International Football History Conference 18-19 November 2022 at Manchester City’s CFA

In 2017 the first International Football History Conference was staged with delegates from across the globe presenting and listening to talks by a variety of academics, writers, researchers and students. This has become an annual event, only paused bu Covid, and it returns on Friday this week. The conference is open to presentations on football of all codes.

There are presentations on a variety of topics. Here’s this year’s schedule:

You can book your place at the conference via this link:

Alternative Sites of Sports History – Free Download October 2022

Recently an academic article of mine offering advice and examples to those researching sports history or working within the industry was published. Normally, it is behind an academic paywall but you can download it for free during October here (it’s free, you may as well have a look):

The article has received publicity in publications/websites of football clubs including Middlesbrough and Manchester City. Here’s what City have said:

British Society Of Sports History 40th Anniversary

The British Society of Sports History (BSSH) is a tremendous body of academics and historians who research, promote and progress the role of history within sport. I have been a member for many years and recently, to celebrate their 40th anniversary, I was asked to write an article offering advice, ideas & more to those researching sport history. The article has recently been published and can be downloaded here for free (follow the link below):

In the article I talk of the great work being done by several historians, including Tosh Warwick and Tony Collins, and sports clubs. I talk about research into women’s football at Manchester City and the club’s badge redesign project.

It will only be free to download for the month of October, so get it while you can. Thanks to the BSSH for giving me this opportunity.

You can find out more about the BSSH and what they do here:

International Football History Conference 18-19 November 2022 (Manchester) Call For Papers

***CFP Deadline extended to Friday 9th September***

After a two year absence due to Covid, the 2022 annual International Football History Conference will take place at the City Football Academy, Manchester City Football Club, Manchester M11 3FF, England and will be held over two days (18 and 19 November 2022).

This is a call for papers to be presented at the conference. There will be an opportunity to present on any topic relating to the history of football of all codes. 

  • Main conference proceedings will take place between 8.30am and 5pm on Friday and Saturday.
  • As with previous years the conference will be open to those presenting on football of any code. 
  • Abstracts are welcomed on any football related topic (football of ALL codes)
  • Abstracts are welcomed from researchers from any discipline.
  • Presentations must not have appeared at another conference. As our conference does not have parallel sessions, we are insistent that presentations must not be a repeat of something presented elsewhere.

Abstracts for the following presentation styles are welcomed:

  • Short Form (7 minutes) – 20 slides (plus a title slide) with a maximum of 20 seconds per slide. Ideal for a summary of research; to present early findings; Image related research etc.
  • Twenty Minutes – Twenty minutes of slides but no audience questions.
  • Fifteen plus Five – Fifteen minutes of presentation slides plus five minutes of questions.
  • Panel – One hour twenty minutes: three presenters and a moderator on a related theme with specific time for individual presentations within the session agreed by the moderator including allowance for questions at the end to the group.

100 to 150 word proposals should be sent to by 9th September 2022. Selection of presentations will take place by the committee by 15th September. As the timescales between announcement of the conference and the date of the conference we will ensure confirmation is as soon as possible. 

***Please note: As the Rugby League World Cup Finals (women’s & men’s) will be staged at Old Trafford on Saturday 19th we will, for the first time, try to satisfy specific requests to present on a particular day. When submitting your abstract can you say whether you have a preference for Friday, Saturday or no preference please? Thanks.


For full-time delegates: £119

For students/unwagedl/retired delegates: £99

Special Day Rate: £65 (employed) & £55 (unwaged)

Due to the current economic climate we have been keen to ensure the cost to delegates is kept at previous levels. We have managed to keep rates at the same level as in 2018 & 2019. Tickets will be on sale via Eventbrite soon.

Delegates will need to make their own arrangements regarding travel & accommodation for the conference. It is suggested delegates stay in city centre hotels, close to the tram network and travel to the venue each day via tram. If you would like some advice on where to stay please contact the organising committee via

Historical Frameworks and Sporting Research

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Sport History Relevance and How We Need to Engage


It is important to question the relevance of sport history and to recognize our failings and our successes if we are to ensure the genre develops and contributes to society. While sport historians recognize the value, outside of this sphere, it is apparent that the subject is not always recognized for its significance. In this paper, it is argued that sport historians have a responsibility to engage more with the media and the public, while seeking opportunities to collaborate with sports organizations to ensure the subject is relevant and can develop. It is also argued that minority groups are under-represented in the sport history community, arguing that it is incumbent upon sport historians to ensure greater engagement and promotion of these groups. The paper concludes by urging those engaged in sport history to promote the discipline and develop opportunities for others.

