How the FA Cup Saved Football

Please share:While many football fans will know that the FA Cup is the worlds oldest-running football tournament, what they may not know is that without it we may not even be playing football at all… At the time of writing, it’s the fifth round of the FA Cup, February 2019, and I’m fuming. I’ve just […]

Archibald Leitch, Pioneering Stadium Architect

Please share:Meet the Scotsman who designed some of Britain and Ireland’s most iconic stadiums, yet whose career could so easily have been ended when tragedy struck on his very first job. As football took off in both Scotland and England in the late Victorian era, so the public flocked in ever increasing numbers to football […]

Football History: How football went professional

Please share:Debates over footballers’ pay is nothing new. English football went professional in 1885 and Scotland followed eight years later. Rugby experienced a similar debate in the late Victorian era, which led to the split between League and Union. Union took another 110 years to go professional. But this is the story of the heated […]

Juventus's Allianz Stadium

Podcast: Juventus

Please share: We discuss the past, present and future of Italy’s most-popular football club, Juventus, with Turin-based Adam Digby, author of Juventus: A History in Black and White. We cover: The club’s long history The Heysel tragedy and the quest for elusive European glory Calciopoli The Stadio Delle Alpi and the move to the Allianz Stadium […]

The underrated Swiss role as football pioneers

Please share: The Swiss national football team’s fortunes have fluctuated over the years but have always failed to puncture the latter stages of tournaments. For any modern follower of the game, it may come as a surprise that this small landlocked country played a key role in the development of the sport in the latter […]

Billy Meredith

Football’s First Icon: The Story of Billy Meredith

Please share:Nowadays, it’s commonplace for footballers to have boot deals, brand endorsements and earn silly money from sponsored tweets. But for all the riches they enjoy today they can thank football’s original icon, Welshman Billy Meredith. This is his story. William Henry Meredith was born in 1874 in the mining town of Chirk, 10 miles […]

First floodlit football match

Bramall Lane: The Pioneer Stadium

Please share:Home fans and visitors alike may not be aware of the significance of Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane. But a number of football firsts came from this ground, among them the first use of floodlights. Bramall Lane shares the distinction with the Kennington Oval in London as the only arenas in England to have hosted […]

How the Football Association was founded

Please share: Fans of the art deco architectural style will love the white behemoth of the Freemasons’ Hall off London’s Holborn thoroughfare. On a clear day, it gleams brilliant white in the morning sun while its clean, straight lines cast neat shadows. One of London’s famous blue plaques is hung on the Great Queen Street […]

Queens Park FC

Queen’s Park: Scotland’s Pioneer Football Club

Please share:Scots played a key role in spreading the game of football around the world in the 19th century, pioneering the sport’s adoption in modern footballing giants such as Spain, Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay. And the Scottish game all kicked off in one corner of Glasgow. While in England, the first dedicated football club Sheffield […]

World Cup trophy

Jules Rimet: Father of the World Cup

Please share:The anthem for England fans during the Russia World Cup of 2018 – as it is for most tournaments – was Three Lions, with its famous lines “football’s coming home”. If there were to be a homecoming for the FIFA World Cup Trophy then it would be Theuley-les-Lavoncourt in the Franche-Comté region of eastern […]

Uruguay fans

The Birth of Football in Uruguay

Please share:Given its tiny size on the global stage – just 3.4 million inhabitants spread over 176,000 km2 – the Oriental Republic of Uruguay has punched above its weight arguably more than any other country. Here’s how football took off in the River Plate nation. South America’s second smallest country after Suriname was the first […]

History: How Athletic Bilbao was formed

Please share: While Spain’s first match took place in Andalucia on 8 March 1890 between Recreativo de Huelva and Sevilla FC, in the north the game was also starting to get attention. As early as 3 May 1894, local students took on a group of British workers in the Basque city of Bilbao. The city […]

Podcast: Who was Don Patricio?

Please share: In this podcast, we hear about the fascinating life of Patrick O’Connell, who had an impressive playing career around the time of the First World War and an even more distinguished managerial career in Spain. He managed Real Betis to its first and, so far, only La Liga title in 1935 and then […]

Pioneers: How football took hold in Portugal

Please share: On the night of Sunday 10 July 2016 in Paris, Portugal slammed the door shut on France’s talented attack for 120 minutes despite losing its talismanic leader Cristiano Ronaldo early on. It wasn’t a vintage final – major tournament finals rarely are in the modern era – but in those dying seconds of […]

Football Travel Podcast: The Roots of AC Milan and Australian Groundhopping

Please share: This week we discover the Nottingham roots of one of the world’s greatest clubs, AC Milan, plus we take a look at how ‘soccer’ is competing for attention against the more established football codes in Australia. The Roots of AC Milan (00:51): We talk to author Robert Nieri and LeftLion, the team behind […]