World of Sport

Football fan gifts world’s oldest season ticket back to club

World of Sport

What is believed to be the oldest season ticket in the world has been returned to Burnley Football Club.

The ticket dates from the 1884/85 season - four years BEFORE there was even a national league in England.

And how much did it cost to watch a single match back then? The equivalent of £1.50 in today's money. The cheapest adult ticket for a Championship match at Turf Moor today costs £22, while a current season ticket is around £455.

The ticket comes from only the third campaign in Burnley's history and was presented to the club by Burnley-born David Metcalfe.

David now lives in Bristol and could have made a fortune if he sold the piece of football history.

But he is still a fan of the Lancashire club and had no intention of cashing-in on the season ticket, or 'member's card' as it was known back then, that originally belonged to his great-grandfather Leonard, who actually played for the club.

"My father passed the ticket to me 25 years ago. He took me to the games," says David.

"My son, James, does not follow them so I thought the best place for the ticket to go was back to the club.

"People ask why I haven't sold it, as it’s likely to be valuable, but I don't think that’s right. It should go back home."

Burnley mainly played Lancashire clubs over the course of the 1884/85 season but also held games against Scottish clubs Cowlairs, Kilmarnock and Glasgow Northern at the turn of the year.

However, as Burnley FC historian Ray Simpson pointed out on the club's official website, not all the matches were so well attended.

"It was unfortunate that the matches coincided with a spell of arctic weather in the Burnley area and it appeared that many people preferred the attractions of the numerous local ponds that were frozen solid, providing a haven for ice skating enthusiasts," he said.

However, when the weather improved in March there "came a significant milestone along the Burnley FC road to success."

"Blackburn Rovers sent a full strength team to Turf Moor - and were soundly beaten 5-1, the first success by the Turfites against one of the strongest teams around at the time," writes Simpson.

"It was certainly a morale booster for the players, the Burnley Committee and the supporters as another season drew to a close with the prospects of major changes ahead."

The summer after the season finished was when the Football Association finally allowed football to become professional.

The game has never been the same since.

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