“The Jewel Thief” is the story of Harry Trainer, the Wrexham and Wales international footballer with a remarkable criminal record. Read in issue 33 of The Blizzard and on The Guardian website. Listen on The Blizzard podcast.
The story of Victorian eccentric John Baines, the self-styled Football Card King, written for When Saturday Comes magazine. Read the full story in issue 379 of When Saturday Comes.
Sunderland, Hibs and Upton Park FC were among the unlikely teams crowned world champions long before the first World Cup. Read the full story in the June 2018 issue of FourFourTwo.
Kickaround is the new magazine for young football fans from the makers of When Saturday Comes. For the first issue I contributed a fun piece on how Victorian kids made their own footballs from animal bladders… Read the article on the launch issue of Kickaround.
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. […]