By now most of us are very frustrated by the lock-down, hearing all about it basically every time we turn on the TV, but believe it or not there might be something positive about it after all. Yesterday it gave me the time to clean and clear out our club storeroom. While I was carrying everything out to give the floor a good sweep, I noticed the fold-up goal posts, and this got me thinking about how and when the first goal post came into existence.
Well to begin with, the history of goal posts started during the age of the Chinese Emperor Ch’eng Ti by erecting bamboo poles with a silk net stretched between the poles to form a goal.
The doorways of two forts were used as goals for a game arranged between the servants of the Duke of Albemarle and the King in 1681, and the players had to attempt to score by kicking the ball through the doorways.
Two upright poles were used with nothing between them as goals in the 17th century and later tape was attached to the top of each upright and stretched across the width of the goal. Trees and houses in the background were also used as goals prior to 1800s and players could use their hands to throw the ball into imagery goals.
In the early 1800s Joseph Strutt describes the goal structure as two sticks driven into the ground two or three feet apart. The Cambridge rules was that when a ball is kicked through the flag-post and under the string it was a goal. Then came the Eton rules stating the goal poles had to be 7 feet out of the ground and the space between the poles 11 feet. A goal was only scored when the ball was kicked between the poles.
In 1983 goals consisted of two upright poles 15 feet apart and there was no crossbar with no height restriction for a goal.
The goal posts, as we know today, was originally designed in Britain, the English Football Association stated that the posts must be 8 yards apart and tape was used to join the tops of the posts in 1865. Nine years later a wooden crossbar replaced the tape at a height of 8 feet above the ground.
Up until 1920s the goals were square-shaped or round, it was J C Perkins of Standard Goals company in Nottingham who invented a much stronger elliptical shape goal. These goals were first used at the Nottingham Forest Club. There were many Scottish clubs that continued to use the square designs for many years, but the elliptical bars and post soon became the favourite around the world.
Goal post were made from wood, preferably Douglas Fir wood up until the 1980s. Recent years a lighter aluminium or steel goals have become popular.
So, next time you bring your kids to football training at First Touch and you see the goals, at least we all know a bit more about them.