A new book reveals the varied life of one of football’s earliest stars, the England and Sheffield Wednesday outside-left Fred Spiksley. My review of Flying Over An Olive Grove by Clive Nicholson, Ralph Nicholson and Mark Metcalf is in the January 2017 issue of When Saturday Comes.
Jack Wilshire’s move to Bournemouth and the scrapping of the emergency loan window have put temporary deals back in the spotlight. But how did football’s loan transfer system get started and who were some of the first and strangest loanees? Part of a bigger feature on loan spells, my piece on the history of loans […]
It was a Victorian football sensation. Five British players – four from Manchester City plus a former teammate now at Sheffield United – were missing, presumed poached by a mysterious foreign agent. “A sudden disappearance!” exclaimed one newspaper. “A Sheffielder taken!” was the headline in another. This 1894 mystery was solved after the players were […]
When your club is linked with a player you’ve never heard of, Wikipedia’s 350,000+ football pages are likely to contain all the information you need. But who updates those goal tallies? And more importantly, why? For FourFourTwo magazine, I met the men who keep football Wikipedia bang up to date. Read the full story in […]
Islington Corinthians may not be a famous name, but these footballing Phileas Foggs left their mark on history with an extraordinary 1930s round-the-world jaunt involving leopards, cocaine, cobras, crocodiles, and a bullet-strewn carry-on up the Khyber. The Islington Corinthians were travelling through the Khyber Pass when their bus slammed to a halt and their guide […]
The true story of the investigative journalist and mermaid hunter who helped create the rules of soccer. Arthur Pember titillated Victorian New York with his muckraking journalism, but before that he was the first president of the Football Association who set out the Laws of the Game. Read at Howler.
Gainsborough Trinity have always overachieved, despite the best efforts of their local rivals. With a population of around 20,800, lower than the likes of Glossop, Accrington and Fleetwood, Gainsborough is one of the smallest towns to have had a Football League club. Read the full story in issue 351 of When Saturday Comes.
As part of FourFourTwo’s 50 Best Football Chants special, why do Liverpool fans sing You’ll Never Walk Alone, why do West Ham fans sing I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles, and why on Earth do Stoke City fans sing Delilah (a creepy murder ballad about an insane voyeur who knifes his cheating lover to death)? You can […]
In the summer of 1899, football’s most famous goalkeeper took on a Sanger’s Circus elephant in what was billed as ‘The Greatest Novelty in the World’ – an elephant-versus-man penalty shoot-out. This is the story of one of the great football sensations of the Victorian era. Published in issue 349 of When Saturday Comes.
Two pieces in this issue, on football’s original hard man and a football manager’s less-famous brother. Nick Ross was the “demon back” who captained Preston North End and Everton in the late-1890s. And Harry Chapman was the brother of legendary Arsenal manager Herbert. Coincidentally, both Nick Ross and Harry Chapman met a similarly tragic fate. […]