The Association Game: A History of British Football

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9780582505964: The Association Game: A History of British Football
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Book by Taylor Matthew

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The story of British football's journey from public school diversion to mass media entertainment is a remarkable one. The Association Game traces British football from the establishment of the earliest clubs in the nineteenth century to its place as one of the prominent and commercialised leisure industries at the beginning of the twenty first century. It covers supporters and fandom, status and culture, big business, the press and electronic media and development in playing styles, tactics and rules. 

This is the only up to date book on the history of British football, covering the twentieth century shift from amateur to professional and whole of the British Isles, not just England. 


The Association Game

Matthew Taylor

The book is excellent, the best in the impressive piece of scholarship that provides a thorough synthesis of all significant writing on the history of British football by historians, geographers, political scientists and sociologists.Wray Vamplew, Professor of Sports History and Director of Research in Sports Studies, University of Stirling.

Beginning with football?s humble beginnings as a public-school diversion to the multi-million pound industry that it is today, The Association Game tells the remarkable story of Britain?s biggest, most popular national pastime. In tracing the history of the game from the first clubs and associations to its current position at the centre of British culture, Matthew Taylor seeks answers to the most important questions in football today:

  • Has the so-called ?people?s game? been transformed into a vehicle of global commercial interests?

  • Have its star performers lost touch with their roots?

  • Has football reinforced or challenged national identities in Britain?

  • Is British football in terminal decline?

Combining the most recent popular and academic writing on football, this highly informative read also includes in-depth investigations into the nature of ?fandom?, the development of playing styles, the business of football itself, and of course the development of tactics and ?rules of the game?. Taylor addresses the great controversies of the game, debating such topics as the status and earning of professional players and the phenomenon of hooliganism.

The Association Game is the first book to discuss football?s development in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, as well as its relationship with Europe and the wider world. Nobody who is serious about football should be without this book.

Matthew Taylor is a Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Portsmouth. His previous books include: Moving with the Ball: The Migration of Professional Footballers (with Pierre Lanfranchi, 2001) and The Leaguers: The Making of Professional Football in England 1900-1939 (2005).

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