It`s impossible to tell when the very first game of football took place although the game`s governing body FIFA will tell us that some form of organised matches were held in China around the year 2 BC. Prior to that it`s extremely likely that the concept of kicking a spherical object as part of a game has existed for many centuries.
What we do know is that football has grown at a rapid pace over the last 150 years or so to become the global phenomenon that we love to watch today and that every single league and competition arose from very humble beginnings.
Football`s major growth period took place in England in the mid 19th century at a time when the sport was commonplace among the public schools and fledgling clubs. The main issue was the lack of a centralised set of laws and therefore, the first defining point came in 1848 when the universal `Cambridge Rules` were drawn up and adopted around the country and beyond.
Fifteen years later in 1863, the Football Association was formed and the original panel included some famous clubs that exist to this day including Sheffield United, Notts County and Aston Villa. For the first time, those clubs were playing for the English league title.
Within ten years the most famous cup competition in the World was born as the 1871-72 season saw clubs compete for the FA Cup for the very first time. Once again, these were humble beginnings for a tournament where the final was held at the Kennington Oval but in the years that followed, crowds grew as the game enjoyed a boom in popularity.
After a worldwide break for the First World War, football returned and the 1920`s saw a period of rapid growth across the globe. In 1923, Wembley Stadium opened the turnstiles for the very first time to welcome West Ham United and Bolton Wanderers in the FA Cup final of that season.
With league and cup competitions now taking place all over the world, the start of the next decade saw another major landmark for the sport as a whole. In 1930, the first official World Cup tournament took place in Uruguay but like every other stage in football`s development, the first event was a slightly subdued affair.
Many of the leading countries in world football decided not to travel to South America for this new tournament. England were one of the notable absentees and it wasn`t until 1950 when the event could truly be called a `World Cup`.
This particular competition saw England join up with the rest of the world to compete and from this point, the tournament has grown to become the major highlight in the global footballing calendar. Moving forward to the present day, football is watched by tens of thousands of spectators and millions more are watching the major games at home on TV. Virtually every game in the world can now be seen live via a television or a computer and the sport is enjoying unparalleled success.
If you`re attending a match at any of the football stadiums across the world then you`ll take your seat among thousands of fellow viewers but it`s worth pausing to remember how far this game has come from those humble beginnings.