A Football Match at Newcastle-on-Tyne (lost footage of football match; 1896)

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Photo of the 1897 film Football, featuring Glentoran and Cliftonville practicing prior to a match.

Status: Lost

A Football Match at Newcastle-on-Tyne refers to a one-minute film recorded in October 1896 by English film pioneer Robert William Paul. According to several film and sports historians, it was the first known recording of a football match.


Robert William Paul's voyage into filmmaking began in 1894, when he discovered that there was no UK patent for the Kinetoscope.[1] He therefore deconstructed one of Thomas Edison's Kinetoscopes, working with Birt Acres to establish the Paul-Acres Camera in March 1895.[1] After the two split their partnership and competed against one another, Paul would establish the Theatrograph in February 1896, which would be critical towards the development of modern projectors.[1] Paul is defined by Who's Who of Victorian Cinema as having "extraordinary versatility", due to how he excelled within the invention, manufacturing, production, exhibition, and cinematography sides of filmmaking.[1]

Paul had also begun filming various sporting events, including the Epsom Derby and the Boat Race.[2][3] In October 1896, Paul made a one-minute recording of a football match occurring in Newcastle.[4][5][6][2] Very little is known about the match itself, with information surrounding the teams, the pitch they played on, and result being lost to time.[5] However, it has been declared by various sports film historians that the recording, described as A Football Match at Newcastle-on-Tyne, was the first known game of football to have been recorded.[4][2][5][6] The filmmaker's Animatograph Works company would later film the 1901 FA Cup Final Replay between Sheffield United and Tottenham Hotspur on 27th April, the film called The Football Final showing Spurs claiming its first Cup by winning the Replay 3-1.[4][6]


Ultimately, while the 1901 FA Cup Final footage survived, A Football Match at Newcastle-on-Tyne was not so lucky.[4][2][5][6] No fragments nor images of the encounter are known to still exist.[4][5][2][6] The oldest surviving film about football was recorded by Alexandre Promio in 1897.[7][5][2][4][6] Titled Football, it featured two teams, confirmed to be Glentoran and Cliftonville, practicing prior to a game.[2][5][4][6] The oldest surviving footage of an actual football match was filmed on 24th September 1898 by Arthur Cheetham, which featuring a First Division clash between Blackburn Rovers and West Bromwich Albion.[4][5]



Colourised footage of Glentoran and Cliftonville practicing prior to a match.

Footage an 1898 First Division match between Blackburn Rovers and West Bromwich Albion.

Footage of the 1901 FA Cup Final.

See Also