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Showing posts from July, 2015

The Glorious Summer of 1934 - A Review of "Half-Time"

I t has been said plenty of times that sport is about far more than just what happens on the pitch/court/course/track. We adopted that at The Football History Boys with our slogans, "Like football, love it's history!" and "more than just scorelines". Over the past two hundred years, sport has been closely entwined with British culture. It can be said the industrial revolution led to the growth in weekend football and the ability to earn a living through the game; as well as the teaching of cricket and "Englishness" being a way to bring up Children in Victorian schools; and the 1948 Olympics being a major success for national morale in the UK.  Ben and I often receive emails asking if we would like to review various football history books. A few weeks ago Bloomsbury told us about a book written by Robert Winder, it's called " Half-Time - The Glotious Summer of 1934 ". Of course we said yes, because... well, it sounded like a book a lot li

"An Age of Progress": Did Sport Inspire Women's Suffrage?

Over the past two and a half years, since we set up The Football History Boys, there are two areas of history which we have researched and written about extensively - the Victorian Era and Women's sporting history. This piece is going to combine the two as we explore the sporting revolution and the impact of women. Prior to c.1860 the social order of Britain was relatively firm - the 1832 reform act had promised much but delivered little. Women were well and truly second class citizens held back by a misogynistic, male dominated society. However, from 1863 the 'sporting revolution' saw the codifications of football, tennis, rugby and a great deal of other games. As popularity in each grew, the opportunities for women to play also evolved by the end of the nineteenth century - coinciding with the campaign for female suffrage. How much was the suffragette movement inspired by sport? The subject of gender in sport is always one of interest, but also one which is vital to und

AFC Bournemouth - The Seaside Club with the Stunning Rise

On 8th August 2015, AFC Bournemouth will make their Premier League debut as they host Aston Villa at Dean Court. Not only will this be Bournemouth's first ever Premier League match but it will be their first ever top tier clash. Last season Bournemouth came out on top of a very tight Championship, notching 90 points, sitting 1 point clear of second placed Watford. Every single fan who watched the Cherries at any point last season would agree that their promotion was well deserved with manager Eddie Howe forming a team capable of exciting, possession-based attacking football. Now, as the South Coast club prepare for life in the fast lane, we take a look at their meteoric rise. AFC Bournemouth in their current form were founded in the Autumn of 1899 as Boscombe FC. The club were created from the remains of the old Boscombe St. John's Lads' Institute FC that had existed from 1890-1899. The club website [1] details how initially Boscombe would just compete in local district

Over Land and Sea: Chelsea FC in the Great in War - Review

Over the last two and a half years, The Football History Boys have written extensively about footballers and their roles in both the First and Second World Wars. It is something that today seems unimaginable - sporting heroes fighting for their countries overseas but in 1914 & 1939 it became reality. Earlier this week, we received a book from The History Press - all about footballers in WWI and more particularly the role Chelsea FC played. Now, as many of our readers will be keen to point out, I am not usually Chelsea's biggest fan but from 1914-1918 any footballing rivalries were put firmly to one side as the nation came together to achieve a greater goal - victory. Over Land and Sea is an excellent account of one club's role in the 'Great War', how players, fans and managers were all affected at home and abroad. In this review we are going to dissect the book as well as offer a wider footballing history and context. Alexandra Churchill has left no stone unt

"A Mass Phenomenon": The Birth of Cycling and Le Tour

In the past decade, there has been no sport in which the British Isles has excelled in more than cycling. Most sporting attention is put into football or rugby but in terms of success, it is hard to find a sport which can eclipse the achievements of Hoy, Wiggins, Cavendish and Trott. Cycling is often categorized into four disciplines - track, road, mountain and BMX - the former two being of particular interest to British fans. However, this piece is looking outside of the velodrome and onto the road - a sport which like many others was born out of the Victorian sporting revolution. Within two decades of its introduction came with the greatest cycling race in the world - Le Tour de France. The tour has continued to grow over the last 100 years in one of the globe's greatest annual events - but how did it come to be and how was it received?  Before getting completely stuck into Le Tour it is useful to understand how cycling initially developed into a competitive sport which enter

A National Pastime? The Growth of Football in Wales, 1863-1914

It feels like forever since I last wrote a piece for The Football History Boys, but this summer we are back! Over the last two and a half years, one period of time has fascinated me more than any other - the Victorian Era. It was in this time that we saw the growth of the British Empire, the changing of social order and of course the beginnings of codified sport. In this piece we are going to dive straight into this 'sporting revolution 'and learn how football was played, perceived and pondered by people rich and poor. More specifically we are going to see how it impacted Wales. The last few years has seen a rise in the popularity of the game in the country, due mainly to the success of the national team and the growth of genuine superstars really starting to rival their rugby counterparts. So how did the game come to Wales? And how did it compare to its oval-shaped rival?  Football's codification in 1863 launched what is now colloquially known as the sporting revoluti