First Day of Football League Matches
The 8th of September 1888 AD
So many things have changed since the first day of Football League matches on September 8 1888. Let’s cite list just a few. There were only 12 teams in the league, of which 10 took part in games on the opening day; there were initially no points for draws, the table to be determined according to most wins with goal average - not difference - then splitting any tied teams (this was amended mid-season, with two points for a win and one for a draw coming in); and West Bromwich Albion , 2-0 victors over Stoke , would have topped the first table.
Some more cynical observers would note that most of the players had other jobs, making them of some real value to society – Fred Dewhurst of Preston North End (eventual title winners unbeaten all season), the scorer of the first goal in the correct end ( Aston Villa full-back Gershom Cox scored an own-goal minutes earlier) was a schoolteacher by profession; that all of the top 13 scorers in the league were English or Scottish; and that all of the sides were from Lancashire (six) and the Midlands.
For the record the results from the first day of the rest of our lives were:
Aston Villa 1 – 1 Wolverhampton Wanderers
Bolton Wanderers 3 – 6 Derby County
Everton 2 – 0 Accrington Stanley
Preston 5 – 2 Burnley
Stoke 0 – 2 West Bromwich Albion
Blackburn Rovers and Notts County didn’t play until later in the week.
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