Corinthian F.C.

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Full nameCorinthian Football Club
Dissolved1939; 85 years ago (1939) (merged with Casuals F.C. to form Corinthian-Casuals FC)
GroundQueen's Club
Crystal Palace
The Oval

Corinthian Football Club was an English amateur football club based in London between 1882 and 1939.[1] Above all, the club is credited with having popularised football around the world,[2] having promoted sportsmanship and fair play, and having championed the ideals of amateurism.[3]

The club was famed for its ethos of "sportsmanship, fair play, [and] playing for the love of the game".[4] Corinthian Spirit, still understood as the highest standard of sportsmanship, is often associated with the side. This spirit was famously summed up in their attitude to penalties; "As far as they were concerned, a gentleman would never commit a deliberate foul on an opponent. So, if a penalty was awarded against the Corinthians, their goalkeeper would stand aside, lean languidly on the goalpost and watch the ball being kicked into his own net. If the Corinthians themselves won a penalty, their captain took a short run-up and gave the ball a jolly good whack, chipping it over the crossbar."[5] Among others, Real Madrid were inspired to adopt Corinthian's white strip, while Sport Club Corinthians Paulista in Brazil and Zejtun Corinthians in Malta adopted their name.


Within twenty years the Corinthians were to become the greatest and most attractive team that football had then known. With an intelligent nonchalance and in their tailored shirts and well-cut shorts they brought a quality and culture to the game.[6]

The club was founded on 28 September 1882 by Nicholas Lane Jackson, Assistant Secretary of the Football Association.[1] At that time, football was still amateur, with the English game dominated by southern clubs. In international football (which had not yet spread beyond the home nations), Scotland prevailed,[7] having won three consecutive matches over England by scores of 5–1, 6–1 and 5–4.

Jackson attributed Scotland's success to "the greater opportunities our opponents over the border [have] of playing together", and aimed to counteract this by forming a club "composed of the best amateur players in the kingdom".[7][1] In order to accomplish this aim, Corinthian F.C. took care to avoid playing matches on Saturdays (when players might be playing for other clubs). The first proposed name for the club was the "Wednesday Club", but this was changed to the "Corinthian Football Club" on the suggestion of Harry Swepstone.[7]

From the outset, Corinthian supplied large numbers of players to the England football team. During the 1880s, the majority of England caps were awarded to Corinthian players[1] and, for two England matches against Wales in 1894 and 1895, the entire team consisted of members of the club (a feat achieved by no other club, before or since).[1]

The Corinthian team of 1896–97

Given that the club's constitution declared that it should "not compete for any challenge cup or any prize of any description"[8] the team originally only played friendly matches. An exception was later made for the Sheriff of London Charity Shield, for which they competed nine times between 1898 and 1907 (winning three), before the match was replaced in the calendar by the FA Charity Shield.[9]

The club would have been strong contenders for the era's honours had they entered major competitions — shortly after Blackburn Rovers beat Queen's Park in the 1884 FA Cup Final, the Corinthians beat Blackburn 8–1.[1] In 1889, it was written that Corinthians was the only amateur club "which might be pitted against [inaugural Football League champions Preston North End] with any reasonable hope of success".[10] In the 1904 Sheriff of London Charity Shield against Bury (who had beaten Derby County 6–0 in the 1903 FA Cup final), Corinthian won 10–3.[1]

The Corinthian F.C. team that toured North America in 1906

Corinthian began competing in the FA Cup from the 1922–23 season.[11] They also competed in the 1927 FA Charity Shield against FA Cup winners Cardiff City, losing 2-1 at Stamford Bridge.[12]

Honorary distinctions[edit]

Among many others:

Notable players[edit]

Notable players who have played for Corinthian FC. include:[17]


The club's foreign tours are also credited with having popularised football around the world; they were the first club to take the sport outside Europe;[1] the 2000 and 2012 FIFA Club World Champions, SC Corinthians Paulista, are named after the club (indeed, Charles Miller, considered the father of football in Brazil, played for the club in 1892),[20] and the 2015 FIFA Club World Champions, Real Madrid, wear white to this day in their honor.[21]

Their tours included South Africa, Canada, the United States, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Spain, Denmark, Holland, Austria, Sweden, Switzerland, Brazil, Ireland, Jamaica and Germany.

During 'The Split', the 1907–1914 dispute about professional clubs being admitted to membership of the country Football Associations, Corinthian F.C. pledged its allegiance to the Amateur Football Alliance, as did Oxford University and Cambridge University. Corinthian therefore, banned from playing top home opposition by The FA, increased the frequency of their foreign tours; "Corinthian FC had little option but to concentrate on their [footballing] missionary work overseas and of the 131 matches played before 'The Split' was resolved in January 1914, 72 were played abroad".[1]

The club played at various venues including the Queen's Club,[22] The Oval, and the old Crystal Palace. On 12 April 1939, the Corinthians played their last match.[1] They merged with Casuals F.C. to form a new club, Corinthian-Casuals F.C.


