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.
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, […]
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 […]
In 1914, at the outbreak of the First World War, several of Britain’s most famous footballers were imprisoned at the Ruhleben internment camp, near Berlin. This feature for FourFourTwo tells the true story of how the prisoners used football to survive. UPDATE: My book, The Ruhleben Football Association is now available.
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’. […]
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 […]
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 […]
A festive feature for FourFourTwo magazine, this piece looks at the lost tradition of football on Christmas Day, and includes tales of drunken players, fan protests, mass riots, abandoned goalkeepers, and lots of snow. “For football fans, the Christmas period serves up a real festive feast, with fixtures stuffed into the calendar like sage and […]
The latest issue of FourFourTwo includes a feature by me on football idioms, the figurative expressions that are commonly used in the game despite not having any literal connection to it. The feature looks at the meanings and origins of some of these strange phrases, like over the moon, sick as a parrot, and gone […]
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 […]