Filmed by Sky, CNN and the BBC, a group of our children from Years 7, 8 and 9 attended a memorial service at Barnes Common Cemetery in honour of the FA’s Founder Ebenezer Morley. This was followed by a commemorative football game, attended by various FA dignitaries and BBC Sports presenter and professional footballer Gary Lineker, at Barn Elms between RPA’s and Christ’s School’s Year 11 football teams, each side wearing kit in the colours of the original teams (RPA's team pictured below in red with Gary Lineker).
FA Chairman, Greg Dyke, commented: “Today is a fitting final act of The FA’s 150th anniversary and a magnificent example of how far the game has come. Throughout the year we have celebrated The Football Association’s rich heritage and looked to the future through the wonderful array of grassroots initiatives The FA and its County FAs help to run.
“All year we have been celebrating 150 years of The FA, and of football, but none of this would have been possible without Morley. We all owe him a great debt. What he did to set football on its incredible journey to become the only true global game was a truly remarkable achievement. Today, as we draw the 150th anniversary celebrations to a close, it is only right we pay tribute to him.”
Today’s football match is an historic date that marks exactly 150 years since the first game was played using the laws created by Morley. On 19 December 1863, the Barnes and Richmond clubs played out a goalless draw at Limes Field. It was therefore an honour for our children to have been invited to take part in a match that saw Christ School win 3 - 2.
Gary Lineker said: "Before today I had no idea that Barnes played such a part in football history. I don't live far away and it's a special feeling to imagine just what it would have been like, the first organised game of football 150 years ago.
"Ebenezer Cobb Morley was laid to rest here as well, so it is only right that The FA honours this site today – it is a place of great importance to everyone who loves football. The game we now know that captures the imaginations of so many around the world all grew from here."
Jack Costello, RPA’s Head of PE and a member of the senior leadership team, concludes: “Our students were thrilled to have taken part. We are passionate about sport at Richmond Park Academy and we strive to ensure our children get the best opportunities; and what better than to play in a game at Barn Elms where it all began for The FA exactly 150 years ago today. All played extremely well and it was an exciting and close game.”