1st Edition

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

By Tony Collins Copyright 2019
    218 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    218 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

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

    The book explores how the world’s football codes - soccer, rugby league, rugby union, American, Australian, Canadian and Gaelic - developed as part of the commercialised leisure industry in the nineteenth century. Football, however and wherever it was played, was a product of the second industrial revolution, the rise of the mass media, and the spirit of the age of the masses.

    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.

    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


    Tony Collins is Emeritus 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, A Social History of English Rugby Union and The Oval World – each of which won the Lord Aberdare prize for sports history book of the year – as well as his global history Sport in Capitalist Society.

    "The origins of football’s many codes and their complex relationship to each other has been one of sporting history's great grey areas, dominated by hearsay and invention. No longer. Tony Collins’ cool and illuminating How Football Began brings range, precision and sources to bear on the matter. As is often the case, the truths that emerge are infinitely more interesting than the myths they dispel." - David Goldblatt, Author of The Ball is Round: A Global History of Football and The Game of Our Lives

    "Collins takes a fascinating look at the history, development, branching, and codification of football in all of its forms around the world, particularly in the late 19th century … Because the connections between these sports has long been forgotten, Collins weaves a meticulous history of them devoid of myth and speculation. How Football Began charts today’s remarkable global reach and the spectacle of football in all of its forms. Summing Up: Highly recommended." - B. D. Singleton, California State University San Bernardino, CHOICE May 2019

    “Collins cleverly untangles the spatial and temporal web of football’s socioeconomic history into a linear medium while also weaving together the perspectives of administrators and the press from archival records with secondary literature to build a map representing the “primordial soup” nature of early football.” - Katrina Cohen-Palacios, York University

    "The book is also well-written and comprehensible and gives new insights both for people with practical experiences from football and for researchers, students and others without own experience from the sport itself. I therefore recommend this book to scholars and students of the beautiful game in sport history, sociology of sport, sport development, sport management, as well as for practitioners involved in football in all its forms. It is especially of great interest for readers interested in the early history of football. The book is not about football only, but about the society that created it, and I especially appreciate that women’s involvement in the various football codes is included, which seldom is found in football research." - Bente Ovedie Skogvang, Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences, idrottsforum.org