British Home Championship

The British Home Championship[a] (historically known as the British International Championship or simply the International Championship) was an annual football competition contested between the United Kingdom's four national teams: England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland (the last of whom competed as Northern Ireland starting from the late 1950s). Beginning during the 1883–84 season, it is the oldest international association football tournament in the world and it was contested until the 1983–84 season, when it was abolished after 100 years.

British Home Championship
Trophy British International Championship.svg
Founded1884
Abolished1984
RegionBritish Isles
Number of teams4
Last champions Northern Ireland (1983–84)
Most successful team(s) England (54 titles)

HistoryEdit

OverviewEdit

The first international association football match, between Scotland and England, took place in November 1872. Following that contest, a schedule of international matches between the four home nations gradually developed, the games taking place between January and April of each year. In 1884, for the first time, all six possible matches were played. This schedule (the climax usually being the England v Scotland fixture, the outcome of which was often pivotal in determining the champion) continued without interruption until the First World War.

Development of the international football calendar
Year England v Scotland Scotland v Wales England v Wales England v Ireland Wales v Ireland Scotland v Ireland
1871
1872 November
1873 March
1874 March
1875 March
1876 March March
1877 March March
1878 March March
1879 April April January
1880 March March March
1881 March March February
1882 March March March February February
1883 March March February February March
1884 March March March February February January
1885 March March March February April March

DevelopmentEdit

Recognition of the international season as constituting a single tournament came slowly. Early reports focused on the rivalries between the two teams in each match, rather than any overall title.[2] Talk of a "championship" began to emerge gradually during the 1890s,[3][4] with some writers suggesting the use of a league table between the nations, with 2 points for a win and 1 point for a draw (as had been in use for the Football League since 1888).[5][6] By 1908, we find a published list of "International Champions" extending all the way back to 1884.[7]

The championship, although increasingly recognized as such, had no official prize until 1935 (see below), when a trophy for the "British International Championship" was created in honour of the silver jubilee of King George V.[8]

The dates of the fixtures varied, but they tended to bunch towards the end of the season (sometimes the entire competition was held in a few days at the end of the season), except between the World Wars, when some fixtures were played before Christmas. The rise of other international competitions, especially the World Cup and European Championships, meant that the British Home Championship lost a lot of its prestige as the years went on.

However, the new international tournaments meant that the Championship took on added importance in certain years. The 1949–50 and 1953–54 Championships doubled up as qualifying groups for the 1950 and 1954 World Cups respectively and the results of the 1966–67 and 1967–68 Championships were used to determine who went forward to the second qualifying round of Euro 1968.

The British Home Championship was discontinued after the 1983–84 competition. There were a number of reasons for the tournament's demise, including it being overshadowed by the World Cup and European Championships, falling attendances at all but the England v Scotland games, fixture congestion, the rise of hooliganism, the Troubles in Northern Ireland (civil unrest led to the 1980–81 competition being abandoned), and England's desire to play against 'stronger' teams. The fate of the competition was settled when the (English) Football Association, swiftly followed by the Scottish Football Association, announced in 1983 that they would not be entering after the 1983–84 Championship. The British Home Championship trophy remains the property of the Irish FA, as Northern Ireland were the most recent champions.

The Championship was replaced by the smaller Rous Cup, which involved just England, Scotland and, in later years, an invited guest team from South America. That competition, however, ended after just five years.

Since then, there have been many proposals to resurrect the British Home Championship, with advocates pointing to rising attendances and a significant downturn in football-related violence. The Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish football associations are keen on the idea, but the English association are less enthusiastic, claiming that they agree in principle, but that fixture congestion makes a revived tournament impractical.

Therefore, the Scottish Football Association, the Football Association of Wales and the Irish Football Association, with the Republic of Ireland's Football Association of Ireland, pressed ahead and organised a tournament similar to the British Home Championship. The Nations Cup, between Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, was launched in Dublin in 2011. It was discontinued after one tournament because of poor attendance.[9]

Format and rulesEdit

 
Early example of a printed league table showing the final positions of the teams (Dundee Courier, 1895–96)

Each team played every other team once (making for a total of three matches per team and six matches in total). Generally, each team played either one or two matches at home and the remainder away, with home advantage between two teams alternating each year (so if England played Scotland at home one year, they played them away the next).

