Thanks to Billy Kidson - one of the founding members who lived into his 90s;
'The club was able to record that the first official game of a side representing Sunderland Football Club took place on that Boxing Day in 1873 against a ‘Pick-Up’ side. Pick-Ups were common, particularly in the early universities and colleges when interested parties turned up to play and sides were selected on the spot. The Times reported that the game was between Sunderland FC led by Mr C Kidson (Billy’s older brother) and a side chosen by Mr H P Kayll. It was seen as a lively contest and was not decided until the very last minute when Charles Kidson scored a try, which was converted into a winning and all-important goal by Mr J Laing junior. The report also suggested that there were ‘a large number of spectators’.
A month later, the newly founded Sunderland Echo re-affirmed the club’s recent foundation and its links to the cricket club by including the following with reference to the cricket club’s AGM;
"In the furtherance of athletics your committee have allowed the Football Club (recently formed mainly from among yourselves), the use of the ground and believe that the step will meet with the approbation of the club".
Billy Kidson also informed club archivist that although a man named James may have organised some rugby games in the town prior to Christmas 1873 there had been no formally organised club until then'. (From Keith Gregson's 150 booklet)
The photograph ( not of Sunderland sadly) is one of the earliest known and shows how players gathered to sort things out so on Tuesday - bring some old kit and a hat ( dutt!) so we can organise a quick game of touch between dutts and non dutts! We will also need at least one rugby ball and a whistle please. As in 1873 rules will be decided at the time. Happy Christmas everyone and lovely to see so many people looking at the site. Please scroll through the whole site, ask any questions or request any information on anything to do with the history of the whole club
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