How The Game Was Played
Essays In Sports History
Wray Vamplew

This very timely new work by the award-winning sports historian goes beyond scores and results to present a unique view of Britain’s sporting past – including its dark side.

He examines every key sport, and many live controversies. This involves looking at the use of alcohol as a performance enhancing drug, the violence of football hooligans, the tribulations of weight-watching jockeys, and the earlier employment of children as young as seven as golf caddies.

The pioneering role of women in golf is also highlighted – as a sport in which they have often been considered subordinate to men.

In addition, Wray Vamplew examines the organisation of hunting, shooting and fishing – all sports which flourished in the 19th century despite apparently having no rules. He also features the courage shown by amateur jump jockeys in piloting their mounts over fences and hurdles.

The myth of the early control that the Jockey Club exerted over horseracing is exposed. And the nationality problems associated with team selection for the Ryder Cup are discussed. Other chapters offer critiques of approaches taken to researching sports history, the application of the concept of modernisation to sport, and the development of sports museums in the burgeoning sports heritage industry.

The author is Emeritus Professor of Sports History, University of Stirling; Visiting Professor, Manchester Metropolitan University; and Special Projects Editor, International Journal of the History of Sport.


Introduction. Practising Sports History: Analysing the Game: Evidence and Knowledge in Sports History.

Sporting Conduct: Sports Crowd Disorder in Britain 1870-1914: Causes and Controls; Bulimic Practices and Alcohol Consumption: Performance Enabling and Performance Enhancing Mechanisms in Nineteenth-Century British Sport; ‘Remembering Us Year After Year’: The Glasgow Charity Cup 1876-1966.

Field Sports: Sports Without Rules: Hunting, Shooting and Fishing in Edwardian; Captains Courageous: the Gentleman Rider in British Horseracing 1866-1914. Horseracing: Reduced Horsepower: The Jockey Club and the Regulation of British Horseracing; A Modern Sport? ‘From Ritual to Record’ in British Horseracing (with Joyce Kay);

Golf: Women to the Fore: Accommodation and Resistance at the British Golf Club before 1914; The Rough and the Fairway: Processes and Problems in Ryder Cup Team Selection 1927-2006; Child Work or Child Labour? The Caddie Question in Edwardian Golf.

Sporting Heritage: Facts and Artefacts: Sports Museums and Sports Historians; Taking a Gamble or a Racing Certainty: Sports Museums and Public Sports History.

ISBN 9781911204299 Paperback, £29.99

ISBN 9781911204312 Hardback,   £60.00

ISBN 9781911204893 eBook,         £25.00

xii + 266pp.

211 x 148mm.