A team received two points for a win, one for a draw and none for a loss. From these points, a league table was constructed and whoever was top at the end of the competition was declared the winner. If two or more teams were equal on points, that position in the league table was shared (as was the Championship if it occurred between the top teams). In 1956, all four teams finished level on points and for the only time the Championship was shared four ways. From the 1978–79 Championship onwards, however, goal difference (total goals scored minus total goals conceded) was used to differentiate between teams level on points. If goal difference could still not separate them, then total goals scored was used.

TrophyEdit

Early editions of the tournament had no trophy. In 1935, a trophy was presented to King George V by the Football Association in recognition of the monarch's silver jubilee.[8] It was first awarded, as the "Jubilee Trophy", to Scotland, victors of the 1935–36 competition.[10] The trophy was of solid silver, consisting of a pedestal supporting a football surmounted by a winged figure. It bore the words "British International Championship".[8]

Notable momentsEdit

1902: Tragedy at IbroxEdit

The Scotland v England match of 5 April 1902 became known as the Ibrox Disaster of 1902. The match took place at Ibrox Park (now Ibrox Stadium) in Glasgow. During the first half, a section of the terracing in the overcrowded West Stand collapsed, killing 25 and injuring over 500. Play was stopped, but was restarted after 20 minutes, with most of the crowd not knowing what had happened. The match was later declared void and replayed at Villa Park, Birmingham.

1950: World Cup qualificationEdit

The 1950 British Home Championship was used as a qualification group for the 1950 FIFA World Cup, with the teams finishing both first and second qualifying. England and Scotland were guaranteed the top two places and World Cup qualification with one match to go, when the Scottish Football Association declared that it would only go to the 1950 World Cup if they were the British champions. Scotland played England at Hampden Park on 15 April in the final game and lost 1–0 to a goal by Chelsea's Roy Bentley. Scotland finished second and withdrew from what would have been their first-ever World Cup appearance.

1967: Scotland become ‘World Champions’Edit

The 1966–67 British Home Championship was the first since England's victory at the World Cup 1966. Naturally, England were favourites for the Championship title. In the end, the outcome of the entire Championship rested on the final game: England v Scotland at Wembley Stadium in London on 15 April. If England won or drew, they would win the Championship; if Scotland won, they would triumph. Scotland beat the World Cup winners 3–2. The match was followed by a large, but relatively harmless, pitch invasion by the jubilant Scottish fans, who were quick to waggishly declare Scotland the 'World Champions', as the game was England's first defeat since winning the World Cup. The Scots' joke ultimately led to the conception of the Unofficial Football World Championships.

1977: Wembley pitch invasionEdit

Again, the 1976–77 Championship came down to the final game between England and Scotland at Wembley on 4 June. Scotland won the game 2–1, making them champions. As in 1967, a pitch invasion by the overjoyed Scottish fans followed, but this time vandalism ensued: the pitch was ripped up and taken back to Scotland in small pieces,[11] along with one of the broken crossbars.[12]

1981: The unfinished ChampionshipEdit

The Troubles in Northern Ireland had affected the British Home Championship before, with things turning so hostile that Northern Ireland often had to play their 'home' games in Liverpool or Glasgow. The entire 1980–81 Championship was held in May 1981, which coincided with a large amount of civil unrest in Northern Ireland surrounding the hunger strike in the Maze Prison. Northern Ireland's two home matches, against England and Wales, were not moved, so both teams refused to travel to Belfast to play. As not all the matches were completed, that year's competition was declared void with no winner; only Scotland completed all their matches. It was the only time in the Championship's history, apart from during World War I and World War II, that it was not awarded.

1984: The final ChampionshipEdit

The Home Championships came to an end, with England and Scotland announcing that the 1983–84 British Home Championship would be their last. They cited waning interest in the games, crowded international fixture lists and a sharp rise in hooliganism for their decision. The final match of the Championship was held at Hampden Park between Scotland and England in which the winners of the game would win the final Championship. The match ended in a 1–1 draw, allowing Northern Ireland to win the Championship on goal difference after all the teams ended on three points each; Wales came second on goals scored.

