Village to be officially recognised as birthplace of football’s penalty kick.
The village of Milford close to Armagh City is to receive global recognition as the birthplace of football’s penalty kick.
The world football governing body FIFA, the Federation Internationale de Football Association, is to officially acknowledge the spot where the penalty kick was invented by William McCrum in 1891.
A commemorative bust to the Victorian linen magnate who was a goalkeeper with the Milford team, is currently being erected in the village as the centre-piece of a memorial park (see image – committee members Joe McManus and Kieran ).
Chairman of a special steering committee set up to oversee the project, Mr. Nigel Cooke confirmed FIFA’s official recognition of the penalty-kick’s birthplace.
“FIFA have been in touch with us to acknowledge our plans to mark the invention and home of the penalty-kick,” said Mr. Cooke, who is also Chairman of Armagh City Football Club which can trace its roots back to the village.
“We are very much still at the planning stages of this special project but it is our intention to hold a grand unveiling in May of next year. We would hope FIFA would be represented at that event at which we also intend to invite goalkeeping legends Pat Jennings and Harry Gregg as well as England great Gary Lineker who has also shown interest in the past in the history of the penalty kick and infact visited Milford to see for himself its birthplace,” added Mr Cooke.
The project to erect a monument to William McCrum is being supported by Armagh City and District Council through the Craigavon and Armagh Rural Development Ltd (CARD) in conjunction with the EU Programme for Building Sustainable Prosperity.
William McCrum, a goalkeeper with the Milford team which played in the inaugural Irish premier league, was determined to stamp out violent play around goal areas and came up with what was arguably to become world sports’ most dramatic rule.
The field in which the penalty kick was believed to have been invented was almost lost to developers in recent years but a campaign by villagers to save the ground ended successfully when a compromise was reached to put in place a memorial park.
As well as the special commemerations, it is hoped a calendar and new book on the history of the penalty kick will be published at the same time.
A new website is also to be developed detailing events in the run up to the special event in May next year.