Παπαθανασίου Μαρία, Επίκουρη Καθηγήτρια, Τμήμα Ιστορίας και Αρχαιολογίας, ΕΚΠΑ
Ράπτης Κωνσταντίνος, Αναπληρωτής Καθηγητής, Τμήμα Ιστορίας και Αρχαιολογίας, ΕΚΠΑ
Γαγανάκης Κωνσταντίνος, Αναπληρωτής Καθηγητής, Τμήμα Ιστορίας και Αρχαιολογίας, ΕΚΠΑ
During the second half of the 19th century, football emerged as the national sport of England. The working classes played a significant part in this process. As a result, I have chosen to showcase in my thesis the relation between football and the workers. More specifically, I aim to discover “how” and “why” this relation occurred.
In the first chapter, the Industrial Revolution is set as the historical background. Afterwards, the stratification of the English society is presented, with emphasis on the working classes. Then, the circumstances under which the workers “meddled” with football are researched. In the end, the origins of football are traced and its role on the Victorian England is shown.
The second chapter focuses on the direct relation between football and the workers. In greater detail, the chapter relies on bibliography based on evidence about clubs (e.g. about their establishment), about players (e.g. about their salaries), and about the network that had surrounded football (e.g. gambling).
The workers chose football as the sport that would define their class. The reasons behind this decision are looked into the next chapters. Namely, the sociopolitical evolution of 19th century England is presented in the third chapter. Football can be seen as a means of social control directed from the upper social strata towards the lower ones. On the other hand, it can be viewed as a part of an autonomous working-class initiative.
In the fourth chapter, the focus is set on the psychology of the average working-man. Football, as a way of emotional uplift, is juxtaposed with the harsh industrial daily life of his. Simultaneously, football can help in creating some collectivities (e.g. fan clubs). Therefore, the human need for sociability through team-related activities is the second subject of the chapter.
Last but not least, the relation of football and the workers is influenced by gender. The final chapter delves into this matter, as it allows us to understand that men saw football as a means to confirm their masculinity and avoid their female partners, too. Women, though, are also in the spotlight, as football played a part in the process of their emancipation in the 19th-20th century.
In the epilogue, the conclusions from each chapter are rounded up, in an effort to manifest the reasons that made workers play, watch, and, in general, live for football.
Football, Sport, England, Britain, 19th century, Working-Class, Industrial Revolution