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Showing posts from 2014

The Crest Dissected - Celtic FC

When we started The Football History Boys in February 2013, one of the first articles I wrote was about sectarianism in the Old Firm Rivalry between Glasgow Celtic and Glasgow Rangers. The Crest Dissected series meanwhile is one of the most successful in our short existence so today I take a look at the history of one of those great clubs, Celtic FC. Celtic Football Club were founded on 6 November 1887 in a meeting at St Mary's Church Hall but would play their first fixture in 1888. One of the original members, Catholic Marist Brother Walfrid from Sligo in Ireland, saw Celtic as an opportunity to help the poor East End of Glasgow. The vision of the club upon founding was to: "supply the East End conferences of the St Vincent de Paul Society with the funds for the maintenance of the 'dinner tables' of our needy children in the missions of St Mary's, St Michael's and Sacred Hearts. Many cases of sheer poverty are left unaided through the lack of means."

Football's Greatest Rivalries: England vs Scotland

Last week saw Scotland host England at Celtic Park in front of almost 50,000 fans. It was a fixture played north of the border for the first time in 15 years, but one which is like no other in international football. In a new series of blogs, The Football History Boys are going to look deeper into the rivalries which make football the sport we all know and love. There is perhaps no place better to start than with England vs Scotland - the oldest fixture in international football and one steeped in political, social and cultural history. From 1872 there has been no shortage of stories in a match which continues to make history to this very day. England vs Scotland of course is not just a fixture which has shaped football history, but one which has encompassed almost every sport. From rugby and the Calcutta Cup to the various sports of the Commonwealth Games, it is a rivalry which has forged national identities, controversy and often political tensions. Just two months ago, the very fu

Footballers At War: World War II

Way back in February 2013, I wrote one of my first pieces for The Football History Boys - "Footballers At War: 1939-1945." Within the article I briefly skirted around the edges of a topic which had the potential to be explored in more depth. Since we began we have attempted to continue exploring and discovering the ways in which football has affected more than just those in attendance every Saturday afternoon. In 1939, war once more came to Britain, the horrors of the First World War ready to be performed again in the theatre of conflict. What World War II was to provide was 'total war' - everyone had to play their part - including footballers.  Before diving straight into the role footballers played in history's most deadly conflict, it is useful to understand just how the Second World War began. In hindsight it is easy to point the finger at Germany and the fascist dictatorship of Adolf Hitler, but a number of wider causes can be found. In the 1930s, Europe

The Football History Boys Win Major National Award!

Ben (left) & Gareth (right) receive their 'Best New Blog' award! The Football History Boys were founded in February 2013 in Gareth's bedroom of our University house in Swansea. We first set out to compile a list of the top 50 players of all time but this grew to 100, 150 and 200 before we settled on the "Top 250" shortlist. Our website then developed into us making the most of our history degrees and combining it with our love of football, The Football History Boys as we know it were born! One of our aims became to receive a nomination for the Football Blogging Awards , something that honoured casual football writing from across the globe. It was an event that much like our site had grown from almost nothing into a major national award each year and we were privileged to receive our nomination for "Best New Football Blog" in October 2014. With our website now raking up views of over 200,000 we just wanted to say thank you for the votes and supp

The Black Spider: Lev Yashin

Thane Macdonald examines the incredible story of a young lad who grew up in a war-torn Russia working in a factory as a 12 year old before becoming arguably the greatest goalkeeper to ever play the game. Yashin was voted as the #27  in our Top 250 countdown earlier this year - the highest goalkeeper on the list. Astoundingly he is a name which although respected and revered by his peers, is often forgotten by many modern writings and publications. So just who was the 'Black Spider' and what legacy has he left?  Lev Ivanovich Yashin was born in Moscow in October 1929. He was from a family of industrial workers and was only twelve when he was required to support the war effort by working in a munitions factory. Fortunately, this afforded Yashin the opportunity to play for the factory football team. Playing here, he was spotted by Dynamo Moscow and was invited to play for the youth team on the spot. It took Yashin until 1950 to break into the first team. He played poorly in

Hard Case: The Autobiography of Jimmy Case - Review

Here at The Football History Boys we like to give special mention to many of football's 'unsung heroes'. One of these is Jimmy Case. Now, to many Liverpool fans this name is rightly held among the greats of the club, but is often forgotten in wider British football culture, - so why is this? With the release of his autobiography, published by John Blake, we can look deeper into the career of one Merseyside's greatest talents. From the opening page, Case offers us an intriguing look at his playing days from Liverpool and Brighton to Southampton and Halifax.  When people think of the great Liverpool sides of the 1970s and 1980s it is easy to get lost in a wave of nostalgia surrounding the likes of Keegan, Rush and Dalglish. But what Jimmy Case offers for Liverpool fans is a homegrown academy product who rose to very pinnacle of European Football. Growing up in Allerton - the same neighbourhood of Paul McCartney and my Dad - Case can be seen as a true representative of

Liverpool's Balotelli Dilemma: How do you solve a problem like Mario?

Mario Balotelli - the enigma that has beaten a number of managers in the past. Today the maverick Italian is being hounded by fans and media alike on social networks who believe the £16m "bargain" that Liverpool paid for him now looks as big an error as the £35m for Andy Carroll. Yesterday Mario Balotelli committed what now apparently is the worst crime a footballer can commit, he swapped his shirt at half time with Real Madrid's Pepe in the 3-0 Champions League squashing by the current title holders. The ever ridiculous Mark Lawrenson has today called this "sheer madness" and Brendan Rodgers told the media that Mario Balotelli will face an in house punishment for, reiterating: "Any action would be kept within ourselves. We've had a conversation. Case closed." Mario Balotelli began his career with Lumezzane before moving on to Inter Milan permanently in 2007. He would play 59 times in Serie A, scoring 20 goals and quickly becoming a prodigy