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Title: The development of professional football in Lancashire, 1870-1914
Author: Lewis, Robert William.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3609 1037
Awarding Body: University of Lancaster
Current Institution: Lancaster University
Date of Award: 1993
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This thesis describes the development of professional football in Lancashire from 1880 to 1914, emphasising the importance of the county to football in general. It deals with the economic and social preconditions in the county that gave rise to this innovation which spread throughout Britain, and later the rest of the world. The potential market, transport networks and traditional local rivalries provided a basis for the introduction of professional football as a new leisure industry. Lancashire clubs were the first to change the amateur game, evolved in the public schools, into a system which paid players, paid for players and which spectators paid to watch. The new system first developed in the Bolton-Blackburn-Darwen area, spreading outwards from this centre of innovation. The success or failure of clubs is discussed, particularly theories of catchment areas, competition between rival clubs, the "city size" effect, and management. The importance of the development of the Football League is stressed, as well as Lancashire's role in its foundation, and the operation of the League as a cartel is discussed, laying emphasis on the maximum wage and retain-and-transfer system. There follows a detailed analysis of particular Lancashire clubs, including Darwen, the Blackburn area, the Bolton area, and Liverpool, Everton and Bootle. Players' relationships with the clubs are also described, as is the development of the first two Players' Unions from 1897-1901 and 1907-1914 within the context of Lancashire. In addition, the reaction of Lancashire clubs and commentators is detailed to illustrate the possible unrepresentative nature of the Unions. The smaller clubs' defence of the maximum wage and retain-and-transfer system is related to the survival of the integrity of the League. The position of most clubs as "utility-maximisers" is emphasised, laying stress on the fact that most clubs rarely made profits and many struggled financially during this period. The behaviour of football crowds during the period forms the centre of an argument against the "Dunning Thesis" of football hooliganism proposed by the Leicester University Eliasian sociologists. Lancashire is used as a case-study to disprove the assertion that the pre-1914 football crowd saw the "Dominance of the Roughs", and that football hooliganism was common before 1914. Following on from this, the thesis finishes with a discussion of middle and upper-class critics of professionalism and the Lancashire defence, stressing the positive nature of the benefits derived from it. Finally, the thesis attempts to place professional football within the context of the history of leisure in general, stressing its symbolic and cultural significance.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: History