On the ball … in 1935

Simon Gleave and Jurryt van der Vooren have been tracking down the earliest example of football statistics.

There have been some Twitter exchanges

In response to:

This encouraged me to write a blog post about the game.

Today Jurryt came up with two new leads, one from a Holland v Belgium game in 1935:

and this from De gronwet on 15 January 1936

This second source refers to some French journalists at the Jour newspaper. My brief enquiries suggest this might be a newspaper published in 1933.

I do need to follow up on these leads but I am immensely grateful that Simon and Jurryt are sharing their treasure hunt.

1937 Back Pass

Last year, thanks to Jurryt van de Vooren and Simon Gleave, I was introduced to what was thought to be the earliest example of football statistics. The game was played on 20 June 1937.

Simon’s forensic skills have come up with an earlier example from a game played at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin, Germany on Sunday 3 January 1937.

The statistics are from the final of the national Tschammerpokal 1936 competition played between VfB Leipzig and FC Schalke 04. VfB Leipzig won 2v1 with all three goals scored in the first half (1:0 Jacob May (20), 2:0 Herbert Gabriel (31), 2:1 Ernst Kalwitzki (42)). The referee was Egon Zacher who officiated games in Germany from 1935 to 1952.

News of the 1937 statistics appeared on a Deutscher Fussball-Bund’s news page about the 2017 Cup competition and the availability of the DFB-Pokal-App to explore performance data.

The 1937 data:

There is a very short film (18 seconds) of the game:

An English Wikipedia entry has a picture of the match program:

There is a detailed German Wikipedia entry about the 1936 competition. In the match report there is this sentence “Der VfB verzichtete auf jede Effekthascherei und ließ nach englischer Art den Ball laufen”. This appears to be a comparison between VfB’s second half pattern of play and an English approach to playing the game.

Kicker has information about the teams. Of the players listed, ten of the eleven Schalke players have Wikipedia entries:

Hermann Mellage, Hans Bornemann, Otto Schweisfurth, Rudolf Gellesch, Hermann Nattkämper, Otto Tibulski, Ernst Kalwitzki, Fritz Szepan, Ernst Poertgen, Ernst Kuzorra. Ernst Kuzorra was the captain of the team. The only Schalke player without a Wikipedia entry is Ernst Sotnow. The trainer, Hans Schmidt, has a page.

The German Wikipedia page about the game has one link to a VfB Leipzig player, Rudolf Grosse. This is incorrect. It is a link to a sociolinguist with the same name. He would have been 13 at the time of the final. Kicker has a date of birth for Rudolf as 25 August 1910.

Kicker provides dates of birth for 8 of the VfB Leipzig team and all of the FC Schalke 04 team. These data give the median age of VfB as 26.5 years ((range 20 to 30) and Schalke at 24 (range 18 to 31). Bruno Waller, the VfB goalkeeper, won the cup on his birthday.

If the start of the birth year was 1 January for German football, then the places in birth year for both teams at the time of the final were:

I am delighted Simon is on the case. I had better start scanning pre-1937.

Photo Credit

FC Shalke 04 (YouTube frame grab)


The Weltfussball page for the game.

A game of football in 1937

A blog post by Jurryt van de Vooren has sent me off on a journey of discovery.

Jurryt’s post shares a record of shots taken in the Western Europe v Central Europe football game played to celebrate Olympic Day in the Netherlands on 20 June 1937. He asks if this is the first example of a record of shots taken in association football.

He includes a picture of Beb Bakhuys scoring in the game.

There is a Revue der Sporten record of the game. It has this single picture:

The article includes a notation of the sequence of shots in the game. Jurryt shared this in his post.

A record of the shots made in the 1937 game between Western and Central Europe

Central Europe won the game 3v1.The score at half time was 1v0.

Ferenc Sas scored two goals for Central Europe (17 minutes and 48 minutes). The third goal was scored by Oldřich Nejedlý in the 75th minute.

Beb Bakhuys scored West Europe’s goal in the 87th minute.

The timing of the goals allows for the following allocation of shots in the game.

  • 0-17 minutes: 6 shots (4 Western Europe (WE), 2 Central Europe (CE)).
  • 17-45 minutes: 17 shots (8 WE, 9 CE) 1 goal scored.
  • 45-47 minutes: 1 shot (WE).
  • 48-74 minutes: 14 shots (9 WE, 5 CE) 1 goal scored.
  • 75-86 minutes: 7 shots (5 WE, 2 CE) 1 goal scored.
  • 87-90 minutes: 2 shots (1 WE, 1 CE) 1 goal scored.

The game was refereed by Arthur James Jewell … the only Great Britain involvement in a mainland Europe event.(Arthur refereed at the 1936 Olympic Games and was the referee for the 1938 FA Cup Final.)

The crowd was estimated to be 50,000. 

The teams were:

Western Europe

Hans Jakob (Germany); Bob Paverick (Belgium) [replaced after 65 minutes by Constant Joacim (Belgium)]; Bertus Caldenhove (Netherlands); Albin Kitzinger (Germany); Ludwig Goldbrunner (Germany); Edmond Delfour (France); Ernst Lehner (Germany); Raymond Braine (Belgium); Bep Bakhuys (Netherlands); Kick Smit (Netherlands); Stan Vanden Eynde (Belgium).

The unused reserves were: Leo Halle (Netherlands); Bas Paauwe (Netherlands); Roger Courtois (France); Bernard Voorhoof (Belgium)

Central Europe

Aldo Olivieri (Italy); Willibald Schmaus (Austria) [replaced after 36 minutes by Pietro Rava (Italy)]; Karl Sesta (Austria); Gyula Lázár (Hungary); Michele Andreolo (Italy); Pietro Serantoni (Italy); Oldřich Nejedlý (Czechoslovakia); György Sárosi (Hungary); Silvio Piola (Italy); Giuseppe Meazza (Italy); Ferenc Sas (Hungary).

The unused reserves were: Bohumil Klenovec (Czechoslovakia); László Cseh (Hungary); Wilhelm Hahnemann (Austria).

An official record of the event notes:

Bob Paverick was a late replacement for Paul Janes (Germany), whose mother died two days before the match. Michele Andreolo was born as Miguel Andreolo in Uruguay.

A medal from the game appeared for sale on eBay in December 2016.

The medal awarded for participation in the 1937 Olympic Day game between Western Europe and Central Europe.

I hope this is the start of a detailed account of the game and the participants in it for both teams.

Photo Credits

Beb Bakhuys goal (Jurryt van de Vooren)

Netherlands players (Revue der Sporten)

Wie scoten en hoe? (Revue der Sporten)

1937 Medal (eBay)


Darren O”Shaughnessy’s tweet