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How Football Began: A global history of how the world's football codes were born

How did football start? Why did the modern codes of football - Association, American, Australian, Canadian, Gaelic, Rugby League and Rugby Union - all emerge within barely a generation during the nineteenth century? And why did Association football eclipse all of them to become a truly global game?

These questions are the starting point for How Football Began. It charts the rise of football from its origins, through the creation of the first clubs, its emergence as a mass spectator sport to it becoming a world game on the eve of World War One.

It explains why football divided into Association and Rugby codes, and how the rugby code itself split into league and union, Australian, American, Canadian and Gaelic. It discusses the false starts of women’s football and the obstacles women faced to play the game. And it examines the ways in which soccer spread across Europe and Latin America before World War One.

How Football Began takes a different perspective to most histories of the football codes, because it looks at football as the Victorians did: as a single game that was played under different rules.

As a new social phenomenon that transformed the leisure lives of millions of men and women, football had the same cultural and economic impact on society regardless of the shape of the ball or the number of players in a team.

Most of all, the book will unravel the social and economic reasons for the game’s rise throughout the world and to seek to explain why the game came to mean so much to so many people, how it could bring people together and tear them apart, make women sing for joy, and grown men weep openly on the streets.

It is not just about football. It is about the society that created it and which football in turn helped to fashion.

Click here to pre-order it for a special pre-publication price of £15.99 with free postage from the publishers.