The Leaguers

BookThe Leaguers

The Leaguers

The Making of Professional Football in England 1900-1939


May 1st, 2005

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The Football Association of England has become a multi-billion pound industry. But how did English football become not only the defining sport of the nation but also one of the most successful sports in the world? With The Leaguers, football historian Matthew Taylor tells the story of the early days of professional football in England, revealing the distant origins of today’s game. Making extensive use of archival materials from football clubs, unions, and associations, Taylor presents a compelling picture of football teams and players in the early days of the twentieth century, tracing the development of the system of professional teams from the hundreds of town, club, and school teams that dotted the countryside. The top tier of those teams comprised the Football League that, by the 1920s, was synonymous with the very idea of professional football in the minds of fans and sportswriters alike. The Leaguers illuminates the role played by the Football League—and by successful clubs in the League such as Arsenal and Aston Villa—as the rules, standards, and structure of the modern game were being codified. Taylor also considers the careers and influences of early players, including such well-known names as Billy Meredith, “Dixie” Dean, and Alex James. As football’s popularity grew and sports media proliferated, players found themselves becoming national stars, their portraits on cigarette cards bought by fans throughout England. The first full-length history of the early days of the Football League, The Leaguers will be essential reading for football fans who want to know how their favorite sport grew from modest origins to the worldwide phenomenon that is English football today.

Author Information

Matthew Taylor is a lecturer in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Portsmouth. He is coauthor of 'Moving with the Ball: The Migration of Professional Footballers' and author of 'Association Game'.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
Title Page3
List of Tables and Figures8
1: Making a National League25
2: Governing Football58
3: Players I: Employment Conditions108
4: Players II: Labour Relations150
5: League Football and the Question of Equality196
6: Away from Home: The League and International Football225
7: The League, the Public and the Promotion of Football270
Appendix: Management Committee Members, 1900-39312