Article © John Daniels 

It has been very flattering to have been asked to contribute to the Playing Pasts project and hope that I will be able to contribute occasional pieces from time to time. Making the point at the outset that I am not an historian more a hoarder having collected football memorabilia obsessively for much of my life. The items that are written about will be historical but mainly backed up by illustrations more than historical text.  Having started to put pen to paper (or more like fingers to keyboard) when I realised that I was at the ‘’extra time’’ part of my life and the collection had to go there was a need to document some of it before it all went, consequently, much of my writing will be biographical and dare I say it….a little egotistical. Being a typical collector, you have probably met them….’’Look what I have got’’ in a childish and smug way. I am now of course a grumpy old man with ‘’the game is no longer the game that I grew up with’’ outlook. There is too much cheating and money going out of the game to the wrong people.  Why are clubs like Chester City allowed to go out of business when there are millions of pounds, euros , dollars and various other currencies floating around the system? My first attempt at writing for Playing Pasts is geared towards the derivatives of football taking in the forefathers and current family tree of football in its broadest sense.  The age old question of course is who invented football, in truth nobody knows, ever since man stood up and walked on two feet the natural instinct was to kick things. Yes, in Britain, we did standardise the laws of ‘’Association Football’’ that is played around the World these days but most major cultures already had a ball kicking game of some kind.  Soccer is just another one of them, albeit the most popular.


Earliest references date back to 2-3,000 years BC when TSU CHU was played by the Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean etc, with Japan playing a game of Kemari , the Roman Army played Harpastum as part of their fitness campaign. Bringing the story more up to date today’s games of Rugby Union, Rugby League and Soccer are very closely related to each other stemming from lots of other ball kicking (and ball handling) games that were played at various seats of learning and under local rules and there was a desire to collate the rules to enable players to carry on playing when their school days were over. The Football Association was setup in 1863 to address this issue with the Rugby Union following suit in 1871 with the Rugby League forming the break-away Northern Rugby Union in 1895 to allow for the payment to players.  More detailed information on this is readily available on line. New versions are added with the passing years with one of the latest inventions being Walking Football which is popular because old fogies like me are living longer and in larger numbers.