Football has been played for centuries in various nations but it was brought to England in the 11th Century. By the 15th and 16th Centuries it was banned because of the damage suffered by the players but also because it interfered with the practice of archery which was vital for the defence of the country.
In public schools football became a recreational sport with each school playing their own rules which were developed by the pupils.
In Rugby School, Warwickshire the boys played on grass with a pig’s bladder encased in leather as a ball. The rules were that the ball was not to be handled unless the ball was airborne in which case it could be caught. The catcher could then either kick the ball or place it on the ground to kick it over the crossbar between the posts to score a goal. No one could move until he had passed the original spot where he caught the ball.
During the mid 1920s instead of standing still the boys would run with the ball in their arms to the opponent’s goal line. By the 1940s this was commonplace.
When the boys left rugby school they invariably took the game with them and soon clubs began to spring up all over England.
In 1870, when it became apparent a variety of rules were being played by different clubs, a letter was put in the newspapers calling for meeting to form a code of practice. It was January 26th in 1871 when more than 30 people attended from clubs and school and the Rugby Football Union (RFU) was formed. England being the founder Union made the Laws of the Game.
The Scottish formed their own Rugby Union in 1873, Ireland in 1879 and Wales in 18801.
The Wales versus England game is long awaited and tickets are always sold out months in advance. In the words of my father “a ticket to an England Wales game is rarer than rocking horse sh*t”. When England play Wales the rivalry is like no other, there is always a tense atmosphere built on passion, decades of history of playing the arch rivals and animosity. If you have ever been to the Millennium Stadium and experienced the passionate singing of the Welsh hymns and banter in the crowds then you will be aware of just how patriotic the Welsh are!
History tells us that big sporting events have a knock on effect to the housing market and with the Rugby World cup being held in England (OK with one match in Cardiff!) next year we could see more attention being paid to the Rugby than buying houses.
The market has recently reported falling property prices by the greatest amount ever recorded in a single month in every region in England, Wales however has seen a 0.2% climb in the same period!
Rightmove has reported that London homes are being marketed for sale for £30,000 less than they were a month ago and homes in other regions falling by an average of 3.3%, equivalent to £8,703. It’s a sign that the market could be cooling, although that is to be expected during December.
The trend for 2015 is that prices will continue to rise across England and Wales, especially after the recent reduction of stamp duty2.
The Six Nations commences in 2015 with the England V Wales opening game on the 6th February at the Millennium Stadium, it remains to be seen who will be the winners.
However a few of us Welsh supporters here in our head office in England will be hoping that just like Wales’ rise in property prices while England’s decline, the Welsh team will beat England on the pitch!