If you would like to read the full article and other pieces like this then please subscribe below. It works out about £1.67 a month if you take out an annual subscription (£20 per year). Each subscriber gets full access to the 600+ articles posted so far and the hundreds scheduled to be posted in the coming months.

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On This Day: Manchester’s First Major Trophy Success

On this day in 1904 (23 April) Manchester found its first major trophy success. The captain and goalscorer was the great Billy Meredith. Last year, following the purchase of the oldest surviving FA Cup by Sheikh Mansour (to loan to the National Football Museum) I helped Manchester City with the story of the cup and its significance to Manchester. They’ve produced a video telling the story and it can be viewed here:

For more on the significance of this FA Cup trophy check out the category 1903-04 in the drop down list below.

Women’s Football and the 1921 FA Ban

Recently, I was one of the co-authors of an academic article looking at how the FA’s ban on women’s football occurred and how it affected the development of the sport. It also compared that ban with what occurred in Wales, Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland. Some assume a ‘one size fits all’ approach but that was definitely not the case and it is important that national and regional histories of women’s football are performed to fully understand what was happening. As with men’s football, each region is different and this article was an attempt to help develop a wider understanding. You can read the article here (It’s free to download so you may as well have a look):

In that article there’s talk of a male coach who was punished by the FA for being involved in women’s football – this wasn’t in the 1920s. It was post WW2 and demonstrates that the FA Ban wasn’t simply about stopping women from playing on FA approved ground. It was more involved than that. To my knowledge, apart from an earlier biographical article I wrote, that had never been identified in academic writing or work on women’s football.

Too often people assume that what was true in, say, Birmingham was also true in Leicester. Or that research into something occurring in Burnley would explain what happened in Manchester, but it doesn’t. I’ve outlined in research into the origins of men’s football that the wider Manchester conurbation followed a different path than towns in Lancashire that were only a few miles further north than Manchester. Even within Greater Manchester what happens in Bolton or Wigan for either men’s or women’s football could be considerably different than what happened in Hyde, Altrincham or Gorton.

Here’s hoping women’s football gets the breadth of regional studies that it needs to ensure we have a good understanding of what happened town by town, region by region. My December talk at Hebden Bridge added evidence connected with that part of West Yorkshire (nowhere near enough of course!) and my project on female participation and involvement in Manchester is aiming to document how women’s football developed there, together with wider involvement and interest in football by women.

Quite a few articles appear on my website here about women’s football. Most are free to download. Use the tags, tabs, search and categories to find more. Thanks.

New Article: ‘The game of football is quite unsuitable for females and ought not to be encouraged’

Together with Fiona Skillen, Helena Byrne and John Carrier I have co-authored an article on women’s football and the impact of the 1921 #FABan. The reason we wrote this academic article was to highlight that too often we assume that what happened in England is what happened across Great Britain and Ireland. It isn’t and in this piece you can read an overview of each nation and what occurred. The article is open access/free to read here:

I hope you enjoy that. We do see this article as a means of highlighting the differences and we see this as a call for more detailed research, properly triangulated, to ensure we uncover the true development of women’s football across England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Ireland. No book has yet been published that comes anywhere close to telling the development of women’s football across each of these nations with some making assumptions that are simply not valid across each nation. Our article cannot cover everything but I hope it gives a taster for the topic.

Special thanks to Glasgow Caledonian University for making this open access. It really is appreciated.

It is worth reading the piece (well, it’s free so you may as well have a look!) to see what happened in your part of the UK and Ireland. For those with a Greater Manchester interest you’ll see mention of Manchester United, Bolton Wanderers, Manchester Corinthians and Manchester Ladies. Some interesting stuff on crowds. Also, if you’re a fan of Stoke City, Manchester City, Manchester United, Oldham Athletic or Everton you can see what happened to their former player Jimmy Broad when he tried to train a women’s football team in the 1950s!

I have written other academic articles on women’s football but these tend to be behind a publisher’s paywall. If you have access via a library or university here’s one that may be of interest:

While I’m talking about academic articles, one of my earlier articles on Manchester football is still free to read/download here:

No Man Could Stop Us!

On Friday 3 I’ll be talking about the FA ban on women playing on FA affiliated grounds. It will be the centenary of the ban on December 5 2021 and ill be talking with women who played during the ban in the 50s and 60s and others who played in the 70s onwards. Incredibly the FA ban wasn’t lifted until 1970 and even then the FA did nothing to promote female participation. Details of the talk below (follow the link):

Thanks to CanSquared for sponsoring the event and enabling us to do this for free.