As football fever grabs the nation’s attention here we focus on the many connections that football and footballers have to Freemasonry.
The first rules of football were drawn up by the new Football Association at 6 meetings at the end of 1863 at the Freemasons’ Tavern on Great Queen Street in London, now the New Connaught Rooms next door to Freemasons’ Hall.
After the very first match under the new football governing rules way back in January 1864, a toast was drunk – how very Masonic in itself – to ‘success to football, irrespective of class or creed’.
There are a number of Masonic Lodges named after their famous teams – Anfield Lodge, No. 2215, Everton Lodge No. 823 and more recently the Football Lodge No.9921.
The Football Lodge was the brainchild of David Lallana, father of England star Adam Lallana. Members of the Lodge share their passion for the love of the game and through Freemasonry they hope to connect with the grass roots of the sport in the community.
Many famous players and managers have enjoyed the companionship of Freemasonry including:
Sir Alf Ramsey
Sir Alf played for a number of top flight teams including Southampton and Tottenham Hotspurs and later went on to manage Ipswich Town where he reigned for 10 years.
His most famous role (which needs no explanation) was to lead England to victory at the 1966 World Cup (Editor’s note; Good luck England 2018!)
He was initiated into Waltham Abbey Lodge No.2750, Hertfordshire, England on the 5 October 1953 at the age of 33
Don Revie played for several football teams including Manchester City from 1951 to 1956).
He then went on to managed Leeds United from 1961 to 1974) with whom he won the F.A. Cup in 1972 and the European Cup in 1973,
Don Revie became the manager of the England football team between 1974 and 1977.
He had been initiated into Leodiensis Lodge No.4029, in 1965.
Ron Greenwood started his playing career at Chelsea Football Club leaving for a brief spell to play for Brentford who he supported as a lad. He then returned to Chelsea before finally going to Fulham FC.
In July 1977 Ron Greenwood was appointed full-time manager of England ending his 15-year association with West Ham United.
Ron Greenwood became a Freemason in 1956 at the end of his final season as a player. He was a member of Lodge of Proven Fellowship, No. 6225
The blue colours of the Manchester City kit look familiar!
Manchester City Originally formed in 1880 and were then known as St Mark’s in West Gorton playing in red and black colours. In 1887 they then changed the club name to Ardwick – an area close to West Gorton.
However, it is reported that in 1894 the club found itself in financial hardship and had to be rescued from bankruptcy by the then club secretary, Joshua Parlby.
The club adopted the name Manchester City at the same time the Masonic colours of pale blue shirts and white shorts.
Because of the lack of detailed records, there is no irrefutable proof that either Parlby or his predecessor Lawrence Furniss (also thought to have been closely linked Freemasonry) were Masons, but Sidney Rose, lifetime president of the club and a director for much of the last 30 years, has no such doubts.
‘It’s always been my understanding,’ says Sidney, a member of the Old Mancunians’ Lodge, ‘that the real founders of the club became involved in 1894 when there was some sort of financial crisis, and that they were Masons, or certainly had close Masonic connections.
‘That was why they started playing in pale blue, the colours of Freemasonry.
Surrey Freemasons and football.
One lodge in particular – Old Palace Lodge No.7173 sponsors the shirts of a local youth team – Selsdon Junior FC which was founded in 1975. It is one of the most successful junior football teams in the county.
BUT DID YOU KNOW………..
Gareth Southgate started his junior playing days at the club!!!
It only remains to say…..