue until one team scored. 203 minutes were reached before the game was stopped. It was even rumoured many of the spectators went home for dinner and then returned.

Many other clubs have lengthy pedigrees in and around Yorkshire. Always support your local team, as they need the money in these lean times, and you can also watch some great local sports while you do it.

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