List of winnersEdit

Where teams finished in a joint position, the level teams are listed in order of better goal difference.
Year Champions Second Third Fourth Topscorer Goals
1883–84   Scotland   England   Wales   Ireland   Harry Cursham 3
1884–85   Scotland (2)   England   Wales   Ireland   Joseph Lindsay 4
1885–86   Scotland (3) —   England   Wales   Ireland 4
1886–87   Scotland (4)   England   Ireland   Wales   Tinsley Lindley 6
1887–88   England (2)   Scotland   Wales   Ireland   Jack Doughty 6
1888–89   Scotland (5)   England   Wales   Ireland 3
1889–90   England (3) —   Scotland (6)   Wales   Ireland   Willie Paul 4
1890–91   England (4)   Scotland   Ireland   Wales   Olphert Stanfield 4
1891–92   England (5)   Scotland   Ireland  Wales 2
1892–93   England (6)   Scotland   Ireland   Wales   Fred Spiksley 6
1893–94   Scotland (7)   England   Wales   Ireland   John Veitch 3
1894–95   England (7)   Wales  Scotland   Ireland 2
1895–96   Scotland (8)   England   Wales   Ireland   Steve Bloomer (2) 6
1896–97   Scotland (9)   England   Ireland   Wales   Steve Bloomer (3) 4
1897–98   England (8)   Scotland   Ireland   Wales 3
1898–99   England (9)   Scotland   Ireland   Wales   Bob McColl 6
1899–1900   Scotland (10)   Wales  England   Ireland   Bob McColl (2) 6
1900–01   England (10)   Scotland   Wales   Ireland 5
1901–02   Scotland (11)   England   Ireland   Wales 3
1902–03   England (11) —   Ireland  Scotland (12)   Wales   Vivian Woodward 4
1903–04   England (12)   Ireland   Scotland  Wales 2
1904–05   England (13)   Wales   Scotland  Ireland   Charles Thomson 3
1905–06   England (14) —   Scotland (13)   Wales   Ireland 3
1906–07   Wales   England   Scotland   Ireland   Lot Jones 2
1907–08   England (15) —   Scotland (14)   Ireland   Wales 4
1908–09   England (16)   Wales   Scotland   Ireland 2
1909–10   Scotland (15)   England  Ireland   Wales 2
1910–11   England (17)   Scotland   Wales   Ireland   Grenville Morris (2) 3
1911–12   England (18) —   Scotland (16)   Ireland   Wales 3
1912–13   England (19)   Scotland  Wales   Ireland   Grenville Morris (3) 3
1913–14   Ireland (2)   Scotland   England   Wales   Billy Gillespie 3
1914–19 Not held due to the First World War.
1919–20   Wales (2)   Scotland  England   Ireland 3
1920–21   Scotland (17)   Wales  England   Ireland   Andrew Wilson 4
1921–22   Scotland (18)   Wales  England   Ireland 3
1922–23   Scotland (19)   England   Ireland   Wales   Harry Chambers 3
1923–24   Wales (3)   Scotland   Ireland   England   Willie Davies 2
1924–25   Scotland (20)   England   Wales  Ireland   Hughie Gallacher 5
1925–26   Scotland (21)   Ireland   Wales   England   Hughie Gallacher (2) 3
1926–27   Scotland (22) —   England (20)   Wales  Ireland   Dixie Dean 4
1927–28   Wales (4)   Ireland   Scotland   England   Alex Jackson 3
1928–29   Scotland (23)   England   Wales  Ireland   Hughie Gallacher (3) 7
1929–30   England (21)   Scotland   Ireland   Wales   Joe Bambrick 6
1930–31   England (22) —   Scotland (24)   Wales   Ireland   Jimmy Hampson 3
1931–32   England (23)   Scotland   Ireland   Wales   Tom Waring 3
1932–33   Wales (5)   Scotland   England   Ireland 3
1933–34   Wales (6)   England   Ireland   Scotland 2
