World’s oldest season ticket given back to Burnley FC after 129 years

Ryan Bailey
March 28, 2013

(Yahoo! UK)
(Yahoo! UK)

In 1884, Mark Twain published The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Harry S Truman was born and the cornerstone of the Statue of Liberty was laid.

In Lancashire, Burnley FC were in their second year of existence and it would be another four years until they were founder members of the world's first professional league. A young man named Leonard Metcalfe played as a winger and left-back for the club and was issued a members' card, the original iteration of the season ticket.

Fast forward 129 years and Mr Metcalfe's season ticket has now reappeared, perfectly intact. It was passed down to his great grandson David Metcalfe — who could have made a small fortune selling it — but he chose to hand it back to the club to be put on display.

(Yahoo! UK)
(Yahoo! UK)

Yahoo! UK has more detail:

"My father passed the ticket to me 25 years ago. He took me to the games," says David.

"My son, James, does not follow them so I thought the best place for the ticket to go was back to the club.

"People ask why I haven't sold it, as it’s likely to be valuable, but I don't think that’s right. It should go back home."

The season ticket would have cost the equivalent of £1.50 in modern money ($2.25). Today, a Burnley a season ticket at Turf Moor is around £455 ($690).

This is thought to be the oldest season ticket in the world, although a comment left on Yahoo! UK suggests the Liverpool museum has an Everton one from 1883/84, when the Toffees played at Anfield.

Want to know what footballers looked like back then? Here's Burnley defender J. W. Crabtree in his England kit from around 1886...

(Getty)
(Getty)

What a chap.