Fearless sportswriter George Plimpton wrote about his experiences as an “amateur professional” in numerous top-level sports, including baseball, ice hockey, and – most famously – American football. But he never wrote about his time playing proper football, or soccer, with the Tampa Bay Rowdies. Read in FourFourTwo (PDF).
More than a decade after their historic 1888-90 season, the Preston North End Invincibles got back together to prove they were still the best. A piece on the Old Invincibles reunion match of 1900 for When Saturday Comes. On an end-of-season Monday in April 1900, the greatest football team there had ever been reunited to […]
Broadcast on Boxing Day, this Christmas-themed episode of BBC Radio 4’s Making History programme featured a look at festive football. I spoke to Helen Castor about the tradition of playing football on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, in support of my book Savage Enthusiasm: A History of Football Fans. You can listen to the programme […]
The story of Alf Doig, a footballing pioneer from Arbroath who went to Alaska looking for gold, written for Scottish football periodical Nutmeg. Alf set off for Alaska at the beginning of April 1914. Players and officials, plus a party of “fans and fanettes”, gathered at the home of manager Jim Ross to see him […]
The contrasting fortunes of Johnny Goodall and Jimmy Trainer, close friends, and two of the earliest stars of the Victorian game. Read the full story in the Blizzard issue 27 and on the Blizzard website.
In football’s early days matches were mostly watched by curious observers but, as crowds increased, “they won” became “we won”, and the fanatic was born. Read the full story in When Saturday Comes issue 371 and on the WSC website.
In support of my book Savage Enthusiasm: A History of Football Fans, this article for US-based Medium looks at the history of soccer fans, and the irresistible rise of the world’s most popular sport, from the British origins of fandom, through to US adoption and growth. More details about the book can be found here. […]
This feature for FourFourTwo charts the history of football fandom via fan tribes, from ancient spectators to internet megafans, via gentlemen pioneers, scarf-swinging rattlers, horrible hooligans, fanzine enthusiasts, football hipsters and more. The feature is linked to my book, Savage Enthusiasm: A History of Football Fans. From ancient Roman fanboys to stat-wielding internet snobs, FFT […]
Savage Enthusiasm explores the complete history of watching football, from the very earliest days of the game, via golden ages and troubled times, through to the present day.
Referring to football as “the beautiful game” is a tired cliche but its origins reveal much about how the sport developed and spread around the world. It was used to describe football long before the phrase was popularised in the 1970s by Pele, and Pele most likely borrowed it from Brazil teammate Didi. Read the […]