1934–35   England (24) —   Scotland (25)   Wales  Ireland   Dally Duncan 3
1935–36   Scotland (26)   Wales  England   Ireland 2
1936–37   Wales (7)   Scotland   England   Ireland   Pat Glover 4
1937–38   England (25)   Scotland  Ireland   Wales   George Mills 3
1938–39   England (26) —   Wales (8) —   Scotland (27)   Ireland   Willie Hall 5
1939–45 Not held due to the Second World War.
01945–46[b]   Scotland   Ireland  England  Wales 2
1946–47   England (27)   Ireland   Scotland  Wales   Wilf Mannion 5
1947–48   England (28)   Wales   Ireland   Scotland 2
1948–49   Scotland (28)   England   Wales   Ireland   Stan Mortensen (2) 3
1949–50   England (29)   Scotland   Wales  Ireland   Jack Rowley 4
1950–51   Scotland (29)   England   Wales   Ireland   Billy Steel 4
1951–52   Wales (9) —   England (30)   Scotland   Ireland 2
1952–53   Scotland (30) —   England (31)   Wales  Ireland 3
1953–54   England (32)   Scotland   Ireland   Wales 3
1954–55   England (33)   Scotland   Wales   Ireland   John Charles (2) 5
1955–56   England (34) —   Scotland (31) —   Wales (10) —   Ireland (3) 2
1956–57   England (35)   Scotland   Wales  Northern Ireland 1
1957–58   England (36) —   Northern Ireland (4)   Scotland  Wales   Derek Kevan 2
1958–59   Northern Ireland (5) —   England (37)   Scotland   Wales   Bobby Charlton 3
1959–60   Scotland (32) —   England (38) —   Wales (11)   Northern Ireland (0) 2
1960–61   England (39)   Wales   Scotland   Northern Ireland   Jimmy Greaves 7
1961–62   Scotland (33)   Wales   England   Northern Ireland   Alex Scott 3
1962–63   Scotland (34)   England   Wales   Northern Ireland   Denis Law 5
1963–64   England (40) —   Scotland (35) —   Northern Ireland (6)   Wales   Jimmy Greaves (2) 5
1964–65   England (41)   Wales   Scotland   Northern Ireland   Jimmy Greaves (3) 4
1965–66   England (42)   Northern Ireland (0)   Scotland   Wales 2
1966–67   Scotland (36)   England   Wales   Northern Ireland 2
1967–68   England (43)   Scotland   Wales  Northern Ireland 2
1968–69   England (44)   Scotland   Northern Ireland (0)   Wales 3
1969–70   England (45) —   Wales (12) —   Scotland (37)   Northern Ireland 1
1970–71   England (46)   Northern Ireland   Wales   Scotland   Martin Chivers 2
1971–72   Scotland (38) —   England (47)   Northern Ireland   Wales   Peter Lorimer 2
1972–73   England (48)   Northern Ireland   Scotland   Wales   Martin Chivers (2) 3
1973–74   Scotland (39) —   England (49)   Wales  Northern Ireland 1
1974–75   England (50)   Scotland   Northern Ireland   Wales   David Johnson 3
1975–76   Scotland (40)   England   Wales   Northern Ireland   Mick Channon 3
1976–77   Scotland (41)   Wales   England   Northern Ireland   Kenny Dalglish 3
1977–78   England (51)   Wales   Scotland   Northern Ireland   Derek Johnstone 2
1978–79   England (52)   Wales   Scotland   Northern Ireland   John Toshack 3
1979–80   Northern Ireland (7)   England   Wales   Scotland   Noel Brotherston 2
1980–81 Abandoned due to civil unrest in Northern Ireland.
1981–82   England (53)   Scotland   Wales   Northern Ireland 1
1982–83   England (54)   Scotland   Northern Ireland   Wales 1
1983–84   Northern Ireland (8)   Wales   England   Scotland   Mark Hughes 2

