Fanspotting: the history of football fandom via fan tribes

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 […]

Islington Corinthians: football’s first world tour

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 […]

Nick Ross and Harry Chapman: football originals

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. […]

Half-time: a history

Footballers hasn’t always been a game of two halves. The original Laws of the Game included no reference to half-time, and instead required teams to change ends after each goal was scored. My short piece on the history of half-time is included in the latest FourFourTwo. Read in the May 2015 issue of FourFourTwo.

How to beat the winter freeze: football’s frozen pitch dilemma

The latest issue of FourFourTwo includes my feature on undersoil heating and various other methods of beating the problem of frozen football pitches, including straw, braziers and a mysterious beer-like liquid. “First mooted in 1937 yet only mandatory for Premier League clubs since this season, undersoil heating has endured a chequered history – starring frost, […]

History of the magic sponge

The latest issue of FourFourTwo magazine contains a big feature on football injuries, which includes a piece by me on the history of injury treatment and the football trainer’s miraculous magic sponge. “The magic sponge is one of football’s most familiar artefacts, having being variously applied to players’ bumps and bruises for more than a […]