Dr Alexander Jackson, a curator at the National Football Museum, talks about his recent book Football’s Great War, Association Football on the English Home Front.

Alex talks about the so-called ‘anti-football debate’ that took place in 1914/5 and how amateur and professional players, clubs and the Football Association responded to this debate. He also talks about how football clubs, local amateur leagues and officials supported the war effort through charity work and morale raising activities.

Football’s Great War, Association Football on the English Home Front is published by Pen & Sword.


Tom Thorpe [00:00:33] It is the 16th of May 2022 and this is episode 255. On this week's programme, I talk to historian Dr. Alexander Jackson, curator at the National Football Museum in Manchester. I talked to him about his recent book, Football's Great War Association Football on the English Home Front. This is published by Pen and Sword. Alex spoke to me from his home in Manchester. Alex, welcome to the podcast. Could you start by telling us about yourself and how you are interested in association football or soccer on the English home front? 

Alex Jackson [00:01:19] And yes, I thank you for it. Firstly, thank you very much for having me on the podcast. I'm a curator at the National Football Museum in Manchester and I  first became interested in this particular topic when I started working on an exhibition we did for the centenary of the start of the First World War in 2014, and we did an exhibition around football and the First World War. So that wasn't just a home front, it was also the front lines. So it was a really great project. We got to dig into our collections, uncover untold stories and find out what gaps we had and start to fill them. So what was in other people's collections? And then one thing that came out of that was a bit like in the wider historiography of the First World War is not an emphasis on the front lines. I mean, a little bit of some of the better known stories about players who went to war, what happened to them there. Some of the other other famous events such as the Christmas Truce - so some of the historical debate around that and the famous charge of the Surreys  and the Irish - I think the London Rifles in 1916 and 1915 respectively. But within that, the Home Front story, outside of the history of women's football, seems to be relatively unknown. It was a bit that we had less information to do the exhibition. And so after we finished the exhibition, you  moved on to other things. And I bizarrely decided to keep researching away in my spare time. And, and of course, we found there was a lot of really interesting material that linked to a lot of the bigger, wider discussions about the home front. But also there's this untold story about football's own story. And so I've been researching that. I feel like it's been eight years now. So , yes, that's where I come to it. 

Tom Thorpe [00:03:04] So to give us some background, tell us about the organisation of football, its scale spread cultural importance in English society and how widely the men's and women's game was played before the Great War. 

Alex Jackson [00:03:17] Well, it is a lovely way to  go into this, which I do in the book, is to reflect on this because in 1913 the FA  celebrated its 50th anniversary. And it's a lovely moment. We have some of the items in the collection, some of the banquet menu and programme. And when you read the newspaper reports, look at the cartoons of the time, you have this sense of ... it's almost a cliché that confidence of an association that had gone from being a small number of clubs for middle class and upper class men in the 1860s for a game then by the 1930, developed into what we could recognisably, I think, say and call 'the modern game' in that you had at the base, you had this grassroots amateur game played by anywhere between 300 and 500,000 players ranging from old, old Etonians in their public school, ex-public school sides, all the way down to across to Durham Pitman playing in their amateur sides. And then above them it's in this very  rough pyramid. If we imagine it in rough terms, the semi-professional game right up to the elite professional game of the 60 odd clubs playing in the football league. And suddenly what you had is a bit more regional differentiation than the football league at 40 clubs, many of which we are familiar with Manchester United, the Chelseas, the Tottenham -  Aston Villas - the Southern League  quite a number some top Southern teams like Crystal Palace, Southampton that were familiar with - they moved into an expanded football league after the First World War. So you have that right at the top. That's a game that's watched by tens of thousands of spectators at each game,  each weekend. You've got millions across, millions and millions across the course of a season watching. And within that you have the FA Cup, which, although sadly these days it's not  the prestigious competition it once was, was then was the blue riband event .. and in 1913, you have a crowd of over 110,000 of 113,000 for Aston Villa vs Sunderland. That is the largest attendance for the FA Cup final at that point. And so it's this big mass spectator consumer sport as well. It's part of the consumer culture. And on the flipside of that is women's football has a very limited existence and that there's been women playing since the 1880s and 1890s. These tend to be relatively short lived because there's less popular support for it and it hasn't developed as a grassroots game. So women do pass, do engage, though partly through attendance. And they're also some women who are shareholders at clubs. And also interesting because this is the previous pre first world war, football is the site for football grounds the sites for suffragette attacks which is quite interesting in the sites obviously and the areas of typical areas of male sport and entertainment. So alongside golf courses being attacked, and football grounds being attacked and so attempts - and some  successful attempts to set parts of them on fire as well as through some damage caused to one or two and also a bit of hostile reconnaissance, as we might call it, with the 1913 cup final, with an aim of trying to sabotage that as well. And so, yeah, so it's this big modern game. And with that come a lot of concerns about its place in society. Should it be something that is purely recreational? Should you on and should you just play for the fun of the game that and it's also an activity of work - activity for men who get their living out of it as players or associated with  managers and trainers, etc: and so there are tensions around that because you have this at the level of the FA, you have unease with this with people who can remember the days, the amateur days before professionalism. So they are I mean, of course, across the sites hold this the site there are concerns about has this gone too far that too much money in the game? Player crisis prices for players too high? Should they even be such things as transfers? Are there too many foreigners which being that there are too many Scots in teams? Should it be a game played by local players? So in various different ways there are lots of recognised debates that we can recognise and that  where the game is  on the eve of the war. 

