The Sporting Life: Football until the Second World War, the Days When Newcastle Won Trophies

RGS History


Before the First World War, sport was already a major part of English life. Association football was the working man’s sport. It began with a series of meetings in the Freemason’s Tavern in London in 1863; in 1871 the rival Rugby Football Union was formed, those who followed Association Football’s rules played soccer.

The Football Association cup was the competition that saw a common set of rules established between the Association and the Sheffield Football Association. In its early days the FA Cup was dominated by the old boys of the public schools: the likes of The Wanderers and The Old Etonians. However, 1882 saw the victory of Blackburn Olympic; the next four would see Blackburn Rovers triumph. The Blackburn clubs, like the midlands rivals who followed (such as Aston Villa) to many of those southern clubs cheated: they had working class and, increasingly, professional (at first Scottish) players. When…

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