The Amazing Archie Goodall: “Nothing So Extraordinary Ever Seen!”

Archie Goodall was once regarded as ‘the world’s greatest international footballer’. He played in some of the best teams of the Victorian era, at Derby County, Preston North End, Everton and Wolves, and fans loved his fearsome physical style. After football, he became an internationally-famous vaudeville star via his bizarre strongman act ‘Walking the Loop’. […]

Sing your hearts out for the lads: a history of football songs

Ever wondered where football’s most popular terrace songs come from? My feature in the latest issue of FourFourTwo attempts to find out, tracing the origins of various favourite chants and ditties, adapted from hymn books, the pop charts, music halls, and operas. “At the 1888 FA Cup Final, West Brom and Preston fans joined together […]

A fag at half-time: a history of smoking in football

The latest issue of FourFourTwo magazine includes my feature on smoking in football, which looks at the changing relationship between tobacco and the beautiful game. “When Jack Wilshere smoked a cigarette outside a London nightclub after Arsenal’s Champions League win over Napoli earlier this season, he inadvertently sparked up the burning issue of smoking in […]

Football floodlights: a history

There’s something undeniably romantic about football floodlights, standing as beacons on rickety pylons, drawing fans toward grounds on drizzly evenings. I wrote a feature for FourFourTwo on the history and appeal of floodlights. It covers early attempts to illuminate football, the roll-out and reliance on electric light, plus failures, climbing, collapses, and sabotage. “The UK […]

Football in 1863: what was the game like in the year it was created?

To mark the FA’s 150th birthday, I wrote a feature for FourFourTwo on what football was like in 1863. The feature covers unusual aspects of the early game involving rules, kit and crowds, and also highlights some key teams, players and matches from the year in which association football was created. “The Victorians invented the […]