Total winsEdit

Team Wins
total
Wins
outright
Shared
wins
  England 54 34 20
  Scotland 41 24 17
  Wales 12 7 5
  Ireland[c] 8 3 5

Players recordEdit

All-time top goalscorersEdit

Rank Name Team Goals
1   Steve Bloomer England 22
2   Hughie Gallacher Scotland 21
3   Jimmy Greaves England 16
4   Robert Hamilton Scotland 15
5   Vivian Woodward England 14
6   John Charles Wales 13
  Andrew Wilson Scotland 13
8   John Goodall England 12
9   Stan Mortensen England 9
  Billy Meredith Wales 9
  Grenville Morris Wales 9
  Dai Astley Wales 9
13   Nat Lofthouse England 8
14   Geoff Hurst England 7

Topscorer winsEdit

Rank Name Team Wins
1   Steve Bloomer England 5
2   Vivian Woodward England 3
  Hughie Gallacher Scotland
  Grenville Morris Wales
  Dai Astley Wales
  Jimmy Greaves England
  John Goodall England
  Nat Lofthouse England
9   Geoff Hurst England 2
  Dally Duncan Scotland
  Bobby Johnstone Scotland
  Bob McColl Scotland
  Robert Hamilton Scotland
  Martin Chivers England
  Stan Mortensen England
  John Charles Wales
  Bobby Charlton England

Managers recordEdit

Championship winsEdit

Rank Manager Wins Editions
1   Walter Winterbottom 7 1946–47, 1947–48, 1949–50, 1952–53, 1953–54, 1956–57, 1960–61
2   Alf Ramsey 6 1964–65, 1965–66, 1967–68, 1970–71, 1972–73
3   Peter Doherty 3 1955–56, 1957–58, 1958–59
  Ron Greenwood 3 1977–78, 1978–79, 1981–82
5   Ian McColl 2 1961–62, 1962–63
  Billy Bingham 2 1979–80, 1983–84

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Name of the Home Championship in the languages of participating countries:
    • Home International Championship, Home Internationals, British Championship
    • Irish: An Comórtas Idirnáisiúnta
    • Scots: Hame Internaitional Kemp
    • Scottish Gaelic: Farpais lìg eadar-nàiseanta
    • Welsh: Pencampwriaeth y Pedair Gwlad[1]
  2. ^ Unofficial edition, part of the Victory Internationals.
  3. ^ Competed as Northern Ireland from 1956–57 to 1983–84.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Cymru yn fyw ar S4C. www.sgorio.cymru. Retrieved May 28, 2021.
  2. ^ For example:
    • "Scotland v England". Leeds Mercury: 3. 7 April 1890. describes the decisive 1890 Scotland v England match only as the "last international match of the season".
    • "Friendly Matches: England v. Scotland". Lichfield Mercury: 3. 10 April 1891. describes the decisive 1891 England v Scotland match as a "friendly".
    • Hazell's Annual for 1892. London: Hazell, Watson & Viney. 1892. p. 276. Altogether England had an exceptionally successful season, winning all three matches, but especial care was taken that no chance of turning the tables on Scotland should be lost
  3. ^ "Scotland v. England". Sheffield and Rotherham Independent: 7. 4 April 1892. [O]n the result of the match in question the championship depended
  4. ^ "Nottingham and General". Nottingham Evening Post: 2. 7 April 1894. England and Scotland will meet on Saturday to play for the international championship
  5. ^ "Football". The Sketch: 44. 3 April 1895.
  6. ^ "Results of Previous Matches". Dundee Courier: 6. 6 April 1896.
  7. ^ Sport and Athletics in 1908. London: Chapman and Hall. 1908. p. 241.
  8. ^ a b c "British Home Championship Trophy, 1935". Retrieved 15 July 2019.
  9. ^ 4 Associations Tournament Announced for Dublin 2011 Football Association of Ireland, 18 September 2008
  10. ^ "Jubilee Trophy for Scotland". Western Daily Press: 4. 6 April 1936.
  11. ^ Herbert, Ian (9 November 2016). "England vs Scotland: Lou Macari reflects on the iconic 1977 Wembley win the Scots expected to lose". The Independent. Retrieved 20 September 2020.
  12. ^ "Wembley '77: when the Tartan Army descended on London and left with not just a famous win, but the goalposts too". BBC Scotland. 1 June 2018. Retrieved 20 September 2020.

External linksEdit