Islington Corinthians may not be a famous name, but these footballing Phileas Foggs left their mark on history with an extraordinary 1930s round-the-world jaunt involving leopards, cocaine, cobras, crocodiles, and a bullet-strewn carry-on up the Khyber.
As part of FourFourTwo’s 50 Best Football Chants special, why do Liverpool fans sing You’ll Never Walk Alone, why do West Ham fans sing I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles, and why on Earth do Stoke City fans sing Delilah (a creepy murder ballad about an insane voyeur who knifes his cheating lover to death)?
Two pieces in this issue, on football’s original hard man and a football manager’s less-famous brother. Nick Ross was the “demon back” who captained Preston North End and Everton in the late-1890s. And Harry Chapman was the brother of legendary Arsenal manager Herbert.
Footballers haven’t always had 15 minutes to catch their breath. The original Laws of the Game included no reference to half-time, and instead required teams to change ends after each goal was scored. A short piece on the history of half-time for FourFourTwo.
First mooted in 1937 yet only mandatory for Premier League clubs since this season, undersoil heating has endured a chequered history – starring frost, flame-throwers and a fuming Fergie. Also in this issue, a short piece on strange football tech, including robotic goalkeepers.
The magic sponge is one of football’s most familiar artefacts, having being variously applied to players’ bumps and bruises for more than a hundred years. This is the story of how a cold wet sponge became regarded in football as an apparently miraculous cure for virtually any injury.
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.