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The Eaton House team, moustaches at the ready

Eaton House Manager’s Report

This send-off of The Ball was the first I had been to. I don’t know what the others were like but I imagine that this one was the biggest because there were so many other parties present. For years the stalwarts of Spirit of Football have been doing their bit to give Battersea Park its due in the extraordinary story that is association football but this year a perfect storm of local activism and serendipity came together to get a plaque erected in the park. Year 7 of Eaton House, Clapham played a small but relevant role.

The Eaton House blue plaqueThe Eaton House blue plaque (photo: Jonathon Vines)

In the run-up to Christmas we put on something that was billed as a Nativity Play. This was to wrong-foot the rest of the school who were nosey to know what we were doing with sombreros, French berets, Jimmy hats etc. However, the butter-wouldn’t-melt-in-their-mouths Year 7s did not tell a complete lie… after all, nativitas is just the Latin for birth. But when the boys revealed what was in the baby’s crib, it was not a doll of baby Jesus but a mucky old football. Following this theme of Christmas, in order to counter the claims of the above nationalities, they invoked not the Ghost of Christmas Past but Football Past, one Ebenezer Morley, to explain how football — as we know it — was born not only in England but within our very borough. The climax of the little play was when Ebenezer Cobb Morley bade us farewell along with his physician, another time-traveller by the surname of Who, asking the audience to erect a blue plaque in the park to commemorate the historic launch of association football.

Alas, despite the play’s success, or at least appreciation by a somewhat lost audience, its impact would have been of very little consequence. What made the difference were our esteemed guests from the Wandsworth Society, the International Football Institute and the Friends of Battersea Parks. The latter in particular got busy contacting the Spirit of Football and using their not inconsiderable clout (albeit the softest of power) with the worthy folk who run the council.

The day itself was great fun, a mixture of eccentricity and enthusiasm, probably not unlike our noble predecessors 150 years ago. The boys played their own part in five-a-side matches against Battersea Park School who were an equally nice lot.

Warming up with some Irish dancingWarming up with some Irish dancing (photo: Jonathon Vines)
Mid game actionMid game action between Eaton House and Battersea Park School (photo: Jonathon Vines)

Thereafter they added to the general festival fair feeling of the event by rushing around like only those who are half human-half labrador can. This culminated in the glorious run-up to kick the Ball.

Eaton House help kick off The Ball to BrazilEaton House help kick off The Ball on its journey to Brazil (photo: Jonathon Vines)

It was a great event and my hearty congratulations to Spirit of Football and the local bodies involved. Let us hope that this year represents the beginning of a take-off period whereby it gathers greater and greater momentum. It is certainly something the people of London and indeed England should take pride in.

Eaton House signatures on The BallEaton House signatures on The Ball (photo: Jonathon Vines)

Written by the Manager — A G Sprott, Head of Latin and Year 7 form tutor at Eaton House.
Photos used with kind permission of Jonathon Vines.

Written by on Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

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The Ball 2018 left England on 25th March 2018 and travelled to the World Cup in Russia.

The Ball 2014 kicked off from England on 9th Jan 2014 and headed to the World Cup in Brazil.

The Ball 2010 left England on 24th Jan 2010 headed to the Opening Ceremony in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The Ball 2006 travelled from London to the Opening Ceremony in Munich, Germany.

The Ball 2002 was carried 7000 miles across Europe and Asia to the World Cup finals in Korea & Japan.