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Barnes Rugby Football Club, formerly known simply as the Barnes Club, is a rugby union club which is claimed by some sources to be the world's first and oldest club in any code of football.[1] The club, from Barnes in London, also played a major role in the early years of association football, and was one of the teams in the first ever game of football.


Early years

Accounts of the date that the club was formed are contradictory: club records give 1839,[2] while other accounts[3] give credit to eminent club member Ebenezer Cobb Morley, in 1858 or 1862. Its earliest recorded result was in November 1862 versus Richmond, played at Barn Elms. The club won that match and the replay that followed later in the year.

The Barnes Club was a founder member of the Football Association and Morley is often said to be the "father of The Football Association". On December 19, 1863, Barnes participated in the first ever match under FA rules, again against Richmond. It also competed in the first ever FA Cup and continued to do so through to the 1885-86 competition.[4] The first three secretaries of the FA were members of Barnes.

Of the "only and original" clubs forming the Football Association the Barnes Club alone has throughout the ages been an active and faithful member of The Football Association. This is a matter of historical fact. (Geoffrey Green, The History of The Football Association, The Naldrett Press, London, (1953); p.428.)

Modern era

For many years the club played at the Harrodian Club before moving to its Barn Elms location in 1987.

Barnes RFC first XV has been promoted eight times since being positioned in Surrey Division Three in 1987. The first XV will play 2009 / 2010 in the National Division 2 South league.


  1. ^ It is claimed that Barnes RFC was founded in 1839 but there is no actual evidence. If the claim is true, then Barnes is the world's oldest football club in all codes.
  2. ^ Inverdale, John: Telegraph article November 2, 2005
  3. ^ Butler, Bryon: The Official History of the Football Association, page X. ISBN 0-356-19145-1
  4. ^ Barnes at the Football Club History Database

External links

Coordinates: 51°28′30.28″N 0°14′13.03″W / 51.4750778°N 0.2369528°W / 51.4750778; -0.2369528



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