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A Fateful Love

Essays on Football in the North-East of England 1880-1930

Series:

Gavin Kitching

How did the world’s most popular sport begin? How was the ancient family of pastimes called «folk football» transformed into a new codified game - «association football» - which attracted such large numbers of players and paying spectators? Gavin Kitching tackles the question through a strikingly original and deeply researched history of the game in one of its most passionate strongholds: the north-east of England. Making extensive use of previously neglected newspaper reports and other sources, he shows how, in just a few years of the 1870s and 1880s, soccer evolved from its origins as a collective scramble into a dispersed and intricate passing game, exciting and rewarding for players and spectators alike. But the booming popularity of football in the Victorian North-East also had deeply ambiguous consequences - for footballers, for the clubs for which they played, and for the local press which reported the game and further fuelled its popularity. Kitching analyses these ambiguities in chapters on the professionalization and commercialisation of elite soccer in Newcastle and Sunderland and in an account of the «shamateur» Northern League clubs of the Durham coalfield. A Fateful Love concludes by tracing these ambiguities through to the present day. The visual excitement and beauty that created professional football lives on, but the media–driven «commodification» which has marked it from its beginnings has now reached levels which raise profound concerns for the game’s future.
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Sport, History and Culture

This series publishes monographs, edited collections and reprints of classic studies on the history and the contemporary role of sport, primarily in Britain and Europe but including other parts of the world. The editors wish to make available the very best of recent doctoral and post-doctoral work in the subject area whilst also looking to established scholars for major new books or collections of articles.

Although the focus of the series is historical, it also embraces more con temporary interdisciplinary studies of the role of sport as a local, national and global phenomenon. The series includes both new and established areas of research into the class, age and gender dimensions of sport as well as its political and ideological aspects, including nationalism, imperialism and post-colonialism. The editors wish to encourage economic and transnational studies of sport as well as new work on ethnicity, sports literature and material culture. The series will also reflect on the significance for the writing of sports history of new cultural and theoretical debates.

Genuinely international in approach, the series also seeks to publish English translations of some of the most outstanding scholarship on the history and culture of sport in Europe, South America and beyond. The series aims to act as a focus for the historical study of sport internationally and facilitate interdisciplinary debate on the subject.

Vol. 1

Martha Bell:

 

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