Where did it all start?
The sailor of the Royal Navy in the 19th Century was playing his game of football under rules and conditions drawn up to suit the occasion as well as for the physical benefit, as like other institutions. It is also true to say that whilst the game played by these institutions had some commonalities, each set about the game in their own way and did their own thing. Therefore on 26th October 1863 The Football Association was formed. It was not until 1907, some 44 years later, that the Royal Navy Football Association (RNFA) became an affiliated member, with a representative serving on its General Council.
The birth of the Royal Navy Football Association took place on the 13th January 1904 in the offices of The Southern Daily Mail, when a group of Royal Navy Officers met and agreed that an Association be formed for the Guidance and Government of Navy Football.
On the 9th February 1904 a second meeting was held at The Southern Daily Mail where the General Council was formed with Captain Spencer H Login Royal Navy became the first elected Chairman, with Reverend T Wood Robinson BA Royal Navy becoming the Secretary/Treasurer. Also at this meeting resolutions were passed inviting His Majesty the King, His Royal Highness The Price of Wales and the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty to become Patrons of the Association. Additionally that The First Sea Lord should be President and all Commanders-in-Chief and Senior Officers of Squadrons should be Vice Presidents. This was the last time a meeting was held at the Offices of The Southern Daily Mail, to mark the occasion and to acknowledge the friendship between the two organisations, the management of the Southern Daily Mail presented to the Royal Navy Football Association its first trophy - The Navy Cup.
Throughout the Royal Navy Football Associations history there have been many changes, not only to its own internal structure but also to the running of the sport on a National and International basis. It should not be forgotten that the game was played by Sailors long before the Football Association was founded, and it is true to say that the British Sailor was the games ambassador in all corners of the globe. This still continues to the present day, wherever our ships/units deploy there will always be a challenge to a game of football.