Search begins for descendants of Lambeth man who helped establish the beautiful game


Arthur Pember was one of eight men who created the first 13 laws of football in 1863.


By Jacob Metcalf

A nationwide search is underway to find the descendants of a Lambeth man who helped establish the nation’s favourite game.

Arthur Pember is one of eight people who gathered at the Freemasons Tavern in London’s Covent Garden in 1863, where they created the first 13 laws of football.

Now in its 150th anniversary year, the FA is hoping to find the living desecendants of these men who founded the world’s most popular sport, and is calling upon the public to come forward with any information they have.

Jane Clayton, cultural historian from the International Football Institute, is leading the search for the descendants of those men who gave rise to the sport.

“This is an important historical search,” she said.

“We know so much about people who were pioneers in their chosen fields but surprisingly, little is known about the individuals responsible for gifting us the most popular sport in the world.”

The other seven founders, who came from all across the country, included Ebenezer Cobb Morley, Charles William Alcock, Francis Maule Campbell, John Forster Alcock, Herbert Thomas Steward, George Twizell Wawn and James Turner.

Ms Clayton said that through genealogical research and the public’s help, they are confident they can trace some of the living descendants of footballs founding fathers by October, which is when the anniversary celebrations will culminate.

The original 1863 FA Minute Book is currently on display at Wembley Stadium and contains the first laws of football 150 years ago.

Such is the books historical significance it has been labelled among the most important books of all time along with On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin and The First Folio by Shakespeare.

England manager, Roy Hodgson, added: “We should all recognise not only the sporting contribution that these men have made but the impact that football has had in this country and around the world.

“Football is part of the fabric of our society and without the vision of these eight men 150 years ago, it may not have come to exist.

“It is only right that we honour the founding fathers of this nation’s favourite game.”

Current England players are supporting the search and appealing for the public’s help.

Supporting the search and appealing for the public’s help, current England players led by captain Steven Gerrard, have helped create a video calling on fans throughout the country to get involved.

Living descendants that can be located will receive an invitation to a special ceremony to honour their ancestors at Wembley in October.

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