The Zulus

The Zulus

:"This article relates to an English football team. There are also separate articles on the African language and South African peoples."The Zulus were a short lived football team established in Sheffield, England that existed from 1879 to 1882. They were initially set up to raise funds for the wives and families of soldiers killed in the Zulu war. This is the first known instance of professionalism within the gamefact|date=February 2008.


Their first match was played at Bramall Lane against a Sheffield XI, which they won 5-4. Many of the players were taken from local teams, especially The Wednesday. They played in an all black kit and decorated themselves with beads and feathers. Instead of using their own names they also adoped Zulu names such as Ulmathoosi. After the success of the match they then started touring the country. [ The Sheffield Zulus] ]

The Zulus on tour

The tour started against Chesterfield. Before the match they toured the town in full costume. They subsequently also took on teams from Barnsley and a combined team from Nottingham and Derby. [ The Owl Historian] ] After it transpired that players were receiving payments for playing they were subsequently banned from playing in official matches. The situation became critical in Sheffield where the 1881 Wharncliffe Charity Cup final was cancelled because of the number of players banned for professionalism.Percy M. Young (1962), "Football in Sheffield", S. Paul] They subsequently also played in Edinburgh and had an offer to also tour South Africa. They never lost a match. However, they were forced to disband by the Sheffield F.A. in 1882.


After increasing pressure from players and clubs, professionalism was legalised by The Football Association in 1885. However, opposition remained stronger in the Sheffield area. Sheffield's first professional football club, the short lived Sheffield Rovers, was formed mainly from players of the former Zulus team. The Wednesday followed suit the next year.Keith Farnsworth (1982), "Wednesday", Sheffield City Libraries]


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