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Football service for penalty kick inventor William McCrum

By Nevin Farrell

Published 03/08/2015

Footballer William McCrum's grave
Footballer William McCrum's grave
Footballer William McCrum, who invented the penalty

If Linfield are awarded a penalty this season their manager Warren Feeney will certainly be well informed about the history of the spot-kick.

That's because last night he was one of around 150 people who attended a Service of Dedication and Thanksgiving to mark the restoration of the grave of William McCrum - the Co Armagh man who invented the penalty kick.

Feeney said he was "over the moon" to be asked to attend.

He said: "Looking at the history in it, it is crazy where the penalty kick came from.

"There were only 30 people went to the guy's funeral but tonight there were 150.

"I think it was phenomenal.

"They told us the history of it all and how it started. It was a fantastic evening.

"We went to the grave and said a prayer.

"Penalties are a lottery but I just found it fascinating where it started from and he was a goalkeeper himself so it was fantastic for a goalkeeper to invent it."

McCrum proposed the new regulation in 1890 via the Mid Ulster Football Association, which in turn took the idea to the Irish Football Association.

It was introduced to the 'Laws of the Game' in June 1891 by the International Football Association Board, the rule-making arm of FIFA.

McCrum's grave, which is located in the churchyard at St Mark's in Armagh city, had fallen into serious disrepair.

A local Northern Ireland Supporters Club from William McCrum's home village of Milford began the campaign to have his final resting place restored.

FIFA then paid for the repairs to the grave.

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