Casting the net

John Alexander Brodie was one of the most prominent civil engineers to come out of the Victorian era. Based in Liverpool, he was a pioneer in areas such as motoring and housing. Yet his greatest achievement – by his own reckoning – was the invention, 125 years ago, of the football goal net.

 

The Real Escape to Victory

In 1914, at the outbreak of the First World War, several of Britain’s most famous footballers were imprisoned in the brutal Ruhleben internment camp, on the outskirts of Berlin. Surrounded by barbed wire and armed guards, they found freedom in the thing they knew best: football.

 

The birth of the fan

How did we become football fans? Many of us can trace the lineage of our support through our fathers, our grandfathers and so on. But association football has only been around for 150 years. At some point, perhaps six or seven generations ago, our ancestors discovered and embraced the emerging game.

 

The Amazing Archie Goodall

Archie Goodall was a highly-regarded Victorian footballer who later found fame with a bizarre strongman act ‘Walking the Loop’. This is the goal-scoring, opponent-kicking, fan-punching, wife-poisoning, car-crashing, gravity-defying tale of ‘one of the most remarkable personalities football has ever produced’.

 

Football floodlights

There’s something undeniably romantic about football floodlights, standing as beacons on rickety pylons, drawing fans toward grounds on drizzly evenings. I wrote a feature for FourFourTwo on the history and appeal of floodlights. It covers early attempts to illuminate football, the roll-out and reliance on electric light, plus failures, climbing, collapses, and sabotage.

 

Post-war football

This feature looks back to the start of the 1946-47 season, the first after the Second World War. It explores how how football got back on its feet and how it dealt with the devastating consequences of the war, in which at least 75 professional footballers were killed, grounds were destroyed, and priorities were changed.