Pre-industrial (pre-1780)

Mob Football

A very early game

 

Early forms of football were more disorganised, violent and spontaneous than the modern version and were usually played by a very large number of players.  Often the games took the form of a contest between whole villages - through the streets and squares, across fields, hedges and streams.

Kicking was allowed, and so was almost everything else. Sometimes kicking the ball was rare due to the size and weight of the sphere being used; often the kicking was limited to taking out opponents.  The matches were for everybody and all classes.

'Mob football', where the number of players was unlimited and the rules were fairly vague was common.  In Workington, any method could be used to get the ball to its target with the exception of murder and manslaughter.

One theory about the early motivation for football was that it was a way of demonstrating strength and skill.  Versions of the game are still played today, for example the Shrovetide match at Ashbourne in Derbyshire

  1. What were the characteristics of early forms of football?

History of Football - The Global Growth

Change did not happen until the beginning of the 19th century when football became the custom in the public schools.  These schools were fee-paying, so only the upper classes were able to attend.

Each school developed its own set of rules and these varied between schools. Often the facilities of the school dictated the rules; if the game was played on a paved school playground, surrounded by a brick wall, then there was simply not enough space for 'mob football'.

Some schools preferred a game more dependent on players' ability to dribble, rather than force needed in a 'scrum'.  Other schools were more inclined towards the more rugged game in which the ball could be touched with the hands or even carried.

During the 19th century attitudes changed towards football. It was seen that football encouraged qualities as loyalty, selflessness, cooperation, discipline and team spirit. Games became part of the school curriculum and participation in football compulsory.

Some schools allowed for kicking an opponent's legs below the knees, but only if the player was not held at the same time.  Handling the ball was also permitted in some schools; and had been ever since 1823 at Rugby school, when William Webb Ellis caught and ran with the ball. Other schools did not allow this form of football, and preferred kicking the ball.

  1. Early matches were between the various houses where the boys lived or boarded, with the captain of the house being given the job of organising his team.  Leadership became an important aspect of games, because for the most part, they were organised by the senior boys for their free afternoons.  This was a form of social control.
  1. What do you understand by the term social control?

  1. Schools began to play each other and as these games developed in stature, so the masters saw that the games had other values besides discipline.  The masters encouraged the boys by joining in themselves or bringing back former students (Old Boys) to coach and/or play.  
  2. Playing standards improved, as did the playing facilities and equipment.  Success on the playing fields became a good way of advertising the school to potential pupils.  Fixtures and results started to appear in the press, and facilities, funding and teacher support continued to increase.
  1. What the main developments in sport through of the playing of games at the public schools?

  1. These games were played with a code of conduct that reflected society at that time.   Games were seen as a way of instilling certain virtues into the players.  Moral qualities such as leadership, discipline, integrity, loyalty, bravery, decision-making and ‘correct’ behaviour were valued and worthwhile aspects of playing games.  

  1. When the public school boys went to University they wanted to continue playing their ‘games’, but with so many differences in how to play, there was a need to establish an agreed set of rules for each game.  

Finally, in 1863 in Cambridge, some uniform standards and rules were establish that would be accepted by everyone.  The majority decided against keeping the rough customs such as tripping, shin-kicking and so on.  The majority also expressed disapproval of  carrying the ball. It was this that caused the Rugby group to withdraw from the meetings.

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Eventually, eleven London clubs and schools met in London and clarified a set of fundamental rules, acceptable to all parties, to govern the matches played among them.  This meeting was the birth of The Football Association.

  1. This process of codification led to many groups being set up to decide about areas of disagreement.  These groups become the original Governing Bodies of sport.  Fixtures could now be arranged between groups.  Many clubs were formed and competitions organised.
  1. What do you understand by the term ‘codification’?

Only eight years after its foundation, The Football Association had 50 member clubs. The first football competition in the world, the FA Cup, was established in 1872. By 1888 the first league championship was up and running.

International matches were being staged in Great Britain before football had hardly been heard of in Europe. The first international match was played in 1872 between  England and Scotland before football had hardly been heard of in Europe.

The boom of organised football was accompanied by staggering crowds of spectators.  Professionalism soon followed as clubs paid players to play for them.  This became quite common in the north and midlands, and the FA found itself obliged to legalise professionalism as early as 1885.

  1. Use the following table of early FA Cup winners to help you describe how changes within society changed the way sport was played.

