Buckingham Palace hosts its first football match

The BBC's Nick Witchell: "The first fully competitive match staged in the grounds"

Related Stories

Buckingham Palace has held its first official football match to mark the Football Association's 150th anniversary.

The competitive fixture was the idea of FA president the Duke of Cambridge.

London side Civil Service FC, the only surviving team of 11 that formed the FA on 26 October 1863, lost 2-1 against Polytechnic FC, set up in 1875.

Prince William had told the players that if anyone broke a window they would "answer to" the Queen.

At half-time, palace footmen and women - wearing waistcoats and tail-coats - carried water, orange slices and chocolate bars on silver-plated platters onto the pitch for the players.

During the second half, the prince and former England striker Michael Owen joined in a training session with royal staff.

'Real buzz'

The prince, who presented medals to 150 volunteers before the kick off, recognised the efforts of the founders of local clubs, coaches, referees and other officials at a reception to mark the FA's Grassroots Heroes Day.

The duke told the guests, who included FA chairman Greg Dyke: "Over its 150 years, football has remained a wonderful example of the power of community and of our ability to come together to organise and to enjoy a simple pastime."

Football match at Buckingham Palace The anniversary match featured two of England's oldest football clubs
Referee Howard Webb tosses the coin before the match Premier League referee Howard Webb officiated
Palace staff serve refreshments at half-time Palace staff served refreshments at half-time
Prince Williams trains with royal staff The prince also took part in a training session with royal staff
Kevin Standley, groundsman at Wembley Stadium, marks out the the lines of a football pitch in the gardens of Buckingham Palace Wembley groundsmen started to mark out the pitch last month
Football pitch in Buckingham Palace The ground had to be repaired after the summer's garden parties and Coronation Festival
Duke of Cambridge with volunteers at Buckingham Palace reception Some 150 footballing volunteers were recognised at a palace reception before the match

The Queen gave permission for the Southern Amateur League fixture to take place at the palace.

The duke joked: "Today we will be playing football on my grandmother's lawn. One warning, though - if anyone breaks a window, you can answer to her."

Wembley groundsman Tony Stones worked with royal household gardeners to create the 110 yards x 65 yards (100m x 60m) pitch in the 39-acre (16-hectare) garden.

The lawn had to be seeded in parts to repair wear and tear following a summer which saw the grounds host garden parties and the Coronation Festival.

Premier League referee Howard Webb, who officiated at the 2010 World Cup final match in South Africa, was in charge of the fixture.

Civil Service FC were selected to take part in the game and suggested that Polytechnic, who are also based in Chiswick, west London, would be fitting opponents.

Polytechnic FC manager Geoff Brown said: "We first played 120 years ago - so there's a fair bit of history between the two of us."

He added: "The organisation up to the day has been absolutely manic. It's only now we're getting the chance to soak it all up and get ready for the experience.

"It's only been this week that I was able to confirm that everybody in the first and second squads will be able to get to the game as well.

"So there's been a little bit of trepidation, with people not really knowing if they're going to be involved or not - but since Thursday everybody is really buzzing about it now.

"They all know they are going to be part of something very special."

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More UK stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • Arash AF8Naughty Brits

    From scrappy upstarts to legendary brands, six speed demons that hail from the UK

Programmes

  • A man taking a selfie with friendsClick Watch

    The apps to help you with selfies, plus other websites and apps reviewed

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.