England 1-2 Scotland (lost footage of international football match; 1903)

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Photo of the match.

Status: Lost

On 4th April 1903, England hosted Scotland for the final match of the 1903 British Home Championship. Occurring in front of 31,789 at Bramall Lane, the visitors came from behind to win 2-1, ensuring they shared the Championship with England and Ireland. The encounter is historic for being the first international football match to be filmed.


Heading into the match, England had won its first two British Home Championships matches.[1] The team had defeated Ireland 4-0 on 14th February, before going on to beat Wales 2-1 on 2nd March.[1] Scotland had endured a mixed start; while the team beat Wales 1-0, they had also lost 2-0 to Ireland on 21st March.[1] On 28th March, Ireland defeated Wales 2-0, putting the team level on points with England at four, although the Three Lions had a game in hand.[1] England would become the sole champion providing they did not lose to Scotland on 4th April.[1] As for Scotland, a win was required to share the title with England and Ireland.[1] Aside from this, national pride was at stake with this match.[2] It would also mark the first time the two faced each other at Bramall Lane since 1883.[3]

Two films of the match are known to have existed.[4][5] One was recorded under the direction of Robert William Paul, a pioneer filmmaker who also filmed A Football Match at Newcastle-on-Tyne, which is the earliest known football recording.[6][4][5] Paul was especially proud of his England-Scotland film, calling it "The Last Great International Football Match".[6] According to Paul, his photographers successfully captured the three goals, the majority of key incidents, as well as the players entering the field and shots of the spectators.[6] First shown to the public on 11th April, the film itself was around 200 feet.[4][6] A second film was produced by Cecil Hepworth, another pioneer British filmmaker perhaps best known for the first film adaptation of Alice in Wonderland.[7][8][4][5] Less is known about this film aside from brief listings by the British Film Catalogue and Le Grimh.[4][8] These films are considered the earliest international football match recordings, with international games being a rare occasion back in the 1900s.[5]

Interestingly, the British Film Catalogue also states that another England-Scotland match was filmed on 14th March by Hepworth, the 150 feet film being showcased a week later.[4] It is notably not listed by Le Grimh, however.[8] If this film did exist, it is more likely it would have been from an amateur game, as no senior teams' encounter occurred on that date.[9] This would also predate the 4th April clash, although the British Home Championship encounter would still be considered the first film of a senior international match.

The Match

The match itself occurred on 4th April, in front of 31,789 at Bramall Lane.[3] England, having won the toss, was the more competitive team in the first-half as they played with the wind and sun behind them.[3] This enabled Vivian Woodward to score the opening goal after 10 minutes, by capitalising on a corner that Scotland goalkeeper John Edward Doig was deemed as having no chance of saving.[3] However, Scotland rebounded in the second-half, equalising courtesy of Finlay Speedie, who received a corner from Alexander Smith and shot the ball past England goalkeeper Thomas Baddeley after 57 minutes.[3] Two minutes later, the visitors were in front, another Smith corner allowing Bobby Walker to fire a sling shot into the net.[3] Scotland was also awarded a penalty, but Speedie ultimately failed to convert it.[3] From there, Scotland held on to claim victory, and ensure that they, England, and Ireland shared the Championship with four points apiece.[3][1] The Times summarised the game as a "very stubborn contest", but deemed that Scotland were the better side and deserved the win.[3]


Ultimately, neither of the two films are known to have survived, although some photographs of the match have resurfaced.[5] The oldest surviving official international match footage is believed to be a 1906 British Home Championship clash between Wales and Ireland, which ended in a 4-4 draw.[10][11] Additionally, an unofficial England-Ireland match was filmed in 1905, which was more of an inter-league match with players coming from various divisions, England winning 4-0.[12]



Footage of the 1906 match between Wales and Ireland.

See Also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 RSSSF detailing the 1903 British Home Championship standings. Retrieved 16th Nov '22
  2. BBC News detailing the England-Scotland football rivalry. Retrieved 16th Nov '22
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 England Football Online detailing the match and providing The Times report. Retrieved 16th Nov '22
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 British Film Catalogue listing the two films, in addition to Hepworth's 14th March recording. Retrieved 16th Nov '22
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 The Bioscope summarising the two recordings, and noting the earliest surviving international match film. Retrieved 16th Nov '22
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Le Grimh detailing "The Last Great International Football Match". Retrieved 16th Nov '22
  7. BFI Screenonline's profile of Cecil Hepworth. Retrieved 16th Nov '22
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Le Grimh listing Hepworth's films, including one England-Scotland recording (in the 1903 tab). Retrieved 16th Nov '22
  9. England Football Online noting the previous match England had was against Wales on 2nd March, disproving the idea the alleged 14th March film was about a senior England-Scotland encounter. Retrieved 16th Nov '22
  10. BBC detailing the oldest surviving international match footage between Wales and Ireland in 1906. Retrieved 16th Nov '22
  11. 11 vs 11 detailing the result of the 1906 Wales-Ireland game. Retrieved 16th Nov '22
  12. British Film Institute detailing the oldest surviving footage of an England team in a match. Retrieved 16th Nov '22