The first Northern League match at St James’ Park was played 125 years ago in September 1889 between the two Newcastle clubs West End and East End. St James’ was the home ground of West End, and it looked very different to how it does today.
A review of the book The Evergreen in Red and White by Steven Kay, a fictional account of the life of the Victorian footballer Rab Howell of Sheffield United. Howell was the first footballer of Romany origin to play for England. A slight but skilful half-back, he was a star of the excellent Sheffield United team of the 1890s.
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.
Archie Goodall was once regarded as ‘the world’s greatest international footballer’. This feature tells the goal-scoring, opponent-kicking, fan-punching, wife-poisoning, ticket-touting, car-crashing, law-breaking, gravity-defying tale of ‘one of the most remarkable personalities the professional side of football has ever produced’.
A revised and updated edition of the Unofficial Football World Champions book is now available from all good book shops. The book traces football’s unofficial champions from the very first international match in 1872, and tells hundreds of stories involving legendary teams and footballing minnows, classic finals and forgotten friendlies, celebrated players and unsung heroes.
A festive feature for FourFourTwo magazine, this piece looks at the lost tradition of football on Christmas Day, and includes tales of drunken players, fan protests, mass riots, abandoned goalkeepers, and lots of snow.
My review of Mark Metcalf’s book The Origins of the Football League: The First Season 1888/89 is in the latest issue of When Saturday Comes. As the Football League celebrates its anniversary, this extensively-researched book examines the inaugural season of the game’s oldest league competition.
Goal-Post Vol 2 is a second anthology of Victorian football writing, containing first-hand accounts of the birth and development of the world’s greatest game, written by those who were there to witness it. Presented over two volumes, Goal-Post highlights some of the players, officials, clubs and matches that helped shape and define the game.