The Origins of the Football League: The First Season 1888/89 Paperback – 15 Jul 2013
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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'
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'See all Product Description
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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.Read more ›
However, I think that some opportunities have been lost with this book. Whilst there are some grainy photos of the old grounds as well as sketches from the period that help you visualise what spectators might have experienced, I felt the book could really have done with an introduction to each team which explained its origins and maybe helped describe why teams like Everton were selected as opposed to Bootle or why Padiham were surpassed by local rivals Burnley. The information about kit colour is only mentioned in passing and colour plates of the outfits would have been a brilliant addition.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
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.Published on 10 Jan. 2014 by Dom McKenzie
I bought this as an Albion fan, as Albion were, of course, one of the hallowed twelve. In the end I was disappointed; it lacked sufficient research, despite covering every game in... Read morePublished on 4 Oct. 2013 by Baggieman