£830 pledged of £67,500 goal
backers
£830 pledged of £67,500 goal
backers

About

Some of the media we've featured in...
Some of the media we've featured in...

In association with...

 

And in support of global initiative Common Goal, whose members include Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata...

 

Football is the planet's most popular sport, with over 2.6 billion people playing it, and over 3.5 billion people watching it - but millions of those people won't know the story of how the game started, developed, and spread across the globe to become the international behemoth it is today. 

Meanwhile, billions of football fans will be entirely unaware of the game's first ever entertainer, Fred Spiksley.

An addicted gambler, womaniser and German POW escapee, Fred would share the stage with Charlie Chaplin and be chased along the touchline by the future Queen of England. 

  • ONE OF OUR TOP REWARDS: Play on the pitch at the home of the current Premier League champions, Chelsea F.C.
Our top reward lets you play in an 11-a-side game on the pitch at Stamford Bridge in May 2018!
Our top reward lets you play in an 11-a-side game on the pitch at Stamford Bridge in May 2018!

THE FILM:

We're telling the story of how we got from HERE:

Fred Spiksley was the first player to score three goals for England against Scotland at Richmond Park on 1 April 1893
Fred Spiksley was the first player to score three goals for England against Scotland at Richmond Park on 1 April 1893

 ...to HERE:

Wembley Stadium, London
Wembley Stadium, London

 And from THESE:

 to THESE:

 

From THIS:

Old-school sponsorship
Old-school sponsorship

to THIS:

 

And from THIS:

Upcoming fixtures
Upcoming fixtures

 ...to hello, modern football:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fred's England Portrait
Fred's England Portrait

Interwoven with chronicling the birth and global expansion of football, we're also telling the first great working-class football story: the remarkable life of flawed football hero and genius Fred Spiksley, a man whose long-forgotten story has recently peaked the interest of national British media, across TV, radio, print and online.

  • Background: Clive Nicholson, who is part of the team, is Fred's great great nephew.

READ ABOUT FRED IN THE GUARDIAN 

Click the Guardian logo to read their take on Fred's life
Click the Guardian logo to read their take on Fred's life

 

 At his peak, Fred was the quickest winger in England; he was a player with such ability that he was able to take his club and country to the pinnacle of football during an era where his slender frame did not suit the rough treatment that was often meted out to him. Even with two broken ribs, he had the pluck and tenacity to remain on the field and score the winning goal in an epic FA Cup tie at Olive Grove, the ground where he made his name, 'the Olive Grove Flyer'. 

He scored over 300 career goals and won every major honour in the game, and holds the record for the highest goals-to-game ratio of any winger in the history of English football. 

His fame extended around the World as he became the first professional footballer to coach across three continents. In Europe alone, he managed the Swedish national team and guided 1FC Nuremberg to the German Championship in 1927. Football presented Fred Spiksley, a small lad from the backstreets of Lincolnshire, with a lifetime of adventure. 

Fred shared a stage with a young Charlie Chaplin
Fred shared a stage with a young Charlie Chaplin

He would share the stage with Charlie Chaplin, escape from a German prison in 1914 and be chased along the touchline by the future Queen of England. An addicted gambler and womaniser, Fred Spiksley’s character meant that he was not always the hero off the pitch that he was on it. In 2017 Spiksley was voted by Sheffield Wednesday supporters into their greatest ever team for a ‘Dream Scene’ mural that was specially commissioned to celebrate the 150 year anniversary of the club.

LISTEN TO FRED BEING TALKED ABOUT ON BBC RADIO 5LIVE

Co-author of Flying Over An Olive Grove: The Remarkable Story of Fred Spiksley, football historian and one of our team, Mark Metcalf, joins Colin Murray on BBC Radio 5live to discuss Fred's life and book.

 

WATCH FRED'S STORY BEING TALKED ABOUT ON ITV TELEVISION NEWS

Co-authors of Flying Over An Olive Grove: The Remarkable Story of Fred Spiksley Clive Nicholson and Mark Metcalf appear on ITV News to talk all things Fred. 

Click the ITV News logo to watch the news report
Click the ITV News logo to watch the news report

 

   

AND MUCH LESS RECENTLY - WATCH FRED ON PATHE NEWS

This is Fred giving the world's first ever recorded football tutorial...

SOME OF OUR REWARDS WOULD MAKE GREAT CHRISTMAS PRESENTS

As well as helping to support Juan Mata's Common Goal, pledging to our campaign gets you some great rewards and/or Christmas presents for football-loving friends and family:

  • ENGLAND BOOT SIGNED BY SIR BOBBY CHARLTON
Comes with an official certificate of authenticity
Comes with an official certificate of authenticity
  • ENGLAND FOOTBALL SIGNED BY SIR BOBBY CHARLTON: RETRO LEATHER
Comes with an official certificate of authenticity
Comes with an official certificate of authenticity
  • COLOURISED ENGLAND 1966 PHOTO SIGNED BY HURST, PETERS, CHARLTON, COHEN & BANKS
Comes with an official certificate of authenticity
Comes with an official certificate of authenticity
 

SOME OF THE TEAM

TOM WATT: Our Story Consultant, Tom is an actor, writer, broadcaster and author of nine books, including the ghostwriting of David Beckham’s autobiography, My Side, which won a special prize at the British Book Awards. You can read Tom's Wikipedia page by clicking on his image.

 

JAMES LONGMAN: Our Associate Producer, James is a huge West Ham fan and the Emmy Award-winning Producer of The Late Late Show with James Corden. You can see James’s IMDb page by clicking his image.

 

 

CLIVE NICHOLSON & MARK METCALF: Clive and Mark (one of Britain's leading football historians) are the co-authors of Flying Over an Olive Grove: the Remarkable Story of Fred Spiksley. Here they are, in October 2017, on Sheffield Live TV talking about the book and Fred's life.

JAMES DICKENS: Our Associate Producer, James is a Spurs season ticket holder and Head of Yahoo Sport.

THE FRED SPIKSLEY BOOK REVIEWS - WHAT THE CRITICS SAY:

"A life with more twists and turns than a Lionel Messi dribble"
"A life with more twists and turns than a Lionel Messi dribble"

WHAT THE READERS SAY: 

Click on the image to read reader reviews on Amazon
Click on the image to read reader reviews on Amazon

 

 

Risks and challenges

Our biggest challenge is how do we produce a great documentary about early football with a relative paucity of moving images to help tell the story? The simple answer is a) we produce a presenter-led film which sees us visit historical places of interest, and b) we get super creative and resourceful with the plentiful still images we have, which includes some of the oldest football photographs in the world, some of which are being exclusively colourised for the film.

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    Play on Chelsea FC's pitch! On the afternoon of Sunday 20th of May 2018, play at Stamford Bridge in an 11-a-side game. A mystery celeb or two will also be playing. You also get signed copy of book, early access to film, and a producer credit.

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Funding period

- (28 days)