Google Doodle Celebrates 187th Birth Anniversary Of Ebenezer Cobb Morley: “Father Of Modern Football”
Google today celebrates the birth anniversary of Ebenezer Cobb Morley, referred to as the father of modern football, with a doddle. A British by birth, Ebenezer Cobb Morley was a founding member and the first secretary of the Football Association or FA in 1863.
FA is the oldest football body of the world and is credited with creating the rules and shaping modern football. FA is based in Wembly Stadium in London and administers the game in England.
Ebenezer Cobb Morley was born in Hull and left the city at 22. He shifted to Barnes in 1858 founding the Barnes Club. As a captain of the club, Ebenezer Cobb Morley wrote to Bell’s Life newspaper proposing an association to govern football. This led to a meeting of all football clubs in England at the Freemasons’ Tavern, which created FA.
As captain of Barnes Football Club, the lawyer saw the potential of the game and recognised the need for proper rules and a governing body akin to that operating out of Marylebone Cricket Club, outlining his plans in a letter to the sporting paper Bell’s Life of London. He also contacted the nation’s most prestigious public schools for support, but was rebuffed.
Undeterred, Morley convened a meeting at the Freemason’s Tavern in Holborn on 26 October 1863 – a historic gathering attended by representatives from such future giants of the sport as Blackheath, Perceval House, Kensington School, the War Office, Crystal Palace, the Crusaders, Charterhouse and No Names of Kilburn.
The Football Association (FA) was born, with Morley serving as its first secretary and later president.
His original draft of 23 rules included a provision allowing players to “hack the front of the leg”, a controversial line that one FW Campbell of Blackheath felt was essential to promote “masculine toughness”. Another adherent suggested that without hacking tackles, “you will do away with the courage and pluck of the game, and it will be bound to bring over a lot of Frenchmen who would beat you with a week’s practice”.
The divisive law was eventually cut (Roy Keane must never have got the memo) and the finalised version was published in the FA’s December 1863 pamphlet, Laws of the Game.
These rules were adopted across London and, subsequently, the rest of the country, followed by the wider world.
He was known for drafting thirteen rules famously known as “ Laws of the game”. He was responsible for turning brutal football into a beautiful game.
He became FA’s first secretary in 1863 and second president in 1867. He had served on Surrey County Council for Barnes (1903–1919) and was a Justice of the Peace.