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First football league goal commemorated with new plaque in Bolton

A plaque has been unveiled to celebrate Bolton Wanderers’ Kenny Davenport as the first ever goalscorer in the football league Photo: Jack Donnelly

by Jack Donnelly

A plaque has been unveiled to celebrate Bolton Wanderers’ Kenny Davenport as the first ever goalscorer in the football league.

The goal, originally thought to have been an own goal by Aston Villa’s Gershom Cox, was revealed in 2013 when football researchers Mark Metcalf and Robert Boyling discovered that the kick-off in the Aston Villa game had been delayed.

It was found that Davenport’s goal at 3:47pm on September 8, 1888, for Bolton Wanderers against Derby County signified the first ever football league goal.

The plaque, which was placed in the same area as Wanderers’ former ground, Pikes Lane, was unveiled yesterday evening with the football researchers, the Mayor of Bolton, and Mr Davenport’s family in attendance.

Mayor of Bolton, and Kenny Davenport’s family Credit: Jack Donnelly

Mark Metcalf said:

When I was writing my book I didn’t quite buy that Gershom Cox was the first ever goalscorer in the football league.

“We spent about 400 hours looking for an advert for the Villa game to see when

it kicked off, and I was ready to give up until Robert started digging as well.

“I’m really pleased that the lads here have decided to put up a plaque for it. I’m very happy tonight.”

– Mark Metcalf, football researcher

Mr Metcalf and Mr Boyling were also welcomed onto the pitch at half-time last night during Bolton’s 1-0 victory against Coventry City.

Phil Mason, Bolton Wanderers Chaplain, said:

This is such a significant occasion as we gather to celebrate a key moment in Bolton Wanderers football club.

“It’s wonderful to welcome everyone to this event, and I’d like to thank Kenny’s family for coming down and supporting us tonight”.

– Phil Mason, Bolton Wanderers Chaplain,

Kenny Davenport holds a special place in Wanderers’ history: he was the first Bolton player to play for England, was part of the first group of footballers to become professionals in 1885.

The blue plaque is visible on the Lostock Electrical Projects Company building on Bankfield Street.

Watch Paul Crone's report from the scene.