Football's Great War

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As modern football grapples with the implications of a global crisis, this book looks at first in the game's history: The First World War. The game's structure and fabric faced existential challenges as fundamental questions were asked about its place and value in English society. This study explores how conflict reshaped the People's Game on the English Home Front.

The wartime seasons saw football's entire commercial model challenged and questioned. In 1915, the FA banned the payment of players, reopening a decades-old dispute between the game's early amateur values and its modern links to the world of capital and lucrative entertainment. Wartime football forced supporters to consider whether the game should continue, and if so, in what form? Using an array of previously unused sources and images, this book explores how players, administrators and fans grappled with these questions as daily life was continually reshaped by the demands of total war.

From grassroots to elite football, players to spectators, gambling to charity work, this study examines the social, economic and cultural impact of what became Football's Great War.