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Building Europe with the Ball

Turning Points in the Europeanization of Football, 1905–1995


Edited By Philippe Vonnard, Grégory Quin and Nicolas Bancel

Since 1990, football history has become increasingly important within the field of sport science, yet few studies have centred on the Europeanization of the game from the interwar period onwards. This period saw the creation of a sovereign institution dedicated to European football, the establishment of specific rules about players’ transfers and contracts and, in particular, the development of competitions.
This book examines the development of European football between 1905 and 1995 from a transnational perspective. It offers a space for discussion to both early-career and established historians from a range of different countries, leading to a better understanding of the crucial turning points in the Europeanization of the game. The volume aims to promote valuable new reflections on the role of football in the European integration process.
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Matthew Taylor: 3 English Football and ‘the Continent’ Reconsidered (1919–1960)


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3 English Football and ‘the Continent’ Reconsidered (1919–1960)


‘The enthusiasm for the game [of football] on the continent is amazing’, wrote the Arsenal manager Herbert Chapman in 1934, ‘and we cannot afford to treat their enterprise with indifference or even lukewarmness’. Chapman’s sentiments have often been presented by historians of British football as exceptional and unusual: the views of a pioneer ‘decades ahead of his time’, who realized that the future of the game in its nation of birth could only be ensured by full and proper engagement with international colleagues and opponents.1 Conventional wisdom has it that most proponents of British football were ‘isolationists’ and ‘Little Englanders’ at heart.2 In this, they paralleled a wider understanding of English national character, defined by notions of ‘insularity’, ‘aloofness’, ‘reserve’ and ‘self-sufficiency’ and a tendency to be ‘less interested in international fraternizing’ than other nationalities.3

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