A blog about life in London

Cuthbert John Ottaway England’s First Football Captain: A to Z of Things to do in London

Cuthbert John Ottaway England’s First Football Captain: A to Z of Things to do in London

I have said it a 100 times or more… there is history waiting to be discovered around virtually every street corner in Old London Town and not just in central London! I was sheltering from the rain under some kind of pine tree in Paddington Old Cemetery when a new gravestone I somehow hadn’t noticed before. The inscription said, In Memory or Cuthbert John Ottaway England’s First Football Captain 1872.

On what must have been at least my 100th visit to Paddington Old Cemetery I had stumbled upon a unique part of the beautiful games history. I was a bit mystified as to why I hadn’t noticed Cuthbert’s gravestone. I was a wee bit worried by my lack of attention! However I had a good excuse, a new gravestone had been erected on 13 August 2013.

Cuthbert John Ottaway first game as England captain took place against Scotland in Glasgow and by all accounts England were very lucky to scrape a 0 – 0 draw. Cuthbert’s second and last match in which he was also England’s captain was once again held in Glasgow against Scotland, this time the Scot’s triumphed 2 – 1.

In those days… footballers got paid a pittance and did it for the love of the game. Cuthbert’s day job was  a barrister, which he did until he died on the 2nd of April 1888 at the age of 28 years old.

I don’t know why it took so long for a more fitting gravestone to be acquired to mark the spot where the first English Football captain was buried. They should have had a whip round during playtime time at his former school Eaton: I’m sure enough would have been raised to build a mighty mausoleum…

Sometimes it pays to step off the well trodden path… you never know what you might find.