Association Football and Society in Pre-partition Ireland
Association Football, or Soccer, has consistently been the most popular sport in Ireland at whatever level it is played, amateur or professional. But the game itself has uncertain roots, and its complex social and commercial profiles have often proved as fascinating for observers as have the activities on the field. This book is the first to analyze in detail the evidence of the development of football in Ireland, from its origins to the partition of both the country and the game. In doing so, it will be the first to provide a truly historical perspective to what has become an irreplaceable feature of modern life. Using the records of the Irish Football Association, government papers, the contemporary press, and personal memoirs, the fascinating story of the early development of the game, from uncertain beginnings in Belfast in 1878 through to the triumphs of the Irish national team in 1914 and the divisions brought about by partition in the 1920s, is recounted in absorbing detail. In tracing the early days of the professional game, the backgrounds of the players is sketched in, sympathetically and with a fine eye for detail, as is the development of the foundation clubs and the profiles of those who ran them. Equally intriguing are the descriptions of the composition and behaviour of the crowds that supported them.
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