The Football League is this weekend supporting The Football Association's 150th birthday celebrations.
Up and down the country, teams at every level are honouring the landmark day with a host of activities, including players wearing special FA150 T-shirts during pre-match warm-ups. The anniversary comes after a packed programme of events across the year including a nationwide Sir Bobby Robson National Football Day in August and a celebration of 150 grassroots heroes at Buckingham Palace earlier this month.
The FA has used its 150th anniversary to shine a light on the national game. The seven million players of all ages, 400,000 volunteers, 300,000 coaches and 27,000 qualified referees who all help The FA keep the grassroots going. At the elite level, The FA runs 25 England teams, across men's, women's, youth and disability football, utilising the world-class facilities of Wembley Stadium and St. George's Park.
Football League Chairman, Greg Clarke, said: "On behalf of The Football League, its clubs and the millions of people that watch our matches, it is a genuine pleasure to congratulate the Football Association as it celebrates its 150th Anniversary.
"By its very nature football is passionate and partisan but it also needs integrity, order and leadership to ensure that its matches and competitions are meaningful. The FA has performed this role for a century and a half during which time this country has developed the most successful domestic league system in world football, in terms of its popular appeal, breadth and economic success. It has also enabled many millions of men, women and children to experience the thrill of playing football for the very first time.
"The Football League is not just a partner to the Football Association, it is also an important part of the Football Association. Our clubs are represented throughout its structure and through the development of young footballers they are producing the next generation of players that will represent England at all levels. This is a responsibility to the wider game that we take great pride in."
Birthday celebrations began earlier this week with a ceremony at Wembley Stadium on Monday to mark the successful search for living descendants of the eight Founding Fathers of Football without whom football as we know, love and play it today, would not exist. Relatives travelled from as far afield as New Zealand and the United States to take part in a ceremony honouring their ancestors.
Then, on Friday, a plaque unveiling was held at the Grand Connaught Rooms, site of The FA's founding in 1863. FA Chairman Greg Dyke and General Secretary Alex Horne took part in the ceremony, which means there is finally a permanent record of the birthplace of the world's most popular sport.
On Saturday night, in central London, a Gala Dinner will be held at the Grand Connaught Rooms,- the location of the Freemasons' Tavern that staged the very first FA meeting on 26th October 1863, with HRH The Duke of Cambridge, The FA President, the chief guest.
To read the official message from HRH The Duke of Cambridge, the President of The FA, click here
Taking centre stage at the Dinner will be the original 1863 FA Minute Book, which is currently on display at the British Library until 19th December. Valued at £2.5m, the book contains the handwritten 13 original laws of football penned a century and a half ago by Ebenezer Cobb Morley, The FA's first secretary.
Guests will also include FA Chairman Greg Dyke, FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter, UEFA President Michel Platini and a trio of FIFA World Cup winners in George Cohen, Martin Peters and Sir Geoff Hurst. The FA Board and FA Council will also be in attendance, along with guests from around the world highlighting that football is the only true global game.