The garden at Buckingham Palace is being prepared for another milestone celebration. It is not a famous garden party hosted by Her Majesty, but a football match complete with a replica of the Wembley pitch.
Next month the two oldest English amateur clubs, Polytechnic FC and Civil Service FC will square off in a match to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the FA. Prince William, President of the FA, which is English footballs’ governing body, was granted permission by the Queen for a replica of the Wembley pitch to be constructed in the Buckingham Palace gardens.
“In our 150th year, it is hugely important for The FA to honour the efforts of the many thousands of volunteers who week in, week out, help to provide the opportunity for millions more people to enjoy football at grassroots level,” Prince William stated.
The match will be hosted by Prince William who will also award medals in tribute to 150 volunteers for their commitment and devotion to the sport. The volunteers receiving the medals have given their time and effort in the areas of refereeing, creating chances for players with disabilities and work in the creation of the women’s game.
The Wembley grounds crew has been hard at work marking out the lines of the pitch and working alongside palace gardeners to recreate the pitch. “When I first heard about it I thought what an exciting prospect, this is something we’ve never hosted before,” Palace gardens Manager Mark Lane stated.
The gardens have seen many events hosted in its history. “There’s been a boxing match back in the mid-1950’s but a football match is quite a unique opportunity to use the garden for a different event,” Lane added. Wembley’s Ground Manager Tony Stones’ crew is excited to take on the challenge. “This will be fine to play football on, it’s in good shape,“ Stones stated on Football.co.uk.
Ebenezer Morley formed the first club, Barnes FC in 1862. It was decided there needed to be a set of rules akin to what was set up for cricket, so in 1863 the Football Association (FA) was founded in order to set up rules and regulations. The first set of clubs included Barnes War Office which is now the Civil Service FC and is the only club in existence from the beginning in 1863.
Polytechnic F.C. began in 1875 as Hanover United. Polytechnic was the organisation that included many sports under the Polytechnic group name. It was the first club to use the word “United” as its team name.
Her Majesty will not be in attendance as she will still be on holiday at Balmoral.
photo credit: Royal Central