They are a century-and-a-half old, but they set the tone for modern football, so the appearance in their home city yesterday of a copy of the Sheffield Rules was the sort of homecoming the game loves.
The document has gone on display at Sheffield Central Library, just 25, just yards from the former Adelphi Hotel, where it was written and where the Crucible Theatre now stands.
It is part of a Football Treasures exhibition, arranged as part of a growing initiative to market the city as the “true home of football”.
Its centrepiece is the FA Cup, displayed alongside several of the game’s oldest trophies and the ball with which Brian Deane scored the first goal in the Premier League, for Sheffield United against Manchester United in 1992.
Sheffield FC, which now plays in the Northern Premier League, is recognised as the oldest surviving football club. It continued to play under the Sheffield Rules until 1878.
Coun Mary Lea, the spokeswoman for culture and leisure at Sheffield Council, said: “It’s simply not right that so many people still don’t know about Sheffield’s role in creating the beautiful game as we know it.”