Sunday, 10 May 2015

Historical Football Stories

This is my new e-book, available at:  
    So far as I am aware these stories are the earliest football stories known. Most of them were first published in  a book called Twenty Five Football Stories in 1908 by George Newnes, who published the Strand Magazine, an illustrated monthly magazine of stories, topical articles, and trivia, best known for first publishing the Sherlock Holmes stories. The collection was actually 14 association football and 11 rugby union stories: back then, when the codes were still quite novel, less of a distinction was made. For this collection I have just published the association football ones (rugby being to me something very different and alien — coming from Sheffield where we have no strong tradition of either rugby union or rugby league).
    The collection includes an early P G Wodehouse story: Petticoat Influence - a story told from the point of view of a female Bertie Wooster type. Typical Wodehouse humour comes through.
    There are also four new stories: three of mine and one by Niall Kennedy, a Partick Thistle historian.
I first came across these stories when researching my novel The Evergreen in red and white. I wanted to get a feel for how football was perceived outside of the newspaper match reports, and fiction can provide a better insight into some aspects of life than factual accounts: particularly emotional life.
    These stories provide huge insights into the obsessions of a certain class, with regards football, at the end of the 19th century. As history is the account written by the powerful, so these stories are football as told by the literate middle classes, and so should be read in context. The working class footballers of the time let their boots do the talking and fans did their talking in the pub afterwards — consequently, their voices are few and far between.
    I'd love to hear what people reckon to them.
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