The Making of Professional Football in England, 1900-1939
Distributed for Liverpool University Press
Making extensive use of archival materials from football clubs, unions, and associations, Taylor presents a compelling picture of football teams and players in the early days of the twentieth century, tracing the development of the system of professional teams from the hundreds of town, club, and school teams that dotted the countryside. The top tier of those teams comprised the Football League that by the 1920s was synonymous with the very idea of professional football in the minds of fans and sportswriters alike. The Leaguers illuminates the role played by the Football League—and by successful clubs in the League such as Arsenal and Aston Villa—as the rules, standards, and structure of the modern game were being codified. Taylor also considers the careers and influences of early players, including such well-known names as Billy Meredith, "Dixie" Dean, and Alex James. As football's popularity grew and sports media proliferated, players found themselves becoming national stars, their portraits on cigarette cards bought by fans throughout England.
The first full-length history of the early days of the Football League, The Leaguers will be essential reading for football fans who want to know how their favorite sport grew from modest origins to the worldwide phenomenon that is English football today.