Football hustlers: British players in America’s first pro soccer league

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 […]

The birth of the fan: the origins of the football supporter

How did we become football fans? Many of us can trace the lineage of our support through our fathers, our grandfathers and so on. But association football has only been around for 150 years. At some point, perhaps six or seven generations ago, our ancestors discovered and embraced the emerging game, developed affinities for individual […]

The first football columnist: how early journalists helped shape the game

I wrote a long-form article for The Blizzard football quarterly telling the story of how an early football journalist for The Northern Echo helped shape the modern game. “The world of Victorian football writers is a fascinating one, as you’ll be aware if you’ve ever had cause to search through 19th-century newspaper archives for news […]