The History of Bandy - Football on Ice

Formation is a concept that has been visualised on television coverage of major sports for decades, but where was this concept first discussed? We were surprised to find early use of the term, not in a field team sport, but in a British game played on an ice rink. Have you ever heard of Bandy?


Bandy - A Sport played on Ice which originated in London England


In the process of researching early coverage of sporting events for our latest collection we were intrigued by early formations seen on infographics before the big match. Whether it be football, rugby or hockey, the team line-up is seldom seen without some visual depiction of where a player is likely to operate on the pitch, which also acts as a precursor to how a team is going to play - park the bus or all out attack? When we looked back through the archives we found an early use of the word not in the current main-stream sports but in the lesser-known sport of Bandy, a game played on a football pitch sized ice rink.

Surprisingly for a game played on ice, Bandy originated in England with the first club being the Bury Fen Bandy Club and “the original bandy match” being held in 1875 at The Crystal Palace in London.

Bandy’s founder, Charles Goodman, published the first set of rules in 1882 and used the word formation to explain the set-up of the teams on the field of play. In this reference a player’s position in a formation generally defines whether a player has a mostly defensive or attacking role, and whether they tend to play towards one side of the pitch or centrally, making Bandy more similar to association football in this regard than ice hockey.

These parallels are noteworthy given that Bandy was established based upon early English football regulations. A single goalie, who wears gloves similar to football, and a group of 10 skaters comprising defenders, midfielders, and forwards employ bandy sticks, which are curved and shorter compared to hockey sticks. Rules lifted from football were also incorporated into Bandy with offsides and fouls for overly aggressive play, which is encouraged in its modern sibling ice hockey.


 Admiral Bandy T-Shirt - Football on Ice


It’s these origins of the sport that influenced the Admiral Sporting Goods Bandy Club crest, and through the utilisation of our Manacus green wash t-shirt, we have successfully breathed life into the essence of the Admiral Bandy Club.

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