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Beastly Fury: The Strange Birth of British Football


Paperback / softback

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Beastly Fury: The Strange Birth of British Football by Richard Sanders
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The myth is that football is a British game. The truth is that football has existed wherever people have eaten animals and discovered that, at the end of their meal, they were left with a bladder which, useless as it seemed, was great fun to blow up and kick around. What was invented in Britain was the modern, professional, spectator sport. Beastly Fury is the story of how it happened.

From the chaos and violence of early folk football, killed off by the twin forces of puritanism and the industrial revolution, to the remarkably similar public school football that kept the sport alive, Richard Sanders traces the history and the colourful personalities that abounded in the game as it moved from riot to a system of rules. He charts how the changing social fabric of Britain resulted in a shift of power from the south to the north, and how the working classes took control again of football.

It's a tale of testosterone-filled public schoolboys, eccentric mill-owners and bolshy miners, and of why we play football the way we do. Who invented heading? Why do we have an offside law? Based on exhaustive research, "Beastly Fury" picks apart the complex processes which forged the modern game, turning accepted wisdom on its head. It's a story which is strangely familiar - of grasping players, corrupt clubs and autocratic officials. It's a tale of brutality, but at times too, of surprising artistry. Above all it's a story of how football, uniquely among the sports of that era, became what it is today - the people's game.

Author Biography

Richard Sanders is a writer and award-winning documentary maker. He is the author of If A Pirate I Must Be: The True Story of Bartholomew Roberts, King of the Caribbean.
Release date Australia
March 18th, 2010
Country of Publication
United Kingdom
Bantam Books (Transworld Publishers a division of the Random House Group)
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