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on 13 February 2009
This is a great read for those who are interested in the origins of the worlds most popular sport. Find out how Mob football (still practiced on special occasions in some towns to this day) diversified to spawn soccer, rugby union, rugby league, Australian rules and Gaelic football and was transformed from a lawless and violent brawl into complex, tactical engagements between men of all social backgrounds. Learn how pitch size and markings, ball shapes, participant numbers, leagues and rules of play evolved over time either by accident or design to become the basis of the modern games that enthrall millions of people all over the world today. If you are a soccer fan, this book will encourage you to stand up to all those who decry it as a sport for thugs and make you feel proud to play a small part in its continuing history. It might also encourage you to go out and support your local team, even if like Sheffield FC, the world's very first football club, they presently find themselves in a position which is far from flattering.
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on 3 September 2013
This is a chatty, informal history of the early years of football focusing on Sheffield FC. The author has obviously done a lot of research - but therein lies the problem. Murphy is so passionate about his subject that he wants to tell you everything that he has discovered, whether relevant or not. He regularly wanders off subject and his digressions are at best irrelevant, at worst verging on the ridiculous. While reading about the football team in Attercliffe, we find out that John Stringfellow, a native of the area, was responsible for a powered flight in 1848 - and we are then given a page-long description of his flight. Interesting, but this is a book about football. In the same section, we are told that the author's mother grew up in Attercliffe - a fact of no interest whatsoever to anybody but the author and his family! It makes for a frustrating and difficult-to-follow read. Also, for a book that will be useful for other sports historians, it's a shame that there is no index. In terms of research, this book is worth 5 stars. In terms of the writing style and having to wade through so much irrelevance to find the valuable information, it's worth 1 star.
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on 14 July 2013
An interesting book about the origins of Association Football but I feel that it didn't do full justice to the very early years of Sheffield FC - the oldest football club in the World. nevertheless, it is an interesting book to read and to have.
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on 20 December 2011
This book is a must for anyone researching the history of soccer. All the information on the oldest club in the world is here in a pocket sized book.

Highly recommended to those who are interested not just in today's game - but more interested in how British football got to how it is now.

What a contrast to the overpaid prima-donnas on the pitch today.

A wonderful gift to someone from Sheffield to celebrate his 80th birthday!
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on 3 January 2012
I bought this for a German friend who had visited the club and couldn't belive the club's history and the things it gets up to today - international matches with big clubs !! An insight into the club - and an interesting read.
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on 22 February 2015
Thoroughly researched. Highly readable.
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