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The Origins of the Football League: The First Season 1888/89 Paperback – 29 Jul 2013


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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Amberley Publishing (29 July 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1445618818
  • ISBN-13: 978-1445618814
  • Product Dimensions: 22.8 x 15.7 x 1.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 422,775 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

Author will be a guest speaker on the first League season at the National Football Museum in September. Will be expecting press coverage on his unveiling of 'who scored the first goal in the Football League'

About the Author

Mark Metcalf is a well-known and prolific sports writer with a speciality in pre-first world war football. He has written widely as a journalist, and is the author of Bright Red and The Golden Boot. He lives in West Yorkshire.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Book review - The First League Season by When Saturday Comes

This is the review by When Saturday Comes of my book on the 1888/89 season.

In 1888, during the early years of professional football, clubs began to look for a way to secure regular income beyond that generated by occasional cup-ties and friendly matches. It was Aston Villa director William McGregor who proposed the solution, suggesting that “the most promising clubs in England combine to arrange home and away fixtures each season.” As the Football League celebrates its anniversary 125 years later, Mark Metcalf’s extensively researched book examines the inaugural season of the game’s oldest league competition.

The Origins of the Football League opens with a brief but useful primer on the state of football in 1888. It was an evolving game in which there were no penalty kicks or goal nets, and goalkeepers could handle the ball anywhere within their own half. But growing interest and attendances allowed the League’s 12 founder members to flourish. Indeed, 11 of the 12 still play League football today – the exception is Accrington (not to be confused with Accrington Stanley), who folded in 1896.

The book traces the 188-89 season via a series of match reports, many of which are taken from contemporary newspapers. These early reports have, as Metcalf puts it, “a certain symmetry to them”, typically detailing the weather and pitch conditions, while studiously recording who won the toss before presenting a fairly perfunctory account of the play. “The visiting right made an attack that was cleared by Bethell,” reads an opening-day report for Bolton Wanderers v Derby County, “and in two minutes from the start Kenny had scored a fine goal for the Wanderers. A protest was made in vain.
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As someone who knows little about football, I bought this book as a present for a couple of avid fans, whose interest passes beyond the borders of tribal fanship, into a wider perspective of the game. Both books were received with great thanks and the feedback was more than enthusiastic in both cases, leading me to believe it was an enjoyable and informative read. I would certainly recommend it to other fans of the game - or to those looking for something for fans of the game!
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Format: Paperback
Disappointing in that the actual story behind the League's formation is skimmed over in just a few pages. However the incredible amount of research that has gone into making the body of the book is stunning. An absolute must have for football historians everywhere
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By Dom McKenzie on 10 Jan. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great book; great price. Just how did those 12 clubs get by in that first, historic season; and many in grounds we no longer recognise? This tells it all.
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