The Ruhleben Football Association

The Ruhleben Football Association:
How Steve Bloomer’s Footballers Survived a First World War Prison Camp

By Paul Brown
Paperback, ISBN 9780995541238
300 pages, illustrated, soft-touch cover
RRP £10

Released 20 February 2020

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The Ruhleben Football Association by Paul Brown book cover

In 1914, at the outbreak of the First World War, several of Britain’s greatest footballers were interned in a brutal prison camp at Ruhleben, near Berlin. Among them was Steve Bloomer, the prolific England striker widely regarded as the best player of his generation. Surrounded by barbed wire and armed guards, living in squalor and on meagre rations, and with their families and freedom far out of reach, Bloomer and the others found salvation in what they knew best – football.

They bartered for balls, marked out pitches, and formed the Ruhleben Football Association, organising league and cup competitions involving hundreds of players and watched by thousands of spectators.

The conditions at Ruhleben – a former horse racing track – were appalling, with around 4,500 men packed into 11 filthy stables. Food was scarce, the guards were cruel, and the commandant was incompetent. Gradually, though, as the Great War for Civilisation raged around them, Bloomer and his fellow prisoners established some order within the confines of the prison camp.

This is the true story of how the prisoners used the game of football to survive, and how some of them used it to escape.

The book contains more than 30 photographs and illustrations.

Steve Bloomer's Farewell Match in Ruhleben Prison Camp, 1918

Prominent footballers in Ruhleben:
Steve Bloomer: England, Derby County, Middlesbrough
Fred Pentland: England, Blackburn Rovers, Middlesbrough, QPR, Brentford, Stoke, Blackpool, Halifax Town, Small Heath (Birmingham City)
John “Jack” Cameron: Scotland, Queen’s Park, Everton, Tottenham Hotspur
Sam Wolstenholme: England, Everton, Blackburn, Norwich City
John “Jack” Brearley: Tottenham, Everton, Crystal Palace, Millwall, Notts County
Edwin Dutton: Germany, Newcastle United
Percy Hartley: Preston North End, Huddersfield Town, Exeter City
Walter “Wattie” Campbell: Everton

Product details

Published: 20 February 2020
Publisher: Goal Post
ISBN: 9780995541238
Format: Paperback
Pages: 300
Photos and illustrations: 34
RRP: £10

Pre-order now:

£10 plus postage and packing
Select UK, Europe or Rest of World:
Buy Now – UK (postage £1.72)
Buy Now – Europe (£4.60)
Buy Now – Rest of World (£6.80)
Payments handled securely via PayPal
You do not need a PayPal account
Pre-orders will be dispatched ahead of release date
UK orders via Royal Mail 2nd Class (3 working days aim)
Non-UK orders via Royal Mail International Standard (3-7 working days aim)
Please contact us with any queries

Also available via Amazon

Published by Paul Brown

Writes about football and history. Four Four Two, When Saturday Comes, The Blizzard etc. Latest book: Savage Enthusiasm: A History of Football Fans. Twitter: @paulbrownUK

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