Goal! How Football Conquered the World, by Catherine Chambers

In 1746, Derby’s Mayor Humphrey Booth banned Shrovetide football, saying it might spread foot-and-mouth disease among the local cattle. Nearly 100 years later in 1846, another mayor who came bounding in on horseback to break up the games was stoned by a screaming mob, and got so angry that he called in the troops. The next year, no-one bothered turning up to play.(p24)

Many countries would like to lay claim to ‘inventing’ football but proof is difficult to establish. It is clear that, worldwide, balls have been kicked since very early times. Balls have been made from rubber, hair, sponge, animal skins, cloth and animal bladders. Football has been called ‘marn-grook’, ‘tsu chu’, ‘kemari’, ‘aqsaqtuk’, ‘episkyros’ and ‘soccer’. Football competitions have waxed and waned in different parts of the world, but always there has been passion. Passion to play, passion to follow. Football has grown into an sport played everywhere from backyards to the grandest stadium. It boasts over 250 million registered players and 30 billion followers. FIFA, the game’s governing body, recognises 207 national teams – more than there are countries in the UN.

Goal! How Football Conquered the World tracks the evolution of football (more commonly called soccer here) from earliest times. It is a history citing archaeological evidence, a collection of statistics and a compilation of anecdotes. There is an extensive index of players, teams and countries. Fans will eat up the statistics as well as the stories and legends that accompany any sport. The style is conversational and the language accessible to most readers. ‘Goal’ is pitched at upper primary – early secondary readers. Though there is a small section detailing the involvement of girls/women in football, the book will have most interest for boys.

Goal! How Football Conquered the World by Catherine Chambers
black dog books 2006
ISBN: 1876372982