Here’s an interesting snippet from an article I found while researching something else. It was published in the Umpire newspaper on Christmas Day 1904. John Bentley, more commonly known as JJ Bentley, was a Manchester United & Bolton manager who also wrote for a variety of newspapers. He was often perceived as a knowledgeable football man and his views influenced many. If ‘JJ’ said something it was usually accepted as fact. So, when in 1904 there had been criticism of the money working class men were spending on football he spoke out.
As you can see by this brief cutting Bentley used his column to claim that the wives of working class men benefited by their husbands going to football because it meant he didn’t go and spend his money in the pub! Consequently, she got her housekeeping! What a ridiculous argument!
Can you imagine the justifiable furore today if Gary Lineker or similar said something like this? There are so many aspects to this simple piece that could be explored but perhaps I’ll save that for another day. It is also worth noting that many women did attend football matches themselves back then too.
Ah well! Happy Christmas.