Showing posts from 2016

The Birth of European Cup - L'Equipe, Los Blancos and the Glorious 1950s

The European Cup or as we now know it, The Champions League, is perhaps one of the most glorious things a professional sportsperson can win. Europe’s premier cup competition is worth millions and millions of pounds in advertising, television revenue and prize money to those who qualify. However like everything in football, this wasn't always the case and the competition started from humble beginnings. With plenty of influences from across the continent, it would be a newspaper who kicked it all off. So let’s take a look at the birth everyone’s favourite club tournament.
The simple answer for when the European Cup began is: The 1955/56 season. The story itself isn’t quite so simple though. League football by the early 1900s was very well established in the United Kingdom and now many other European nations had codified their game with top-flight divisions. The temptation for sides from different countries to play each other was always there with friendly matches a regular occurrence…

Euro '96: Football's Coming Home

Hosting a major tournament on home soil is always a wonderful occasion that helps to unite a country, and with England recognised as one of the strongest teams on the international stage, there was overwhelming euphoria and support for the Three Lions. It was exactly thirty years since Bobby Moore lifted the Jules Rimet trophy aloft at Wembley in a truly iconic image that remains the pinnacle of sporting achievement in English football, but not only did Terry Venables have the squad to end a thirty year-long wait for success in a major international tournament, the whole country was right behind them. Euro 1996 provided a feel-good factor that has been sorely lacking ever since, and even though England ultimately failed in their quest to go all the way, it will always be remembered as a magical tournament that resembles the last time that fans could truly be proud of their team.

Alan Shearer describes the England side in 1996 as the best he played in during his eight-year internationa…

Football's Greatest Rivalries: Liverpool vs Manchester United

Liverpool vs Manchester United. Does it get any bigger than this? For over 100 years, the two powerhouses of English football have slugged it out on the hallowed turfs of Anfield and Old Trafford. It is arguably the nation's most prestigious footballing fixture and watched all over the world. However, here at The Football History Boys, we have continuously strived to look at football's history in a new light, looking beyond mere scorelines and opening up ideas of class, identity and gender alongside the stories we already know. The North-West Derby is no stranger from all of these ideals - a derby we need to discuss. 

So where do we start? With the first game between the two? Or even further back? Indeed the rivalry between Liverpool and Manchester is one which transcends far beyond football. Geographically there is only 35 miles between the two cities and the industrial revolution (1750-1900) brought them closer together again. Manchester was to be driven by the cotton indust…

The 1950s: Football's Finest Decade?

During our first year writing for The Football History Boys we decided to create a number of different 'series' in which we would discuss various aspects of the beautiful game. These included: 'The Crest Dissected'; 'Footballers At War'; and 'Football by Decade'. The latter of which provides the inspiration for today's piece. One decade in particular appealed to me more than any other - the 1950s. Of course, when discussing the pivotal moments of the twentieth-century, they are often attributed to the 'Roaring Twenties' or the 'Swinging Sixties'. However, in terms of football - the 50s provided perhaps the most important period of ten years throughout the history of the sport.
What do you think about when someone says to you - "the 1950s"? Elvis Presley...Rock and Roll...Cold War...Civil Rights...Television. Following the Second World War (1939-45), the global situation was at times on a knife-edge with US-Soviet relations …

Suffrage and Sport: A Peculiar Relationship

Well's been a funny old year. Perhaps the most controversial moment being Britain's insane idea to leave the European Union. Through social media and numerous television reports, politics has been thrust into the limelight for us all to debate and discuss. But it is not just in the UK, the US political scene has also developed into an increasingly desperate situation with Donald Trump securing the Republican nomination for the presidency. However, despite all the doom and gloom, something has stood strong amongst such uncertainty and been a source of unification - Sport. From Leicester's unlikely title triumph, Wales and Iceland's Euro heroics and Team GB's incredible Olympics in Rio, we have learned that sport can influence the socio-political scene like nothing else. 
We wrote a piece last year on the rise of female sport in Victorian/Edwardian Britain and questioned whether increased participation was the vital factor in their later right to vot…

Euro 1960: The Golden Age of Soviet Football

The recent history of Russian football has been steady, if somewhat unremarkable. Russian clubs did experience some success in Europe in the late 2000s. Furthermore, the national team has consistently qualified for major tournaments, even becoming the dark horses of Euro 2008. However, as Russia prepares to play in Euro 2016 this summer, the fact remains that they look a long way from actually challenging for honours. In this regard, they live in the shadow of their Soviet predecessors. The ‘Red Army’, as they were known, experienced their pinnacle in 1960, when they won the inaugural European Championships. In doing so, they carved their names into Russian footballing history. Generations have tried and failed to emulate them since. 

The Brilliant Quartet

The core of the team that propelled the Soviet Union to European glory emerged in the 1950s. They seemed to mirror the new brash, confident nature of the nation. The USSR had emerged victorious from WWII and cemented its place as a g…

Review: Art of Football - Ronaldinho T-shirt

“There are good players, great players and then there are the Artists.  These players saw things most wouldn’t. They did things most couldn’t. The pitch was their canvas and they painted their way into football immortality.” 
That’s part of the quote that arrived on a card with my t-shirt from Art of Football. This quote can no doubt be attributed to many of the players in the collection but perhaps none more so than Ronaldinho Ga├║cho. The Brazilian, with 97 caps for his country, reinvented the way people see the game and has a trophy cabinet many who have played the game could never emulate.
Born 21st March 1980, Ronaldinho began his career with Gremio in Brazil before moving on to Paris Saint Germain in 2001. In July 2003, Barcelona beat a number of European clubs to the exciting youngster’s signature, paying €30m. It was of course at Barca where Ronaldinho dominated Europe, winning the FIFA World Player of the Year (now FIFA Ballon d’Or) in 2004 & 2005. During his first campaign w…