How Football Began: A Global History of How the World's Football Codes Were Born (Paperback) book cover

How Football Began

A Global History of How the World's Football Codes Were Born

By Tony Collins

© 2019 – Routledge

208 pages | 12 B/W Illus.

e–Inspection Copy
Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Paperback: 9781138038752
pub: 2018-08-16
SAVE ~$7.99
Available for pre-order
Hardback: 9781138038745
pub: 2018-08-16
SAVE ~$29.00
Available for pre-order

FREE Standard Shipping!


This ambitious and fascinating history considers why, in the space of sixty years between 1850 and 1910, football grew from a marginal and un-organised activity to become the dominant winter entertainment for millions of people around the world.

The book compares the development of each of the major forms of football (soccer, rugby union, rugby league, American, Canadian, Australian and Gaelic), in the context of the growth of commercialised leisure in the late nineteenth century, a product of rising living standards, the second industrial revolution, breakthroughs in mass communications technology and the new modern democratic spirit of the age.

Important reading for students of sports studies, history, sociology, development and management, this book is also a valuable resource for scholars and academics involved in the study of football in all its forms, as well as an engrossing read for anyone interested in the early history of football.

Table of Contents


  1. The Failure of the Football Association
  2. Before the Beginning: Folk Football
  3. The Gentleman’s Game
  4. Sheffield: Football Beyond the Metropolis
  5. The End of the Universal Game
  6. From the Classes to the Masses
  7. Glasgow: Football Capital of the 19th Century
  8. The Coming of Professionalism
  9. Women and Football: Kicking against the Pricks
  10. Rugby Football: A House Divided
  11. Melbourne: A City and Its Football
  12. Australian Rules and the Invention of Football Traditions
  13. Ireland: Creating Gaelic Football
  14. Football and Nationalism in Ireland and Beyond
  15. American Football: The Old Game in the New World
  16. Canadian Football: Between Scrum and Snapback
  17. Rugby League Football: From People’s Game to Proletarian Sport
  18. The 1905-06 Football Crisis: North America
  19. The 1905-06 Football Crisis: Rugby
  20. Soccer: The Modern Game for the Modern World
  21. The Global Game



About the Author

Tony Collins is Professor of History in the International Centre for Sports History and Culture at De Montfort University, UK. His previous books include Rugby's Great Split, Rugby League in Twentieth Century Britain, and A Social History of English Rugby Union - each of which won the Lord Aberdare prize for sports history book of the year – as well as The Oval World, his magisterial global history of rugby. In 2009, Social History of English Rugby Union was selected as a book of the year by the New Statesman, the Guardian and the Independent on Sunday.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings: