ENGLAND captain Steven Gerrard has applauded the inclusion of an Oxford student into the annals of history as the first man to lead the Three Lions.
Cuthbert Ottaway was in his final year studying classics at Brasenose College, when he became the first footballer to captain his country.
The match, played in Glasgow against Scotland on November 30, 1872, is regarded by sports historians as the first official international football fixture.
Ottaway, also an accomplished cricketer, is set to be included in the latest update of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
The biography dictionary contains thousands of biographies recording the lives of the men and women who shaped Britain over the last 2,400 years.
England’s World Cup captain Gerrard said: “I never knew Cuthbert Ottaway’s story before. He had the honour of being the first England captain and it is great that what he achieved is being recognised.”
England captain Steven Gerrard
Dr Curthoys, a research editor on the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, said: “Ottaway was well-known in his own lifetime as a sporting phenomenon. He can now be viewed in the longer term as one of the first generation to organise and play association football on the national stage.
“But having been celebrated by contemporaries as perhaps one of the most versatile sportsmen of his generation, he was to be forgotten for nearly a century.
“It is interesting how perspectives change,” said Dr Curthoys. “It was some time before international football achieved the standing it now enjoys and Ottaway did not play for one of the leading clubs.”
The match was featured in a series of engravings
As a cricketer, Ottaway was admired for his readiness to occupy the crease for hours on end. As a footballer, according to The Scotsman newspaper, he was capable of astonishing the spectators with some very “pretty dribbling”.
It turns out, however, that his claim to football immortality came about by chance as Dr Curthoys explains: “The FA agreed to send a team to Glasgow and, but for an injury, the association’s secretary C.W.Alcock would have led the England side. Ottaway stood in as captain for the historic fixture, played at the West of Scotland Cricket Ground. Although the match ended in a goalless draw, the forward play was appreciated by the crowd reckoned at 4,000.”
A SPAIN fan living in Oxford says she felt “humilitated” by her country’s early exit from the World Cup. The holders were beaten 2-0 by Chile on Wednesday to make qualification impossible.
It came after six years of success for Spain, following the European Championship victories in 2008 and 2012, sandwiching the 2010 World Cup win.
Veronica Saldaña from Headington, watched parts of the game at The Manor Hospital, where she works as a nurse, and the rest at home with her partner Alberto Casquero.
Miss Saldaña, 25, originally from Madrid, said: “It was awful and humiliating for us. It’s been a shock for everyone in Spain with what has happened.
They were destroyed and no-one understands what’s happened.”
Miss Saldaña is one of the Oxford Mail League of Nations fans, who were featured in the paper last Saturday.
- We are still looking for fans from Costa Rica and Honduras. Call 01856 425405.
Firms trying to do the business on the pitch
OXFORD businesses worked out their differences on the football pitch yesterday.
A total of 24 city firms put forward teams for the six-a-side, from British Gas to Critchley’s chartered accountants.
Rebellions Games on the attack against Holiday Lettings
It was organised by Oxford United, held at Oxford Brookes’s sport ground in Headington and featured a team of Oxford United Legends. The game raised money for Oxford United Community Trust.
Market research firm Nielsen, computer games designers First Touch Games and Chiltern Railways also showed their sporting talent.
Other teams were put forward by Unipart, Ignite Sport, Henmans Freeth LLP, Innoved, Withy King LLP, Amey, STL Communications, BT iNet, Motors.co.uk, Holiday Lettings, Rebellion Games, SEGA & Sports Interactive, M Group, Oxford Brookes University and Miele.
OXFORD City FC has made its way to Brazil in the form of football shirts being donated to the country’s poorest children.
Abingdon man Mark Heelis who coaches the club’s team with learning disabilities Oxford City Casuals, travelled to Brazil to give out 500 football shirts to international charity Kits4Causes.
Mark Heelis with football fans
Mr Heelis, 32, said: “The children over there don’t have much access to equipment. ”
Mr Heelis will be appearing on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, which airs from 6.30am to 8am today.
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