Author reveals how he discovered truth about Bolton Wanderers' historic first league goal (From This Is Lancashire)
Author reveals how he discovered truth about Bolton Wanderers' historic first league goal
AN author has revealed Bolton Library was “vital” in helping find out a Wanderers player scored the first ever Football League goal.
Mark Metcalf’s ‘The Origins of the Football League’ tells how Kenny Davenport had the honour of being the first scorer on its opening day on September 8, 1888 — and not Aston Villa’s Gershom Cox as first thought.
With The Football League being the first of its kind in the world, the discovery — which was made by sports writer Mark Metcalf and Robert Boyling from the British Library — effectively rewrote sporting history and cemented Kenny Davenport, who was also the club’s first England international, as a true football legend.
He used the library’s archives of the now-defunct newspaper The Cricket and Football Field to discover match reports and key information.
Mr Metcalf said: “There was just something that niggled away at me that what I had been told might not necessarily have been correct and I was pleased that Robert had a part in it because he was a huge help.
“I’m really looking forward to the event. The National Football Museum is a great place. They’ve put a lot of money into it and I’ve really enjoyed a lot of their recent exhibitions.”
Since the book was first published, Mr Metcalf has had interest from around the world in his findings.
He said: “A lot of people think, that’s such a long time ago, I’m not interested, but when you start to talk to them about it they become very interested in it because of the differences in the game and how it has changed.
“I have had a lot of letters from people telling me that I am wrong about certain things but that was something that I was fully expecting.”
When the league was first set up in 1888 there were no goal nets, no penalties and the game was officiated by two umpires who belonged to the opposing sides, something which often caused a lot of controversy.
Bolton are now looking to have a plaque put up at the site of their old ground, Pikes Lane, where the historic goal was scored.
Chairman of the Professional Footballers Association, Gordon Taylor, a former Trotters player, said at the time of the discovery that he would help the club commemorate the feat.
He added: “I’ve got really fond memories of Bolton Wanderers and it’s good to know a fellow Wanderers player scored the first goal.
“He was a local lad and a real Roy of the Rovers figure.”
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