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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 v

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

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 Footba ll . This quote can no doubt be attributed to many of the players in the collection but perhaps none more so than Ronaldinho Gaúcho. 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 f

Together Standing Tall: An Early History of Irish Sport

Last weekend saw the start of the Six Nations and an opening tie between Wales and Ireland. As ever the atmosphere around my home city of Cardiff was incredible - no doubt the same across the Irish Sea in Dublin. In fact Dublin has had a lot to be cheerful for over the past year following the Republic's football team qualifying for Euro 2016 alongside England, Wales and its neighbour across the border to the North. Watching the rugby however was what prompted the start of this piece - as both Northern and Republic came together to compete side-by-side on Saturday. Irish sport indeed sees its roots deep in a mixture of social and political constraints - but why? Here at TFHB, we tend to focus the great deal of our writing on British sport and its intriguing history. Of course 'the Republic of Ireland is not part of Britain' I hear you say....but until 1921 it was and it is in these earliest years that the next 90 years of Irish sport were to be set out - sometimes for the

A Brief History of Premier League Title Winners

It's quickly becoming a more reasonable hope that we might find ourselves with a new Premier League champion at the end of the season. Seeing as only five separate teams have ever taken home the title, it seemed fitting to provide some history about the teams that have won the title. In 1992, the Premier League replaced the Football League First Division as the top flight of English football. The modern-day Premier League has been dominated by the same crew of six or so clubs since the turn of the millennium. Even among those, only a scant few have ever taken the title. Manchester United has won the league a record 13 times while Chelsea has the second-most titles with four. Behind them are Arsenal with three, Manchester City with two and Blackburn Rovers with one. As with most stories, the best place to start is at the beginning. For our tale, that's the 1992-93 season and the beginning of the continued dominance of Manchester United. The inaugural Premier League season

Just Why Do We Love Football? A Historical Perspective

In September I started my PGCE course with the view of qualifying to become a primary school teacher. In fact, it was one of our 'P.E.' training days which inspired this piece. During a workshop on the subject a great deal of the learning was done with footballs and volleyballs in order to generate an idea of what could be done which each apparatus - throwing, catching and of course kicking. Within a few minutes a fair number of the students, myself included, were doing keep-ups, passing and shooting into an imaginary goal, leaving one coursemate a little baffled - she asked me, "why do people love football so much!?" - which got me thinking...why indeed? Over the last three years since we set up The Football History Boys - Gareth and I seemed to have each focused on specific eras of the game's illustrious past, with the Victorian era being one of certain intrigue. So this is where we begin, with the games origins - did people love it from the start? The simple

The Birth of the Premier League - Did it make or break English Football?

I have been brought up with the Premier League, to me when I think about English football it's all I know. However it has not always been the case; for those younger fans who have not looked back at life before the Premier League, it seems a world away. At The Football History Boys we pride ourselves on covering a wide spread of the history of the beautiful game, but I realised that actually this period is blank in our writings. So let's do a bit of research and find out about a decision in 1992 that some say broke, others made, English football. My University dissertation was 10,000 words about the era of football hooliganism that took hold of the English game in the 1970s and 1980s. In 1975 FIFA described English football hooliganism as a "disease" [1] and then in 1980 The Times' sport editor,  Nicholas Keith, wrote: “if we do not (do something) there is a real danger that football will die for lack of support, because only thugs will go to watch it… Football

The Football History Boys at 3: The Top 100

On 1st February The Football History Boys will be celebrating its third birthday! Whilst in our second year of our history degrees at Swansea University we decided to ask the question we all want answered - 'Who is the greatest footballer of all-time?' - The usual suspects were thrown about by us and our other housemates....Pele, Maradona, Messi....but as we looked deeper into the histories of these respective players, we began to notice other names frequently coming to our attention. The likes of Ferenc Puskas, Billy Meredith, Lily Parr - footballers whose stories were yet to really be dissected. So we set ourselves a task - to discover the incredible history of the beautiful game, from the Victorians to the present day.  We have written over 150 pieces to date, the majority by Gareth and myself, but also with the amazing contributions from over 20 guest writers - many of which are our friends and many from our wider readership. Indeed are initial aim was achieved in early