John Ness Dransfield was born in Penistone 1839, the son of John Dransfield, a Solicitor, was educated initially at Penistone Grammar School and became a Member of the Sheffield FC 1860-61, whilst completing articles with Smith and Burdekin of Sheffield. Eventually he joined his father to form Dransfield and Son. In 1906 he wrote ‘A History of the Parish of Penistone’ which included the following footballing insights:
SHEFFIELD FOOTBALL CLUB.
A banquet to the members of the Sheffield Football Club Team, which had the previous month brought the Amateur Cup to Sheffield, was held on the 18th of May 1904, at the King’s Head Hotel, Change Alley, Sheffield. Mr. W. Chesterman, one of the oldest members of the Club, in responding to the toast, referred at length to its history. He said it was forty years since he had first responded to that toast; that the Sheffield Football Club formed in 1856 or 1857 was absolutely the first such club in the country; they had no rules, and no other clubs to meet, so sides were chosen at first. Then Hallam started a club and matches were arranged, in which ” bull strength ” was the principal feature. He had memories of seeing in these matches the ball lying quietly, and groups of half a dozen butting each other like rams yards away. The idea was to charge ” if you could get a shot at him, whether near the ball or not.”
Sheffield Club provided the first provincial team to play in London, the match being played at Battersea Park. ” Knocking on ” was allowed, and every goal that was scored was knocked through, and many a fist found a nose. Still it was a pleasant match. (Loud laughter.) It was wonderful how the game had grown.
He remembered that when the Sheffield Club went to Nottingham and won, the team came back so elated that they tossed the ball up outside the old Wicker Station and kicked it all the way through the town and up to Sandygate, where the last member of the team lived. When in Sheffield in 1860-1, I was myself a member of the Sheffield Football Club and played in matches with Hallam and the Garrison — then, I believe, consisting of the Connaught Rangers, and a very lively team the Rangers had. If not the first, Mr. John C. Shaw, a native of Penistone, and who when a boy was a clerk in my father’s office, and for many years past has been one of the oldest and best-known Conservative agents in the Kingdom, was one of the first captains of the Sheffield Football Club; and just previous to my joining Mr. John Marsh, a native of Thurlstone, had been captain. Mr. Nathaniel Creswick was captain when I was in the Club, and David Sellars, the old Sheffield huntsman, one of the players. 1 first saw and played with the large footballs now in use when at the Royal Institution School, Liverpool, in 1853-4-5, and when at Windermere College, also in 1855. https://archive.org/details/historyofparisho00dran
My book 'A History of Sheffield Football 1857-1889: Speed, Science and Bottom' is available to purchase at Sheffield Waterstones and the club shops at Sheffield FC and Hallam FC or online at my website : http://bit.ly/2qYw0r0