        

Year

Winners                   

Runners Up          

Result

1872

Wanderers

Royal Engineers

1-0

1873

Wanderers

Oxford University

2-0

1874

Oxford University

Royal Engineers

2-0

1875

Royal Engineers

Old Etonians

2-0

1876

Wanderers

Old Etonians

3-0

1877

Wanderers

Oxford University

2-1

1878

Wanderers

Royal Engineers

3-1

1879

Old Etonians

Clapham Rovers

1-0

1880

Clapham Rovers

Oxford University

1-0

1881

Old Carthusians

Old Etonians

3-0

1882

Old Etonians

Blackburn Rovers

1-0

1883

Blackburn Olympic

Old Etonians

2-1

1884

Blackburn Rovers

Queens Park, Glasgow

2-1

1885

Blackburn Rovers

Queens Park, Glasgow

2-0

1886

Blackburn Rovers

West Bromwich Albion

2-0

Real Tennis

  1. Games involving hitting a ball, either with the hand or with a stick have been in existence for hundreds of years.  The first 'tennis-like' game was played in France by monks
  2. By the 14th century, 'real tennis' was played in England where both Henry VII and Henry VIII apparently became keen players and instigated the building of courts up and down the country.
  3.  
  4. By 1500, the tennis racket consisted of a wooden handle with a sheep gut strung head. The Royal enthusiasm for the game continued in England during the Tudor seventeenth century and the game became more of a fashionable pastime for the rich.
  1. Why was real tennis only for the rich?

However, in 1873, Major Walter Wingfield invented 'lawn tennis', which he called "Sphairistike", using modified tennis rules

Image result for lawn tennis history

The main difference from Real Tennis was that the court didn't have side or end walls. But the court had an 'hourglass' shape. The length was 20 yards and the width 30 yards at the end and only 21 yards at the net.

This new game was a middle class invention suited to suburban housing and gardens with lawns.  The lower classes were excluded from participation by the presence of walls and hedges around the gardens of the middle classes.  Unusually for sport at this time, women were ‘allowed’ to play.  This was because they played in isolation from others and only with friends and family.  Also they played in their everyday clothes and so were deemed to be suitably dressed and there was a lack of exertion.  The middle classes established ‘private’ tennis clubs in order to play against others.

  1. Suggest why lawn tennis was considered a suitable activity for women

In 1877 the All-England Croquet Club at Wimbledon decided to hold its first lawn tennis championships. New rules were invented for the tournament, which abandoned the hourglass court.  The rules have remained unchanged in any significant fashion with the exception of the tie break.

http://www.tradgames.org.uk/images/lawn-tennis-old-folks.jpg

  1. By 1890 Lawn Tennis was described as "more common" than Real Tennis.
  2. Much Wenlock Olympic Games 
  3. In pre-industrial Britain there were regular athletic events, often held in much the same ways as football matches, during fetes and festivals.  These were primarily a working -class source of entertainment.  
  4. The Much Wenlock Olympian Games were first held in October 1850, and were a mixture of athletics and also traditional country sports such as quoits, football and cricket. They also included a ‘fun’ event; such as a wheelbarrow or an 'old women's' race.
  5. From the beginning some events were open to all-comers, and competitors travelled from London and the North of England to compete.
  6. The Wenlock Olympian Society Annual Games are still held, every July, at the Windmill Field though this area is now designated the Gaskell Recreation Ground.
  7. The middle class involvement in athletics was different.  Some were involved in activities such as long-distance walking or  'pedestrianism', invariably involving gambling or wagering.
  1. The development of sporting endeavour in the public schools led to the formation of many middle class athletics clubs and amateur athletics competitions.  These events were kept exclusively to the middle classes by having regulations / bylaws to not allow any professionals / artisans.
  1. The Amateur Athletics Association was hastily formed by an elite who were determined that British sport should be restricted to 'amateurs and gentlemen', in other words athletes from the public schools and the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, and should be under their control with its base in London.
  1. Why did the middle classes want a restricted membership to athletic clubs?
  1. The athletic clubs were predominantly for men and remained male-dominated until post WW1, when limited events for women were permitted until post WW2.  This exclusivity was maintained until 1980s when commercial pressure led to ‘trust funds' and prize money
  2. In 1890, Baron Pierre de Coubertin visited Much Wenlock to meet with the organiser of the Much Wenlock Olympic Games, Dr William Penny Brookes, as part of his interest in an Olympic revival.  After this visit, de Coubertin wrote:
  3. "If the Olympic Games that Modern Greece has not yet been able to revive still survives today, it is due, not to a Greek, but to Dr W P Brookes”.
  4. Only a few years later (1896), de Coubertin rived the Olympic Games in Athens.

Answers

  1. Violent; spontaneous / occasional; few (no) rules

  1. Managing behaviour

  1. Rules; code of conduct; skills; tactics; kit; equipment

  1. Establishment of rules of game and conduct

  1. Early winner - public schools; armed forces - middle upper/classes; later winners clubs from industrial north and midlands - rise of professionalism

  1. Costs / time to play; social exclusion by class

  1. Non-strenuous; isolated; normal clothes

  1. Social control/exclusion; danger of losing (tradesmen fitter?)

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