The History of Football Goal Nets

The History of Football Goal Nets
Posted in: Buyers Guide

The History of Football Goal Nets

A football net is one of those training equipment “inventions”, that doesn’t feel like it ever had to be invented. It performs such a self-evident, useful function that it’s easy to assume that they’ve been here forever. But there was in fact a time before football nets. During this time, the game of football must have been plagued by even more arguments and controversy than it is today.

What Are Football Nets Used For?

The primary purpose of a football net is to catch the ball, to stop it from sailing into an adjoining field or hitting an unsuspecting spectator. This of course speeds up the game, as less time is spent chasing runaway balls and applying magic sponges to winded spectators. The first patented full-size football nets, manufactured in 1891, were designed to serve this purpose and this purpose only.

But since then, football nets have been developed to serve important secondary purpose. In many cases, they remove all doubt as to whether or not the ball has crossed the line and a goal has been scored.History of football nets


The Early Football Nets

The early football nets used to run straight from the crossbar, diagonally down to the ground where it is pegged in place. In fact, football nets like this are still used today, particularly in areas of potentially high vandalism. Net supports are not used on goals in these locations so the straight runback net is the only choice.

While these basic nets do the job – i.e. they catch the ball – they’re not good enough for high stake, professional games. If you’ve ever had a particularly competitive kick-around using one of these nets, you’ll probably know why…

Controversy With Early Football Nets

Football nets like this can cause controversy and disagreement. When the ball crosses the goal line very close to the crossbar, the net closest to the crossbar can rebound the ball back out of the goal mouth. As a result, it may not be clear whether a goal has been scored.

In professional games, where every goal scored has very real financial implications, this just won’t do.

The Solution to Football Net Controversy

Solution #1 – Traditional Shaped Football Nets

The first solution to this problem was to add a small “roof” section to the football nets. This “roof” is created by adding a continental net support, sometimes referred to as “D-Shaped Supports”. This holds a small section of the net horizontally before it’s dropped diagonally to the ground.

These “traditional” nets remain the most popular choice for most football clubs around the world. However, though undoubtedly an improvement over the straight run back nets, they’re still not quite good enough for the Premier League. This is mainly due to the metal structures (the net supports themselves) allowing the potential risk of rebounding the ball back out of the goal.

Traditional Shape Football Nets | Football Net Size

Solution #2 – Box Shape Football Nets

As a result, free-hanging box-shaped football nets were developed. This system does away with the traditional “D-Shaped Supports”. Instead, the net is supported and suspended by two or three posts, which are positioned well behind the goal, meaning there is no risk of the net of net support acting as a rebounder.

The nets extend horizontally to these back posts with a large roof section. They’re held in place by a length of braid fixed behind the net to the rear net supports (known as International Free Hanging Net Supports) before they’re allowed to drop vertically to the ground, creating a box shape.

This system is now the first choice in almost all of the UK’s professional league clubs, and in the majority of top football clubs around the world.


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If you’d like to know more about football nets and choosing the right one for you and your team, feel free to get in touch. Give us a call on 01782 571 719, or email.

2 years ago