By Tony Collins
From the parable of William Webb Ellis to the honor of the 2003 international Cup win, this publication explores the social heritage of rugby union in England.
Ever considering Tom Brown’s Schooldays the game has noticeable itself because the parent of conventional English middle-class values. during this interesting new background, best rugby historian Tony Collins demonstrates how those values have formed the English online game, from the general public faculties to mass spectator recreation, from strict amateurism to worldwide professionalism.
Based on extraordinary entry to the authentic information of the Rugby soccer Union, and drawing on a powerful array of assets from membership mins to private memoirs and modern literature, the publication explores in vibrant aspect the major occasions, personalities and avid gamers that experience made English rugby.
From an period of fast progress on the finish of the 19th century, throughout the poor losses suffered throughout the First global warfare and the next ‘rush to rugby’ within the public and grammar faculties, and into the classes of disorientation and commercialisation within the Nineteen Sixties via to the current day, the tale of English rugby union can also be the tale of the making of contemporary England.
Like the entire absolute best writers on recreation, Tony Collins makes use of game as a prism in which to raised comprehend either tradition and society. A ground-breaking paintings of either social historical past and recreation historical past, A Social background of English Rugby Union tells a desirable tale of carrying endeavour, masculine id, imperial ideology, social awareness and the character of Englishness.
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Extra resources for A Social History of English Rugby Union
The ﬁrst rumours of payments to players in rugby emerged in the late 1870s. The leaders of Yorkshire rugby initially attempted to outlaw payments to players in 1879. This proved to be ineffectual, as leading players received, at the very least, payments in kind for playing or for time taken off work for training and playing. Generous travelling expenses, legs of mutton, suits, watches, bottles of port and offers of employment were the more common forms of remuneration. ‘Poaching’, or offering players inducements to change clubs, became commonplace.
By the end of the RFU’s ﬁrst decade of existence it had 117 clubs in membership plus as many as three times that number playing rugby but which were not members. 3 Almost half of these clubs were based in the north of England. This enthusiasm of northerners for the game was to become a recurrent and increasingly ominous theme in the last quarter of the nineteenth century. The ﬁrst adult games of rugby in the north had been organised by former Rugby School pupils who had returned home and wanted to continue to play their code.
Wales had carried off the Triple Crown in 1893 and were tipped to do the same this year. 1 The match was England’s ﬁrst and only international ever to be played on Merseyside, at the ground of Birkenhead Park. It had snowed on the Thursday before the match, necessitating straw being spread over the pitch to protect it from the elements. The temperature was approaching freezing when Bradford’s Jack Toothill kicked off at half past two, but the weather was quickly forgotten. Despite intense forward pressure from the Welsh, it was England who scored ﬁrst.
A Social History of English Rugby Union by Tony Collins