The Victorian goalkeeper

An article for Goalkeeper Magazine about the origin of the goalkeeper in Victorian times, it also profiles some of the best Victorian keepers.

“It’s difficult to imagine football without goalkeepers, but in football’s formative years the position didn’t exist. In the mid-19th century, before association football had been codified, there were numerous variations and sets of rules, but none of them accounted for a goalkeeper. The influential Cambridge rules, set out in 1848, stated that, ‘hands may be used only to stop a ball and place it on the ground before the feet.’ Any player could handle the ball, and therefore any player could keep goal, but there was no formal goalkeeping position.”

Read the full article in issue 5 of Goalkeeper Magazine.


Paul Brown

Hello. I am a writer called Paul Brown. This is my website. It's basically a portfolio of recent work, plus an outlet to post quick pieces and plug my books. I write about football history, extraordinary true stories, and all kinds of other stuff. For more info please see my about page or contact me.