Sheriff of London Charity Shield: 3

England international players[edit]

In all, Corinthian FC had 86 England Internationals (the most of any club), 16 England captains (the most of any club), 12 Welsh Internationals, 8 Scottish Internationals and 2 Irish Internationals.

Many players played for Corinthian as a secondary club while playing for another primary club. The 17 players[23] listed below are those that had Corinthian FC as their principal club:[24]

Danish international Nils Middelboe played for Corinthian after finishing his career with Chelsea.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Cavallini, Rob (2007). Play Up Corinth: A History of the Corinthian Football Club. Tempus Publishing. p. 99. ISBN 978-0-7524-4479-6.
  2. ^ Cavallini, R. (2007). Play up Corinth. Stroud: Stadia, p.7.
  3. ^ Taylor, D.J. (2006). On the Corinthian Spirit. Yellow Jersey Press. p. 50. ISBN 9780224075855.
  4. ^ Minto, Peter (2013). The Flying Sportsman: A Biography of FNS Creek. Memoirs Publishing. p. 41. ISBN 978-1-86151-030-3.
  5. ^ Lacey, Josh (2005). God is Brazilian. Charles Miller: The Man Who Brought Football to Brazil. Tempus Publishing. p. 71. ISBN 0 7524 3414 4.
  6. ^ Grayson, Edward (1955). Corinthians and Cricketers. Yore Publications. p. 24. ISBN 1-874427-71-2.
  7. ^ a b c Corbett, B. O., ed. (1903). Annals of the Corinthian Football Club. London: Longmans, Green, and Co. pp. 3–5.
  8. ^ Taylor, D.J. (2006). On the Corinthian Spirit. Yellow Jersey Press. p. 50. ISBN 9780224075855.
  9. ^ Corbett, B. O. (ed.). Annals of the Corinthian Football Club, page 159. LONGMANS, GREEN, AND CO. Retrieved 27 January 2017.
  10. ^ Arthur Budd, "The Effect of Professionalism", in Vassall, Harry (1889). Football: the Rugby Game. London: George Bell & Sons. p. 48.
  11. ^ "Football Club History Database - Corinthians". Archived from the original on 17 June 2021. Retrieved 28 April 2022.
  12. ^ "Corinthians Beaten by Cardiff City". The Times. 13 October 1927. p. 6.
  13. ^ "No Bom Retiro, em 1910, Começa Esta História" [At the Good Retreat in 1910, This Story Begins]. Folha de S.Paulo (in Portuguese). 12 May 1976. Archived from the original on 2 November 2013. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
  14. ^ Rowley, Christopher (2015). The Shared Origins of Football, Rugby, and Soccer. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 184. ISBN 978-1-4422-4619-5.
  15. ^ Sutherland, Adam (2013). Andrew Watson. Hammersmith: Collins. p. 2. ISBN 978-0-00-749855-0.
  16. ^ Williams, Jean (2019). "'We're the lassies from Lancashire': Manchester Corinthians Ladies FC and the use of overseas tours to defy the FA ban on women's football". Sport in History. 39 (4): 395–417. doi:10.1080/17460263.2019.1678068. hdl:2436/622883. S2CID 210354805.
  17. ^ Cavallini, Rob (2007) Play Up Corinth: A History of the Corinthian Football Club. Tempus Publishing. p. 99. ISBN 978 0 7524 4479 6.
  18. ^ Collins, Mick (2006). All-Round Genius: The Unknown Story of Britain's Greatest Sportsman. Aurum Press. p. 46. ISBN 1 84513 137 1.
  19. ^ "Corinthian Casuals Player Profiles". Corinthian-Casuals Football Club. Archived from the original on 26 October 2018. Retrieved 28 November 2018.
  20. ^ Lacey, Josh (2005). God is Brazilian. Charles Miller: The Man Who Brought Football to Brazil. Tempus Publishing. p. 71. ISBN 0-7524-3414-4.
  21. ^ Heralta, Alvaro (29 May 2013). "Corinthian, the reason why Real Madrid dress in white". Real Madrid News. Archived from the original on 19 August 2016. Retrieved 20 July 2016.
  22. ^ McKelvie, Roy (1986). The Queen's Club Story, 1886-1986. Century Hutchinson. p. 54. ISBN 0-09-166060-2.
  23. ^ "England Player's Clubs". England States. Archived from the original on 5 March 2015. Retrieved 20 March 2015.
  24. ^ "Club Affiliations – Corinthians". Archived from the original on 17 June 2007. Retrieved 23 April 2007.

Further reading[edit]

  • Morris, Terry (2015). In A Class of Their Own: A History of English Amateur Football. Chequered Flag Publishing. ISBN 978-0-9932152-4-7.
  • Taylor, D.J. (2006). On The Corinthian Spirit: The Decline of Amateurism in Sport. Yellow Jersey Press. ISBN 9780224075855.