About Me

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Hammersmith, London, United Kingdom
I'm a director of Maidenhead United Football Club. For ten seasons one of my roles at the club was to produce the match programme. The aim of this blog was to write football related articles for publication in the match programme. In particular I like to write about the representation of football in popular culture, specifically music, film/TV and literature. I also write about matches I attend which generally feature Maidenhead United.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

The Men Who Made Modern Football #3 - Charles Miller

As explained in part 2 it was in Argentina that football first took root in South America. Inevitably Brazil was not far behind and again it was Scotsmen who played the leading role in developing perhaps the world’s foremost footballing nation.
The predictable title of father of Brazilian football is commonly attached to Charles Miller (pictured above) and as you will read he certainly played the biggest role in establishing the sport. However it is Thomas Donohoe, originally from Busby in East Renfrewshire, who organised the first match.
A dye expert, Donohoe arrived in Bangu, a suburb of Rio De Janeiro in 1893. In April the following year he organised a five a side match. Aged 31 he became part of a small British community in the neighbourhood but missed playing football so when he invited his wife and children to cross the Atlantic he asked them to bring a football which was then used in the first football match to be played in Brazil on a field next to the textile factory where worked, with the British factory workers making up the teams.
Sadly a manager at the factory banned all games for fear of a detrimental effect on the workforce. Thus the fledgling game in Bangu was still born and football did not return for ten years but they still continued to innovate as in 1905 the new Bangu Atletic Clube included Francisco Carregal, the first black player to play for a Brazilian club.
Thus it was left to Charles Miller, based a few hours down the coast in Sao Paulo, to establish the first league having arranged the first eleven a side match in Brazil in 1894, a few month after Donohoe.
Miller was a Sao Paulo native with a Scottish railway engineer father, and a Brazilian mother of English descent. He was sent to Southampton to complete his education, and whilst at school he played for and against Corinthians and St. Marys, the clubs now known as Corinthian Casuals and Southampton respectively.
Miller returned to Brazil, aged 21 in 1894, bringing with him two footballs and the Hampshire FA rule book. In April 1895 he organised a match between British workers of the Sao Paulo Railway and the Gas Company, acknowledged as the first proper football match to be played in Brazil as opposed to Donohoe’s small sided affair. He went onto set up the Liga Paulista and the Sao Paulo Athletic Club for whom he featured as a striker and won three consecutive championships from 1902. To this day the state championship remains the foundation of the Brazilian game.
The club had folded for good by 1912 but he left his mark on Brazilian football by suggesting the name Corinthians for another Sport Club Paulista. Corinthians remain one of the foremost clubs in world football.
Other notable figures in early Brazilian football include Oscar Cox and Harry Welfare. Cox was born in Brazil but as his surname suggests had English ancestors. He introduced football to Rio De Janeiro and founded Fluminese. He learned his football whilst being educated in Switzerland, and like Miller, returned aged 20 in 1901to set up the first match in his native city. Hearing about Miller’s efforts in Sao Paulo, Cox went on to set up fixtures featuring teams from each city.  In 1902 he founded Flu, a club Welfare would go on to star for as a striker.
Born in Liverpool, Welfare played professionally for both the Reds and Tranmere but aged 24 decided to emigrate to Brazil. A teacher, Welfare joined Fluminese and went onto score 163 goals in only 166 appearances. After a decade of service he was elected a life member of the club.

Sunday, 11 September 2016

The Men Who Made Modern Football #2 - Alexander Watson-Hutton

Watching the 1986 World Cup Final I was struck by the surname of the first Argentinian goalscorer. It was Brown, and as I found out when researching this article thirty years later, his name is evidence of the lasting influence of Scotland on the development on one of the world’s footballing super powers and indeed the South American continent’s football as a whole.
This is hardly surprising when you consider the influence of the British empire on that part of South America in the nineteenth century and I think it’s rather appropriate given the footballing relationship between Argentina and England, that it was men from the auld enemy Scotland who built the foundation for La Albiceleste, chiefly a man from the Gorbals, Alexander Watson-Hutton.
Destined to become known as the father of Argentinian football, Hutton, the son of a grocer was orphaned before he reached the age of five. Incredibly he graduated from the University of Edinburgh with a degree in Philosophy and found his vocation as a teacher. The earlier death of close family members from Tuberculosis, colloquially known as consumption, is thought to have led to his desire to seek a new life in warmer climes, so aged 31, in 1884 he began an appointment as rector of St Andrews School in Buenos Aires, which had been founded by the first wave of Scottish immigrants in 1838 and still exists today.
Hutton was an adherent of muscular Christianity, the belief that sport, especially as part of a team, has spiritual value. His preferred form of sporting expression was association football which was initially at odds with his fellow expatriates’ preference for rugby. When it became clear that the presence of football on the curriculum of his school was unwelcome, he elected to resign and found his own institution, the English High School of Buenos Aires which quickly flourished.
With football now at the heart of the curriculum, Hutton persuaded William Waters, the son of his old landlady back in Scotland to join him and bring a bag of leather footballs. ‘Guillermo’ Waters went onto become a successful importer of sporting goods to South America but before that captained St Andrews Scotch Athletic Club to the Argentine Association Football League title, the first such competition to be held outside of the UK.
The team consisted entirely of Scots, as did runners up the Old Caledonians which predominantly featured employees of a British plumbing company, Bautaume & Peason, which was laying a new sewage system in Buenos Aires. The league soon collapsed but it was Hutton who re-established in it 1893, a body regarded as South America’s first national football association, the eighth oldest in the world. Hutton was President and refereed games.
When the Argentinian government made PE compulsory in all schools in 1898, football spread in popularity amongst the native population. Hutton founded the Club Atletico English High School for his pupils, ex-pupils and teachers, and joined the new second division of the Argentinian League. Over the next decade, Alumni as they were known, dominated the national game winning ten first division titles between 1900 and 1911. A star member of the team was Hutton’s son Arnold, better known as Arnoldo who not only became an international footballer but also represented Argentina at cricket and polo.
Another Gorbals boy, tea magnate Thomas Lipton gave Hutton junior a chance for more glory when he donated the Copa Lipton, a trophy to be played for annually between Argentina and Uruguay, Arnoldo scoring in the second game in 1907 which Argentina won 2-0. In 1910 the competition was expanded to include Chile, and renamed the Copa Centenario to commemorate the 1810 Argentinian revolution. Arnoldo scored in the final again as Argentina lifted the trophy that was in time to become the Copa America.
Alumni’s strength was augmented by seven members of the Brown family, whose ancestors had left Scotland as early as 1825. Five of the Browns also won regular caps for Argentina but in 1912 Hutton decided to disband Alumni. This marked the end of the British period of Argentinian football, giving way to futbol criollo, the indigenous population setting up more familiar clubs such as Boca Juniors and River Plate.
Hutton died in 1936, just six years after Argentina had finished runners up to Uruguay in the first World Cup final. His role in the early development of the South American game is not forgotten with the Argentinian FA’s library being named after him and a 1950 film, Escuela de Campeones commemorating the story of his great Alumni team to celluloid.
The Scottish and by definition Hutton’s influence continues to be represented in Argentinian Football with 1986 goalscorer Jose Brown being a directed descendant of the Caledonian pioneers. Following his retirement he has become a successful domestic coach. If it wasn’t for Hutton’s persistence perhaps it would have been as a rugby player that Brown would have found fame.