Victorian Football

Arthur PemberArthur Pember was the first president of the Football Association, and an influential figure in the creation of the Laws of the Game. He was the captain of the Kilburn NNs (No Names) Club, and also captained one of the teams in the first official association football match, at Battersea Park in January 1864. His President's Side won 2-0. After the match, at a celebratory dinner, Pember raised a toast: 'Success to football, irrespective of class or creed.'

Pember acted as FA president until 1867. After that, he left football and England behind. Emigrating to the US, he worked as an investigative journalist for various New York newspapers. Known as ‘AP, The Amateur Vagabond’ due to his ploy of disguising himself as a tramp, he worked undercover in coal mines, prisons and circuses, and exposed corrupt politicians, spirit mediums and peep-show operators.

In 1874 he published a collection of his writing, The Mysteries and Miseries of the Great Metropolis, With Some Adventures in the Country: Being the Disguises and Surprises of a New-York Journalist. ‘I have submitted to many inconveniences and faced dangers while pursuing my adventures,’ he wrote, ‘but how could I possibly pen sketches from real life had I not been ready to do so?’

It's also worth noting that Pember had - even by Victorian standards - a quite remarkable moustache.

You can read more about Arthur Pember and his remarkable moustache in the Victorian Football Miscellany.

UPDATE: Pember's code: how Arthur shaped football's rules.

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