The emergence of footballing cultures

Manchester, 1840–1919

This book provides a distinctive and original contribution to the historiography of sport, adding considerably to our understanding of the origins of soccer within the Manchester region. It is the first academic study of the development of association football in Manchester and is directly linked to the debates within sports history on football’s origins. Its regional focus informs the wider debate, contextualising the growth of the sport in the city and identifying communities that propagated and developed football. The period 1840–1919 saw Manchester’s association game develop from an inconsequential, occasionally outlawed activity, into a major business with a variety of popular football clubs and supporting industries. This study of Manchester football considers the sport’s emergence, development and establishment through to its position as the city’s leading team sport. What establishes a football culture and causes it to evolve is not simply the history of a few clubs, governing bodies, local leagues or promoting schools, but a conglomeration of all of these. The book is innovative in its approach to the origins of footballing in Manchester, where the sport has generally been assumed not to have existed until the creation of what became Manchester City and Manchester United.


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