I was a guest of Danny Baker and Danny Kelly on Baker and Kelly’s VSPO Victorian Football Christmas Special on BT Sport this week (27 December 2013). My TV debut (and some are already saying finale…) was to promote The Victorian Football Miscellany, which Danny Baker very kindly said on air was, “one of the greatest books ever written about football since Charlie Buchan put down his pen.” Obviously, that quote is going on the cover of any reprint.

In the hour-long show we discussed some of Victorian football’s most colourful characters, looked at how footballs were made from pig’s bladders, saw how shinpads were invented, and then recreated a Victorian football match. There were also tales of bizarre moments in Victorian football, Christmas ghost stories from footballers, Victorian tarot card readings, and toasters powered by a penny farthing. In keeping with the Victorian theme, we were dressed in period costumes with appropriate facial hair, which (thankfully!) rendered me virtually unrecognisable. By the end of the show viewers were no doubt in agreement with Danny Baker when he said Victorian football “makes today’s game look like a lot of fuss about nothing”.

A clip from the show is available to watch via the Daily Mirror website.

The Victorian Football MiscellanyPerceptive viewers may have spotted that I was somewhat out of my comfort zone in front of the TV cameras, but it was a great experience, and it was fascinating to see behind the scenes at the impressive BT Sport studios. Like my recent appearance on Danny Baker’s radio show, this was a fantastic opportunity for an author, and thanks must go to the two Dannys and their production team for having me.

The book, which Danny Baker also called “spectacular, mesmerising, and the root of all we do”, 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).

Baker and Kelly's VSPO Victorian Football Special

Published by Paul Brown

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