Goal-Post: Victorian Football Vol 2, a second anthology of 19th century football writing, is out now. I edited the book, and wrote the introduction. It contains 21 articles on various aspects of early football from 21 Victorian writers, some well-known, some less so. Several remain anonymous or hidden behind nom de plumes, as was common at the time.
One notable featured writer is the great Corinthian CB Fry, who discusses the relative merits of football versus cricket. As one of only 12 men to have represented England at both sports, he is almost uniquely qualified to comment. Fry also discusses the rise of professionalism, which, he says, “has to a large extent spoilt Association football as a recreation”. Ironically, Fry would go on to play professionally for Southampton and (briefly) Portsmouth.
RG Graham provides an early history of the Football Association, republished here on the occasion of the FA’s 150th anniversary. Honorary secretary Graham does not come across as a particularly modest writer. He ensures his own involvement is clearly recorded for posterity, while perhaps downplaying the valuable contributions of the likes of CW Alcock, Arthur Pember and Ebenezer Cobb Morley. Continue reading