The significance of the Corinthians Football Club, founded in 1882, has been widely acknowledged by historians of football and by sports historians generally. As a ’super club’ comprising the best amateur talent available they were an important formative influence on football in Britain from the 1880s to the 1930s. As a touring club - they first travelled to South Africa in 1897 and made regular forays into Europe and also to Canada, the United States and Brazil - they were the self-proclaimed standard bearers for gentlemanly values in sport.
Indeed for many years they were most famous football club in the world, drawing huge crowds and helping to ensure that the version of football emanating from the English public schools and universities in the mid-nineteenth century became a global game. Though their playing strength and influence waned after the First World War, they remained a significant force through to 1939, upholding ’true blue’ amateurism at a time when football was increasingly associated with professionalism and seen as a branch of commercial entertainment.
Whilst much has been written about the Corinthians, mainly by club insiders, this is the first complete scholarly history to cover their activities both in England and in other parts of the world. It critically reassesses the club’s role in the development of football and fills a gap in existing literature on the relationship between the progress of the game in England and globally. Most crucially, the book re-examines the sporting ideology of gentlemanly amateurism within the context of late-nineteenth century and early-twentieth century society.
"Chris Bolsmann and Dilwyn Porter's new book provides a meticulously researched history of the Corinthians - largely an attempt to provide some balance to accounts of the club, most of which of which were previously authored by insiders and former players. They strike the right balance in emphasizing the prominent place the club take in the pantheon of English football while pointing to more nuanced factors that might play down the club's influence. The sweep of the club's history is analysed while chapters are devoted to the various tours the club undertook. All are fascinating." - The Two Unfortunates
Chapter One: ‘A scratch team with gentlemanly instincts’: The Corinthians and English soccer in the late nineteenth century
Chapter Two: Decline and fall: The Corinthians in the twentieth century
Chapter Three: ‘Missionaries of Empire’: The Corinthians on tour in South Africa
Chapter Four: Communing with continental amateurism: Corinthians in Europe, c.1904-1939
Chapter Five: ‘Joy the Corinthians are coming!’ The Corinthian Football Club on tour in Canada and the United States
Chapter Six: Noblesse Oblige and the Corinthian sojourns in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo