Ebenezer Cobb Morley

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Ebenezer Cobb Morley
Born (1831-08-16)16 August 1831
Kingston upon Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire, England
Died 20 November 1924(1924-11-20) (aged 93)
Resting place Barnes, England
Nationality British
Occupation Solicitor
Spouse(s) Frances Bidgood
Parent(s) Ebenezer Morley and Hannah Maria[1]

Ebenezer Cobb Morley (16 August 1831 – 20 November 1924) was an English sportsman and is regarded as the father of the Football Association and modern football.

Morley was born at 10 Garden Square, Princess Street[2] in Hull[3] and lived in the city until he was 22,[2] he moved to Barnes in 1858[3] forming the Barnes Club, a founding member of the FA, in 1862.[3] In 1863, as captain of the Mortlake-based club, he wrote to Bell's Life newspaper proposing a governing body for the sport, that led to the first meeting at the Freemasons' Tavern, that created the FA.[3]

He was the FA's first secretary (1863–1866) and its second president (1867–1874) and drafted the first Laws of the Game at his home in Barnes, this house, No 26 The Terrace, which had carried a blue plaque to Morley, collapsed "like a tower of cards" in November 2015 during building work.[4][5]

As a player, he played in the first ever match, against Richmond in 1863, and scored in the first representative match, between the clubs of London and Sheffield on 31 March 1866.

A solicitor by profession, Morley was a keen oarsman, founding the Barnes and Mortlake Regatta for which he was also secretary (1862–1880). He served on Surrey County Council for Barnes (1903–1919) and was a Justice of the Peace. Morley is buried[6] in Barnes Cemetery, a now abandoned graveyard on Barnes Common, Barnes. He had no children.[6]

The grave of Ebenezer Cobb Morley in Barnes Cemetery, with a wreath commemorating 150 years of the FA.


  1. ^ "Findings on Ebenezer Cobb Morley (1831-1924)". The FA. 
  2. ^ a b "Memorial to FA founder Ebenezer Cobb Morley". Hull Daily Mail. 6 February 2010. Retrieved 22 October 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d Butler, Bryon (January 2009). "Morley, Ebenezer Cobb (1831–1924)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 9 August 2009. (subscription required)
  4. ^ Marshall, Tom (26 November 2015). "House collapse in Barnes: Pop star Duffy's former London house caves in 'like tower of cards'". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 29 September 2016. 
  5. ^ Dyduch, Amy (14 May 2013). "Search for founding fathers of football proves fruitless". Richmond and Twickenham Times. Retrieved 29 September 2016. 
  6. ^ a b Rudd, Alyson (7 April 2008). "The father of football deserves much more". London: Times Online. Retrieved 1 May 2010.