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Once in the streets – twixt narrow houses, through ditch and dyke
To town end. Thence on pastures, precluded by Acts of royalty
As base, devisive, frivolous, disorderly. But still, the ball rolled
On. Then someone picked it up, and ran – heresy, by gad!; rules
Were made and codes went their seperate ways. But the public
Schools held the upper hand; they wore caps with tassles and
Sober expressions – charging goal to goal en masse. Woe betide
Any intervention in their muscular progress; it couldn’t last, despite
The Engineers, the Corinthians et al. Soon, muck and brass were
King; the countyside game had become the great urban passion.
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People squashed into back-to-backs, factories, mills and pits – only
Too eager to escape on their half day off, as a Saturday institution
Began….Clubs formed from places of work, of worship, of schooling;
Grounds became stadia, colours and badges adopted – players paid
To entertain, to produce results (ever was it thus). Imports from the
Scottish land passed the ball – a cultured, egalitarian style that ran
Rings around brute force. And famous names were founded, twelve
Of them together in 1888 made history as the first Football League.
This is our pedigree, our heritage, our story – one to cherish and to
Promote and celebrate; not to ignore, or dismiss in this slick TV age.