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The History of Football Goal Posts

  • Two upright posts and a long wait for a cross bar
  • One hundred years later and its finally arrived in finished form
  • Starts with two jumpers on the ground
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Let’s have a look at the history of football goal posts. The modern football goal that we know of today has been through quite an evolution since football rules became a thing.

Introduction: The History of Football Goal Post

One of the earliest records to mention actual “posts” was in 1848, when the Cambridge Rules stated that a “goal” was when the ball passes between two upright poles. No mention was made of either height or width. Then moving forwards to 1863, the newly made Football Association drew up the actual dimensions of the goal. And the 24 feet between the post remains the same today as then. Unfortunately there was still no measure for the height. As you can imagine, this led to endless arguments during game play.

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In its natural habitat

That’s Called a Cross Bar

Fast forwards to 1872 and we can find that the string “cross bar” was replaced with tape for the FA Cup Final. And finally, 10 years later, the cross bar was made to be a compulsory feature of the goal. The rules stipulated that the height was to be set at 8 feet above terra firma. Unfortunately not everyone could read the rules. According to online sportsbook news, during the forth round FA Cup match, Kensington Swifts drew 2/2 with Crewe Alexandra. It transpired that one crossbar was lower, by a couple of inches, than the other. In the end, Crewe were declared the winners. And so our history of football goal post crawls forwards at a snails pace.

A Net Might Be a Good Idea

One thing is certain. It’s that the British really like to take their time. Lots of cups of tea. Cucumber sandwiches. And watching cricket. Though the height and width of the goal was now set, there was nothing in place to stop the football flying into the vegetable patch or through the kitchen window once a goal was scored. So, almost 20 years after devising the cross bar, a football net was introduced in 1891. It saw it’s first outing during the FA Cup Final of 1892. (I’m not sure if there was betting as there is today, but we’d be using Betsson). Up until this point there was no regulation on the profile of the upright post or cross bar. Some were square in profile and other round. A typical English mix and match. There were more important things at hand….like ruling India for example.

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The Naked Goal in all its glory!

Trust the French to Complain

During the European Cup Winner’s Cup of 1976, the goal post at Hampden Park caused considerable consternation. The match was between Saint Etienne and Munich. The former team were 1 – 0 down when the French mid-fielder Dominique Batheney made a break. Online sportsbook news from the UK explains that his shot beat the Munich goal keeper, Sepp Maier, but bounced off the square cross bar. A little while later, they experienced the same bad luck as a header from Jacques Santini fell to the same fate. Saint Etienne were to claim that the square crossbar had prevented the goals. They had a point. The French supporters called the goal post “les poteaux carrés” (the square posts), among other more colorful expletives. If you were a betting man, you probably suffered two heart attacks in a row. Today we’d recommend using Betsson.

The History of Football Goal Post: We Have Finally Arrived

No surprise, but it took the Brits another 10 years to finally ban square posts in 1987. Not that is matters if you score goals with your hand. Today’s football goals are of extruded aluminum or steel sections. To finally enter the modern age, FIFA now have goal line technology installed to put the final nail in the coffin of disputed goals. Though, of course they still make mistakes. Though nothing quite beats two school jumpers or coats thrown on the ground!

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