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All With Smiling Faces: How Newcastle Became United

A wander through Newcastle’s early history to discover how the club came to mean so much to so many. Covering the first 30 years, from its foundation as Stanley FC in 1881 to the triumphant FA Cup win in 1910, the book visits the grounds, meets the players, mingles with the fans, and relives the matches that made Newcastle United.

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Posted 29 September 2014
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The Victorian Football Miscellany

A quirky and fascinating collection of trivia, facts and anecdotes from football’s earliest years. Delve into an absorbing world of ox-bladder balls, baggy-kneed knickerbockers and outstanding moustaches, and read remarkable tales of the first ever cup final, the invention of the shinpad, the evolution of dribbling, the first own goal and a penalty-taking elephant.

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Posted 9 April 2013
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British football’s biggest crowd

John Cairney still has his match ticket, yellowed and minus its stub, in his drawer of mementos. He doesn’t remember much about the actual match, but he does remember the vast sea of people, the ear-splitting wall of noise and the sort-of collective madness that surrounded and enveloped him. The date was Saturday 17 April 1937, the match was Scotland versus England, and John was part of the British football’s biggest ever crowd.

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Posted 12 June 2015
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Fathers of Football book review

Britain did not invent football, as Sepp Blatter would no doubt remind, but it did knock it into shape, drawing up rules, forming clubs, organising competitions, and sending the association version out into the world. In his book Fathers of Football, Keith Baker profiles several pioneering British football missionaries, many of whom remain relatively unknown in their home country.

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Posted 12 June 2015