Sidney Yates

Sidney Yates owned an iron foundry in Blackburn. In August 1877, Black Star and James Street football teams joined forces to establish Blackburn Olympic. Yates agreed to fund the club.

Whereas Blackburn Rovers was mainly made up of players who attended public schools, the Blackburn Olympic team largely contained men from the working-class. The two clubs played each other on 15th February 1879 but Olympic, now one of the best teams in the country, won 3-1.

Blackburn Olympic decided to enter the FA Cup in 1882-83. Coached by former England player, Jack Hunter, Blackburn beat Lower Darwen 9-1 in the second round of the competition. This was followed by victories against Darwen Ramblers (8-0), Church (2-0) and Druids (4-0). Hunter, who also played at centre-half for Olympic, led his team to a 4-0 victory over Old Carthusians in the semi-final of the competition.

Jack Hunter decided to take his team away to Blackpool to prepare for the Cup Final against Old Etonians. As Marc Keech pointed out in the Encyclopedia of British Football : "This was the first recorded occasion of sustained systematic training, with players leaving home for a period of time to live communally."

Over 8,000 people arrived at the Kennington Oval to watch Blackburn Olympic play Old Etonians in the final. Blackburn selected the following team: Thomas Hacking (dental assistant), James Ward (cotton machine operator), Albert Warburton (master plumber and pub landlord), Thomas Gibson (iron foundry worker), William Astley (weaver), John Hunter (pub landlord), Thomas Dewhurst (weaver), Arthur Matthews (picture framer), George Wilson (clerk), Jimmy Costley (spinner) and John Yates (weaver).

Old Etonians were appearing in their third successive FA Cup Final. Their captain, Arthur Kinnaird, was playing in his ninth final and his side were hot favourites to win. Goodhart gave the public school side a 1-0 lead at half-time. The fitter Blackburn Olympic began to take control of the game in the second-half and Arthur Matthews scored a well-deserved equalizer. Despite being the much better team Olympic was unable to score a winning goal during normal time. After 17 minutes of extra time, Thomas Dewhurst ran at the defence, centred the ball to Jimmy Costley, who volleyed the ball past the goalkeeper. Blackburn Olympic had become the first northern team to win the FA Cup.