Top 10 oldest active professional football clubs in the world

The clubs in question are a living time capsule in some ways and and their existence and in some case excellence makes us appreciate the beautiful game even more.

With a lengthy and rich history, football is one of the most popular sports in the world. It all began in the middle of the 1800s, when the game changed from a recreational activity to a recognized, mainstream sport. The game has changed and developed since it captured the imagination of the common man in a number of ways, one of which is the application of technology. But the fundamentals of the sport haven't changed. 

A number of teams were formed during the mid-1850s and early 1860s in England as a result of the growth of football. Some of them went on to play professional football and top the list of oldest football clubs worldwide. Thus we take a deep dive into the history of some of the oldest institutions which have upheld the spirit of the game for maybe as long as the game has ceased to exist.

10. Queens Park (Scotland)

Queens Park (Scotland)
Credit - Queen's Park Football Club

The oldest football team in Scottish football history is Queens Park which is a Glasgow-based team. They are  the world's oldest team to  have been established outside of England and Wales in July 1867. For the first 152 years of their existence, the club was an amateur team. That was prior to a membership vote in November 2019 changing its status. Queens Park is an amateur team, but they have a long history. They have the third-highest total number of Scottish Cup victories (10). Additionally, they are the only team  from  the land of Scotts to have participated in an FA Cup final. They have also twice won the championship of Scotland's second-tier football division.

9. Nottingham Forest (England)

Nottingham Forest (England)
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Nottingham Forest is geographically based in West Bridgford, Nottinghamshire to be precise which was established in 1865. The former first division champions are among the most decorated teams in the nation's history. They have also won the Football League Cup and the FA Cup several times. Their greatest achievement, though, has been on the continental scene, where they are one of only four English teams to win the European Cup twice, in 1979 and 1980.

8. Wrexham (Wales)

Wrexham (Wales)
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Founded in October 1864, Wrexham, a Welsh football team based in Wrexham, is one of the oldest in the professional pyramid currently in league 1  at the moment. The team has been a powerhouse in their various domestic competitions and has an impressive haul  including the Football League Trophy and FA Trophy, and has won the Welsh Cup a total of 23 times.

Even though they wern't among the most prosperous teams in the UK up until very recently, Wrexham has achieved some noteworthy upset wins, defeating FC Porto in the 1984 European Cup Winners' Cup and Arsenal in the FA Cup in 1992. Actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney acquired the team through RR McReynolds Company LLC, and they have owned it since November 2020. It has seen a huge turnaround in their fortunes with some tipping them to even reach the Premier League sooner rather than later.

7. Brigg Town (England)

Brigg Town (England)
Credit - Brigg Town FC

Based in Brigg, Lincolnshire, Brigg Town is one of the oldest football clubs in the world, having been founded in 1864. Currently plying their trade at the ninth tier in the nation's football pyramid, they have won Northern Counties East League Division One which is a semi-professional English football league that they had got their hands on once, about a couple of decades ago in 2001.

6. Royal Engineers (England)

Royal Engineers (England)
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Based in Chatham, Kent, the Royal Engineers are the representatives of the Corps of Royal Engineers, a division of the British Army, which was established in 1863. The group is recognized for being one of the primary innovators of the passing game and for having a significant role in the early development of English football.

After finishing in the finals of three of the competition's first four seasons, Royal Engineers took home the FA Cup championship in 1975.

5. Stoke City (England)

Stoke City (England)
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One of the most well known teams in English football outside the top division, Stoke City is now a member of the EFL Championship, which is the nation's second-highest football league. Originally formed in 1863 as Stoke Ramblers, the team adopted the names Stoke Football Club in 1878 and Stoke City in 1925 and were also given the moniker of Stokelona
Pulis cavemen during their recent years.

The team from Stoke-on-Trent was one of the Football League's original 12 members in 1888. The team's lonly title to this day, the League Cup, was won in 1972.

4. Notts County (England)

Notts County (England)
Credit - Notts County

Notts County, an English football team which is based in Nottingham just like their counterparts from the Forrest, is currently in the fifth level. The club was one of the original members of the Football Association, which was founded in 1862, hence it predates the FA.

In the nation's top football league, Notts County has twice finished in third place, which is still their best league standing. Nonetheless, their most noteworthy accomplishment was when they lifted the FA Cup way back in 1894.

3. Hallam FC (England)

Hallam FC (England)
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Established in 1860, Hallam FC is a Sheffield-based outfit that competes at level 10 of the English football league system in the Northern Counties East League Division One. By winning the Youdan Cup, which was billed as the world's first football competition, in 1867, they cemented their place in the history books.

Sandygate Road, the oldest football field in the world according to the Guinness Book of Records, is the venue where the club plays its games and continues to carry on a legacy of over 100 years to this day.

2. Cambridge University (England)

Cambridge University (England)
Credit - University of Cambridge

The Football Association recognized Cambridge University's 1856 founding year with a plaque in 2006, marking the club's 150th anniversary and granting them with the bragging right to claim the title of oldest football team in the world.

This is a  team which is currently competing in the Midland 1A of the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS), the organization that oversees university sports in the UK, represents the University of Cambridge.

1. Sheffield FC (England)

Sheffield FC (England)
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Sheffield FC, which is at the moment playing at level 7 of the English football system (the Northern Premier League Division One), was established in 1857 and holds the distinction of being the oldest football club by FIFA. Cambridge University AFC refutes this assertion, pointing out that Sheffield FC did not adopt the new FA rules until 1878.

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