We do not know who it was that first put an animal's bladder to his lips and blew into it, neither do we know who then stitched it up and kicked it, but whoever these odd fellows were, they can certainly not have known that they were spawning the most popular game on the planet. A game that has become the universal expression of life's great struggles (imposing order to endless kinetic dilemmas and creating an arena for the rebel yell of pure escapist joy).

Exploiting to perfection our basic instincts to invade and protect, the earliest forms of 'The Beautiful Game' became incredibly popular and so, by the mid -fourteenth century, numerous decrees had been issued forbidding the subjects of England to play the game. It is generally imagined that 'footeballe' then, was just an excuse for a punch-up. True, there were many deaths and people were 'cast over hedges at the hazard of their limbs'. We believe however, that even these early games, had more tactics and teamwork on display than we have given our ancestors credit for.

Indeed, by the eighteenth century we find that the game has become even less indiscriminate, as reported by Joseph Strutt in his book "Sports and Pastimes of the People of England" (written in 1801) where he states:


The level of violence was the most notable aspect of the game for those that did not appreciate its finer points though. King James refereed to it as "Meter for laming than making able the users thereof" And the author of "The Anatomie of Abuses in the Realm of England", Stubbes, ranted in 1583 of the "develyshe pastime":