Strange characters from Victorian football

Tom Hall: London & Overseas Travel

Part one: Major Marindin and Queen’s Park FC

The further I dig into Victorian association football, the more its strangeness and distance from the modern game becomes clear. The early years of the organised game were played by amateurs, initially pulled from public schools, then rapidly joined and surpassed by working men who learnt the game on public recreation grounds in industrial cities.

Before the Football League was founded in 1888 the game revolved around the FA Cup, then competed for by clubs from all over the United Kingdom. Glasgow Rangers reached the semi-finals of the (English) FA Cup in 1886-7, losing 3-1 to eventual winners Aston Villa at Nantwich Road, then the home of Crewe Alexandra. It was the club who today are their Glasgow rival in the Scottish Third Division, Queens Park, who have the finest playing record of all Scottish clubs in the FA Cup.

Queens were…

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