This quote, from ​HF Abell, writing in MacMillan’s Magazine in 1904 shows a yearning for the football of an earlier time is nothing new.

“The influence of the conversion of a fine, vigorous, hearty pastime into a business cannot be wholesome, and the experience of an afternoon at the great game endorses this. Look as the faces around us. Are they the faces of men and youths come to enjoy a good fair tussle of the true English sort, and to hope that the best men win? Not a bit of it!

When the game is quiet the vulpine and sodden faces are eager, but not happy; when an exciting phase occurs the general expression is one of malignant anxiety, here broken by an outburst of frantic disappointment, there by one of savage joy. There is enthusiasm, plenty of it, but it is an ungenerous, one-sided enthusiasm without a spark of chivalry or appreciation of alien worth in it.”

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