Top 10 Active and Oldest Football Clubs in the World

In the pulsating World of football, where the roar of the crowd and the thrill of the match capture the hearts of millions, lies a story untold – the tale of endurance and passion of the oldest football clubs in the world.

These venerable institutions are not just teams; they are living, breathing entities that have stood the test of time, witnessing the evolution of the beautiful game from its humble origins to the global phenomenon it is today.

In this captivating exploration, we go deep into football history’s annals to unveil the World’s Top 10 Active and Oldest Football Clubs. Each club in this list is a custodian of history, a testament to the unyielding spirit of this sport, and a beacon for generations of fans and players alike.

From the hallowed grounds of England to the historic pitches of Italy, these clubs have survived and thrived, weaving their narratives into the fabric of football.

Oldest Football Clubs in the World

Let’s go on this remarkable journey, tracing the lineage of these legendary clubs. Discover their origins, revel in their glories, empathize with their struggles, and celebrate their triumphs. It is not just a list; it’s a homage to the pioneers of football, an ode to those who laid the foundation for what we cherish today as the World’s most beloved sport.

Top 10 Active and Oldest Football Clubs in the World

1. Sheffield FC – Founded in 1857, Sheffield FC is recognized by both FIFA and The Football Association as the World’s oldest football club playing association football.

2. Hallam FC – Established in 1860 in Sheffield, England, Hallam FC is the second-oldest football club. The club still plays at Sandygate Road, which is recognized as the oldest football ground in the World.

3. Cray Wanderers FC – Founded in 1860, Cray Wanderers FC is based in Bromley, England, and is acknowledged as one of the oldest clubs.

4. Worksop Town FC – Established in 1861, Worksop Town from Nottinghamshire, England, is known as the “Tigers”. It’s one of the oldest clubs in the World still playing football.

5. Notts County FC – Founded in 1862, this Nottingham-based club is the World’s oldest professional association football club.

6. Stoke City FC – Originally established as Stoke Ramblers in 1863, Stoke City FC is known for its long history in English football.

7. Nottingham Forest FC – Founded in 1865, Nottingham Forest is renowned for its history and traditions in football, including winning the European Cup.

8. Sheffield Wednesday FC – Established in 1867, this club boasts a storied legacy, playing an integral part in the development and history of English football.

9. Kilmarnock FC – Founded in 1869, Kilmarnock FC holds the distinction of being Scotland’s oldest football club, with a substantial and influential history in the Scottish football scene.

10. Reading FC -Established in 1871, Reading FC is one of England’s most venerable football clubs, distinguished by its extensive history and notable contributions to the game.

What is the Oldest Football Club in History?

The oldest football club in history is Sheffield Football Club. Founded on October 24, 1857, in Sheffield, England, it is recognized as the World’s first and oldest football club playing association football. The club was established by members of the local cricket club seeking to stay fit during the winter months.

Sheffield FC played a significant role in developing and formalizing the rules of modern football. In 2004, the club was awarded the FIFA Order of Merit to recognize its historical importance in the development of the sport.

Despite not being a significant force in the professional tiers of football, Sheffield FC holds a unique and prestigious place in football history due to its status as the World’s oldest football club.

Is Wrexham the 3rd Oldest Football Club?

Wrexham AFC is indeed the 3rd oldest professional football club in the World! They boast a rich history dating back to 1864 when they were founded by members of the Wrexham Cricket Club seeking a winter sporting activity. It makes them a true pioneer of the beautiful game. 

Here’s why Wrexham holds this prestigious position:

  • Founded in 1864: This places them behind only Sheffield FC (1857) and Notts County FC (1862) regarding professional club status.
  • Rich Heritage: Wrexham played a crucial role in the development of football, participating in early friendlies and cup competitions and becoming founder members of the English Football League.
  • Welsh Pride: They are also Wales’s oldest professional football club, holding a special place in the nation’s sporting history.

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Is Sheffield United Recognized as the World’s Oldest Football Club?

No, Sheffield United is not the oldest football club in the World. The title of the oldest football club in the World goes to Sheffield Football Club, founded in 1857. It’s essential to distinguish Sheffield Football Club from Sheffield United Football Club, which is a different entity.

Sheffield United Football Club was formed later, in 1889. While it is one of the older and more well-known football clubs, mainly due to its history in the English football league system, it is not as old as Sheffield Football Club.

Sheffield FC, recognized by FIFA as the World’s first and oldest football club, played a significant role in the development of association football and is celebrated for its historical importance in the sport.

Which Club is Recognized as the Oldest in the Premier League?

Nottingham Forest has a solid claim to the title of the oldest club in the Premier League based on their official founding date of 1865. Let’s delve deeper into the reasons why:

Uninterrupted Existence: Founded as Nottingham Forest Football Club in 1865, the club has maintained the same name and identity throughout its history. This unbroken lineage sets them apart from other clubs that may have faced mergers, name changes, or periods of non-existence.

EFL Recognition: The English Football League, the governing body for professional football in England and Wales, officially recognizes Nottingham Forest as the oldest active club in the Premier League. This formal recognition carries significant weight, as the EFL oversees the organization and history of professional football in the country.

Rich History and Legacy: Beyond their age, Nottingham Forest boasts a rich and successful history. They have won the English top flight once, the FA Cup twice, and the European Cup (now Champions League) twice. This string of victories showcases their sustained excellence and enduring contribution to the sport.

Continuous Presence in Top Tiers: Nottingham Forest has maintained a remarkable presence in the top tiers of English football throughout their history. They were founding members of the Football League in 1888 and have spent most of their existence playing in the top two divisions. This longevity further solidifies their place as a historical powerhouse in the Premier League landscape.

The modern game of association football, commonly known as soccer in some countries, was developed in England. While various forms of football-like games have been played around the World for centuries, the version of the game that we recognize today was codified in England in the 19th century.

The critical developments that led to the creation of modern association football include:

1. Codification of Rules: In 1863, the Football Association (FA) was formed in England, marking a pivotal moment in the history of football. This body established the first comprehensive set of rules for the game, differentiating it from other forms of football played at the time, like rugby football. The “Laws of the Game” formulated by the FA laid the foundation for modern soccer.

2. Standardization and Spread: Standardizing the rules in England was crucial in spreading the game worldwide. British workers, sailors, and colonists introduced the game to different parts of the World, leading to its global popularity.


Finally, the journey through the annals of football history, exploring the Top 10 Active and Oldest Football Clubs in the World, is more than just a chronological list; it’s a vivid tapestry of the sport’s rich heritage.

From Sheffield FC’s groundbreaking foundation in 1857 to the historic significance of clubs like Notts County, Stoke City, and Nottingham Forest, each club has uniquely contributed to the evolution of football. These institutions are not merely survivors; they are custodians of tradition, champions of continuity, and symbols of the enduring appeal of football.

Their stories reflect the sport’s growth from a local pastime to a global phenomenon, embodying the passion, community spirit, and resilience that are the heart of football. As these clubs have navigated societal changes, technology, and the sport, they have maintained their identity and legacy, endearing themselves to generations of fans.

This list is a testament to the timeless nature of football and its ability to connect us across centuries. It reminds us that while players, tactics, and leagues may change, the spirit and love for the game remain constant.

These clubs live narratives of football history, echoing the cheers, dreams, and triumphs of countless individuals who have found joy in this beautiful game. As we celebrate these oldest and most active clubs, we also celebrate the universal language of football and its remarkable ability to unite us across time and geography.


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