Elephant football

In the summer of 1899, football’s most famous goalkeeper took on a Sanger’s Circus elephant in what was billed as ‘The Greatest Novelty in the World’ – an elephant-versus-man penalty shoot-out. This is the story of one of the the great football sensations of the Victorian era.

 

Still with us: Darwen

The town of Darwen in east Lancashire hosts one of the oldest surviving former Football League clubs, with the current AFC Darwen a continuation of the original Darwen FC, founded in the early 1870s. It’s the smallest town ever represented in the top division, and it also holds some unwanted records.

 

Inside out

In the winter of 1905, an American entrepreneur launched an eccentric scheme to create Britain’s first indoor football league. Based at London’s Olympia, the scheme was opposed by the FA and ended in disaster for its protagonists. Written for When Saturday Comes and also published by The Guardian.

 

Screen Test: The Game

Revisiting Danny Baker’s Sunday League football TV show The Game, featuring hungover players and forgotten boots, potato-patch pitches and taped-up goal-nets, half-time cigarettes and full-time cans of lager, and plenty of swearing, plus at least one ball that ends up under a passing London bus.