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Goalposts

Cultural and Education Section of the British Embassy - British Council
 This article was generously provided to ClubFootball by the British Council, which operates in China as the Cultural and Education Section of the British Embassy.

 

Goalposts as the world knows them today were originally designed in Britain.
 
Size
 
In 1863 the English Football Association decreed that the posts should be 8 yards apart (7.32m), a measurement which has never altered since. Because players often argued whether the ball had gone between the posts (for a goal) or above (no goal), tape was then used to join the tops of the posts.
 
In 1875 the wooden crossbar started to replace the tape, at a height of 8 feet (2.44m) above the ground.
 
That is how the dimensions of the goals we know today have evolved. But the shape of the posts and crossbar was another matter.
 
Shape
 
Round or square-shaped goals were the most common until, in 1920, a Mr. J. C. Perkins of the Standard Goals company in Nottingham, England, invented the much stronger elliptical shape. Nottingham Forest was the first club in the world to try them. Many Scottish clubs stayed with their square designs for many years, but elliptical posts and bars are now the favourite around the world.
 
Though they too can still break, as the groundsman at Real Madrid will testify - when he had to fetch replacement posts because they broke just before Real played Borussia Dortmund in the 1998 Champions League semi final!
 
Material
 
Until the 1980s, most goals were made from wood. Douglas Fir was often the preferred choice of wood. In recent years, however, much lighter aluminium or steel goals have become more popular, especially with ground staff because maintenance is now a lot easier.
 
But the goalpost has basically remained unchanged for over 100 years.

 

 

 

September 2001

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