A Potted History of Association Football in England (Backend)

This potted history of football which was previously split into a number of discrete sections has now been consolidated into a single article. To go to the relevant period in that article then click on this link.


Contents ..

Bibliography and further reading
Version history
To be done

Bibliography and further reading

It is normal practice to list books in alphabetic order of author’s name. However, I have listed them according to how much I have used the individual works, with my primary source at the top.

Russell, D., Football and the English, Carnegie Publishing, Preston, 1997
Morris, T., In A Class of Their Own: A History of English Amateur Football, Chequered Flag Publishing, Sheffield, 2015
GoldBlatt, D., The Ball is Round: A Global History of Football, Penguin Books, Clays ltd St. Ives, 2007 (first published by Viking in 2006)
Wilson, J., Inverting the Pyramid, Orion, London, 2013
Morris, T., Vain Games of No Value: A Social History of Association Football in Britain During Its First Long Century, AuthorHouse UK, 2016 (available in e-book form)
Collins, A., A Social History of Rugby Union, Routledge, 2009
Richards, H., A Game for Hooligans: The History of Rugby Union, Mainstream Publishing, 2007
Russell, J., Liverpool Ramblers AFC: The Complete History, 2013

The text incorporates various links to articles which can be found on the Internet. A list of further links follows, grouped by topic.

General Histories

Health & Fitness History – ancient sports
FIFA’s History of Football – Britain, the home of Football
FIFA’s History of Football – Global Growth
FIFA’s History of the Laws
History of the FA
Wikipedia – Medieval Football
Wikipedia – History of football in England
Wikipedia – History of association football
Gravesham Trophy Centre – The History of Football
Footballnetwork.org – History of Football
Rugbyfootballhistory.com – Origins of Rugby

Other old games of football

The Eton Wall Game

Other football histories

Charterhouse School and Old Boys
Modern non-league history
Old Xaverians FC (Liverpool)

Match officials

Football-stadiums – Referees and match officials
Wikipedia – Referee


The History of the Soccer Ball
Wikipedia – Ball (association football)
Wikipedia – Rugby Ball
Wikipedia – History of Football Boots
Wikipedia – Shin guards
Goalpostbooks.co.uk – The Evolution of the Football Field
Football-stadiums.co.uk – How Football Pitches Have Changed Through History
Wikipedia – Lawn Mower
Fourfourtwo – The Weird and Wonderful History of Goal Posts
Pundit Arena – John Alexander Brodie & the Creation of Football Nets

Grassroots game in decline (adult men 11 a-side)

Crisis in adult grass roots football – Owen Gibson in The Guardian
Rochdale’s amateur football league faces crisis
BBC Sport – Cost of playing and poor pitches puts off amateur footballers
Is Merseyside amateur football dying a slow death?
Where did it all go wrong for grassroots football?

Rugby Football

Tony Collins – evolution of the scrum
Tony Collins – occasional blogs
Tony Collins – history of the scrum
Rugby School – a history of Rugby Football


The British Newspaper Archive (requires subscription for unlimited access)
Non-leaguematters forum


Already detailed in the bibliography section, I have made heavy use of the writings of Dave Russell and Terry Morris. I would recommend their books.

Various individuals have assisted me in one way or another, either by reading the initial drafts or answering specific questions that I have asked. They include: David Evans, David Harding, Peter Jackson, Steve Kay, Emma King, Barry Leach, Richard Lloyd, Trevor Offord and Steve Street plus a number of others who preferred to remain anonymous. I thank them all.

When considering which internet link to use, where there is a choice, I have tended to select a link which I consider will have a longer life (if there is such a thing in the world of the Internet!). This has resulted in many links to Wikipedia. If you find any broken links I would appreciate it if you could let me know.

Please contact me if you suspect that any of the images infringe copyright.

Finally, all errors are mine.

Version history

Version 0.1 – January 12th, 2018 – mega drafty!
Version 0.2 – January 16th, 2018 – slightly less drafty
Version 0.3 – January 19th, 2018 – looking a bit more reasonable
Version 1.0 – January 25th, 2018 – first official release
Version 1.1 – March 1st, 2018 – changes to the early match officials section plus the addition of the following new sections: match officials from the 20th century; matchday programmes, fanzines et al; and small sided football
Version 1.2 – April 5th, 2018 – insertion of an addendum on rugby football in the 19th century.

To be Done

I am currently missing the dates that the Liverpool Business Houses League and the Liverpool CYMS League were founded. I have found a reference to a Business Houses League representative side playing against a Birmingham league in 1928. So, the Business Houses was presumably in existence before that date. There are indications that the CYMS League may date back to the early 1900s.

The section on the beginnings of grassroots football focuses on Liverpool. If anybody can provide similar information for another town or city then I will add it.

All assistance will be gratefully noted in the acknowledgement section above unless you wish to remain anonymous.


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