The Club of Pioneers: The First Football Clubs

Originally founded in 2013, the network was established to build the global tree of football history and to preserve the heritage of the grassroots game for the future


Sheffield FC Chairman Richard Tims on the Club of Pioneers

Why was the Club of Pioneers first founded?

We see part of our role as The World’s First Football Club, Sheffield FC, is to acknowledge other pioneers in the game, whether it be for achieving a new world’s first for football or establishing football in a country just as these pioneers have done. It’s an honour for Sheffield FC to be able to recognise the unique history of each of these clubs in football & to help gain media and fan exposure for their communities.

To date we have 15 clubs and countries involved in the project, stretching as far as New Zealand. The past few months the project has grown fast as we have  three new members including Fola Esch from Luxembourg, Odds BK from Norway and North Shore United from New Zealand – the first club from the Southern Hemisphere to join the project.

How has the reception been for Sheffield FC across the world when welcoming new members?

The reception has been fantastic. It doesn’t matter where we go the clubs are proud and grateful to be part of this unique project. Fans are often really keen to learn more about the history of Sheffield FC and how this project got started so we often give presentations and half time speeches to further educate fans on what we are trying to do for football. We’ve definitely made some friends and fans for life through the project.

What are your future plans for the network and how do you see it growing?

There are 196 countries in the world and we want to engage all of them with the Club of Pioneers. The project is largely European based at the moment and we are looking to expand this further. 2017 saw us welcome the first club from the Southern Hemisphere and later in the year we will be welcoming Savages FC from South Africa as the first African club. We’re also talking to clubs from South & North America plus Asia and we can only see the project snowballing from there. Soon fans across the world will know about football’s true heritage!

A living breathing, network of the oldest football clubs from each country. The Club of Pioneers was founded in 2013 by Sheffield FC, the first & oldest football club in the world. The oldest clubs can become members regardless of their status (pro or amateur) or playing level. The only requirement is they are the oldest (running) football club of their country.  The motto of the Club of Pioneers is: Integrity, Respect & Community.

View all Sheffield FC’s projects here