Playing Pasts is delighted to present this podcast by Prof Ian Stone from the Sporting Lives symposium hosted by Manchester Metropolitan University’s Institute for Performance Research.  Subsequently the papers were published into a collection of the same name, for details see –


This chapter considers the sporting life of Alec Nelson (1871-1944), first, as an athlete, and then as a professional coach.   It sets his career in its wider social and sporting context, arguing that he was a significant contributor to British athletics in the decades up to World War II.  A crucial part in the story is played by a prominent social and political figure, whose ambition to bring about change in British athletics brought him into an ongoing alliance with Alec Nelson, the gifted coach of his era.  Surviving records and correspondence suggests that a patron-client relationship existed between the two men.  Such a model is useful in seeking to understand Nelson’s life and career – allowing for the fact that the relationship was conditioned by the patron’s distinctive outlook on life and by his client’s entrepreneurialism…

Article © Ian Stone 


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