I was on the Danny Baker Show on BBC Radio 5 Live, on Saturday 24 August 2013, talking about Victorian football and my book the Victorian Football Miscellany. The whole show was given a Victorian theme, and it was great to meet Danny and Teletext Alex and speak to them for half an hour about everything from football on ice to matches between elephants and clowns.

Danny told listeners the book was terrific, and would “make your eyebrows roll off your forehead and down your back”. To be invited on the show was an amazing opportunity for an unknown author. As Danny said on air, they don’t usually plug books, “unless the person is more famous than us”. So I was very grateful, but also nervous, and conscious of the fact that the slot is usually occupied by a celebrity guest. Hopefully my inevitable “erms” and stumbles could be excused. (Previous guests include Ant & Dec, Peter Kay, Ricky Gervais, Stephen Fry, Elton John..!)

The Victorian Football MiscellanyIn examining what Danny called “the magnificent crackpot world of Victorian football”, we discussed ox bladder balls, knickerbockers, lustrous moustaches, a handsome versus ugly football match, a footballer named (or possibly not named) Nettie Honeyball, the 0-0-11 formation, hacking, tripping and charging (allowed), a goal that was scored with the ball 90 feet in the air, the football manager poached for £100 and a new suit, Cheryl Cole, referees waving white handkerchiefs, crowds singing music hall numbers, scores relayed by carrier pigeon, William (some say Bill) “Fatty” Foulke, and – finally – elephant football.

The book, which contains all of the above, is the Victorian Football Miscellany, and it’s out now in hardback, paperback and on Kindle. You can find more details here. There’s also a Victorian football website, containing extracts from the book, plus other articles and images. You can also find more content posted on the Victorian Football Twitter feed (@goalpostbooks) and on my own (@paulbrownUK).

UPDATE: A clip from the interview was featured on BBC Radio 4’s Pick of the Week programme with Sheila McClennon on 1 September. You can listen to it here:

The Danny Baker Show

Published by Paul Brown

Writes about football and history. Four Four Two, When Saturday Comes, The Blizzard, The Guardian etc. Latest book: The Ruhleben Football Association. Twitter: @paulbrownUK

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