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Focusing on the period 1840–1863, this chapter highlights how organised sports such as pedestrianism became examples of how to establish a working-class sporting spectacle in the years prior to football’s widespread development across the conurbation. The attractions of football were not apparent to the wider population prior to the 1870s; however, there was footballing activity in Manchester during the 1840s to 1860s. In terms of organised football, individual games were staged in the region, while multiple versions of football were developing throughout this period. Some resembled soccer, some rugby, but the end of the 1850s and beginning of the 1860s saw more distinction between the versions. By the 1860s rules were being documented across the country. The Football Association, established in London in 1863, aimed to produce one set of national rules to follow, while Manchester turned towards a version based on rugby. This chapter contains analysis of the games, incidents and related activities and provides an understanding of the developing sporting culture of the city.

The emergence of footballing cultures

Manchester, 1840–1919

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