spotCampaigns

spotOrganisations

spotArguments for socialism

spotPeople

spotInternational

spotEvents

spotAround the UK


All keywords


All Campaigns subcategories:

Anti-capitalism

Anti-fascist

Anti-racism

Anti-war

Asylum

Black and Asian

Children

CNWP

Corporate crime

Disability

Education

Election campaigns

Environment

EU

Finance

Food

Gender Recognition Act

Health and safety

Health and welfare

Housing

Human Rights

LGBT Pride

Local government

Local services

Low pay

Migration

Nationalisation

New workers party

NHS

Pensions

Post Office

Poverty

Privatisation

Public Services

Socialism

Socialist

* Sport

Stop the slaughter of Tamils

Students

The state

Transport

TUSC

Welfare rights

Women

Workplace and TU campaigns

Youth


Sport keywords:

Cricket (4)

Football (138)

Hillsborough (23)

Leisure (20)

Olympic Games (17)

Olympics (56)

Rugby League (2)

Sport


Highlight keywords  |Print this articlePrint this article
From: The Socialist issue 1102, 23 September 2020: Tory Covid chaos

Search site for keywords: Football - Working class - TV - Workers - Blackburn

TV: The English Game - how the working class made football the people's game

The English Game

The English Game   (Click to enlarge)

John Reid, West London Socialist Party

The English Game tells the story of how football was transformed in the 19th century. It was revolutionised from the Southern-dominated amateur, public school sport, dominated by individualistic, dribbling tactics, into a superior passing game, which reflected the cooperation and discipline needed, and developed by workers in the factory who transferred this onto the playing fields.

It was this passing game, developed by the Scots and adopted by English Northern and Midland factory teams, which gained mass popularity, first in Britain, and then globally.

Fergus Suter is the star of the show. He was brought down from Partick in Glasgow for a fee, and became the world's first professional footballer. He moved to a factory team - Darwen - and then later to Blackburn Rovers.

The series is factually wrong though. It has Suter lifting the FA Cup in 1883, when in fact he was on the losing side for Rovers in 1882. In fact, Blackburn Olympic were the first Northern workingmen's team to lift the FA Cup in 1883.

They beat Lord Kinnaird's Old Etonians. Olympic's team was made up of three weavers, a spinner, a plumber, a cotton operative and an iron foundry worker. Suter's Rovers won the cup in 1884, 85 and 86. Between 1883 and 1915, the cup only went South, once in 1901, when Tottenham Hotspur won the trophy.

To reflect the growing professionalism, the Football League was formed in 1888 by Scotsman William McGregor, and the world's first professional league was won by the original 'invincibles', Preston North End, as they were unbeaten league and cup winners.

The series reflects the class struggle, and how factory owners cut wages and workers fought back with strikes. It shows the appalling conditions faced by the working class, particularly by women. It highlights how factory owners took control of the game to divert workers' minds away from struggle, and how admission charges were introduced for the first time. Now, football is a global multi-million pound game, largely removed from its roots in the working class.

It is a little bit twee, as you would expect from the creators of Downton Abbey, but it is very enjoyable.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our Fighting Fund.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation

 

Your message: 

 







Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: [email protected]

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 075 4018 9052

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 078 0983 9793

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


June 2021

May 2021

April 2021

March 2021

February 2021

January 2021

2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999