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Norwich City fan marks birthplace of football with artistic masterpiece

PUBLISHED: 08:05 12 May 2018 | UPDATED: 08:05 12 May 2018

The artwork to commemorate the Cambridge Rules. Picture: CAMBRIDGE RULES 1848

The artwork to commemorate the Cambridge Rules. Picture: CAMBRIDGE RULES 1848

Archant

It is the place where the beautiful game was born.

The artwork to commemorate the Cambridge Rules. Picture: CAMBRIDGE RULES 1848The artwork to commemorate the Cambridge Rules. Picture: CAMBRIDGE RULES 1848

And now a Canaries fan has commemorated the sacred place where it all started with an artistic masterpiece which pays tribute to the first ever written rules of football.

Lifelong Norwich City fan Alan Ward joined forces with fellow artist Neville Gabie in 2014 to work on a landmark to honour the little known Cambridge Rules.

Until 1848, players simply made the rules up as they went along – until a group of colleges in Cambridge decided to lay down some common ground rules.

They differ a little from today’s hefty referee’s manual, as they allowed players to stop the ball with their hands and even forbade kicking balls that had passed them from the direction of their own goal.

The artwork to commemorate the Cambridge Rules. Picture: CAMBRIDGE RULES 1848The artwork to commemorate the Cambridge Rules. Picture: CAMBRIDGE RULES 1848

But it remains one of football’s most historically important moments, as it is the first written record of rules which have since evolved into the global phenomenon that the sport is today.

“It was a significant moment in the development of football,” said Mr Ward.

“It is remarkable to think that from those rules, football has become a global legend.”

To mark the significant moment, Mr Ward and Mr Gabie were commissioned to produce the £115,000 project on the piece of ground where the rules were first drawn up on Parker’s Piece, in Cambridge.

The artwork to commemorate the Cambridge Rules. Picture: CAMBRIDGE RULES 1848The artwork to commemorate the Cambridge Rules. Picture: CAMBRIDGE RULES 1848

They have created nine tall pillars bearing the famous Cambridge Rules in different languages.

To mark the global reach of football, five of the pillars will be stationed around the world in locations such as Shanghai and Rio, while the other four will remain in Cambridge.

“We wanted to take parts of the sculpture elsewhere to show how football is played around the world,” said Mr Ward.

And to mark his own Canaries allegiance, the 53-year-old draped a Norwich City scarf across the top of the artwork ready for its unveiling on Saturday, May 12.

The artwork to commemorate the Cambridge Rules. Picture: CAMBRIDGE RULES 1848The artwork to commemorate the Cambridge Rules. Picture: CAMBRIDGE RULES 1848

The project has been funded from Section 106 money contributed by developers to community art projects.

“Through this commission, we’ve come across everyone from Porto fans in a Portuguese quarry and futsal players based in a Brazilian favela to Galatasaray fansin a Cambridge school,” said the artists.

For more information about the project, visit www.cambridgerules1848.com


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