Tom Thorpe [00:07:46] And were there ... professional players in the way that we would recognise them for their work. They were full time paid a wage by their clubs, say Accrington Stanley ... or were they ... working in the middle of the factory for five days a week and they'd play on Saturdays? 

Alex Jackson [00:08:02] You have a mixture. Very much like today. They're at the very top amongst your elite professional clubs. You'll have full time professionals. You earn maximum wage. Then the maximum wage youwere  paid was about £4 a week, which is roughly twice what on average pay the working class man and you possibly get a bit more with long term services or bonus payments for things like wins and that kind of system where again we're familiar with. Below that you would then have the semi-professional where players would have jobs of students and also players at the very top job at clubs would also sometimes also have jobs as well. And that was with the idea that it's best to start your post playing retirement plans during, post  playing plans during your playing days. So some players would own shops or if they're middle class, might be playing, might be working as teachers during the week and receiving a full wage as a player as well. And then you get down to the semi-professional ranks. At that time, football did have, like today, English football had a very large number of semi-professional clubs -  region of the Northeastern League. So a lot of the reserve teams in Newcastle playing a local professional size in the area and so at that level you might get paid less, it might be like down to maybe a pound or so many shillings a week and that's obviously supplementary to having a job ... which would often be quite typical: miners, working in factories ... and that kind of  stuff. So it is at that level it is still quite different in terms of the amount of money that the comparative to today there and try to see what the top the top transfer fee around then was just going up to about two and a half thousand pounds I think or some like that on the on the eve of the war or something like that. 

Tom Thorpe [00:09:53] And I mean, I suppose to put that in context, the income tax rate I think was £150 and that's probably what a subaltern would be paid a second lieutenant. So that gives you an idea. So and that brings us neatly onto the war. So how did football in terms of the authorities, the amateur game, the professional game, react to the outbreak of war in August 1914? 

Alex Jackson [00:10:15] I think, so it's interesting when we get into a very much like a I think now that's  the  more commonly accepted view amongst I think within the historical see that it rather being a disaster response to war. There's a  immediate  shock and rapid shock reaction to it. And you see that within the football community, in the newspapers at the time, they show cartoons showing like the football season being overshadowed by this giant looming cloud of a storm cloud of war. And so fundamentally, like the rest of society, they've got to decide what is an appropriate response. Do you continue to do business as usual as the prime minister asked on that  economic side to avoid disruption, or do you try and react differently to ... to the call for volunteers to join up? Do you volunteer time or money? And I'd say what is interesting across the football community is that you have a range of different reactions - some people want to stop straight away. One body within the Football Association is the Amateur Football Association, and that was a group for more middle class, southern based clubs. They'd had to  split pre the First World War where they'd left the FA over issues around professionalism. And there is a group very much like the rugby union authorities and players, they shut down their season straightaway and they seemed to join up in very large numbers because in essence they are from the same class background. They are the that the young men who played football association football at public schools face to rugby. And it's a very similar response but we seem best seen by our teams called famous teams at the time called the Corinthians who are  the banner headline for that particular side of the amateur game, they were off  at the start of war. They were sailing off to Brazil to go on tour. So they arrive, by time they arrive, war's been declared. So they literally get off the boat, find that war's been declared. They get around, go straight back on the boat because some of them are in the army, like Territorials, and then those are just going straight back up to join. So by 19, literally 1915, they can have a 'Corinthians in Arms' game where it's all of their members who are in the forces playing an army team in the depot and the  training over well based. 

Alex Jackson [00:12:33] On the other hand so at the county level a number of counties decide to shut down straightaway although it's where they've got more professional clubs see the value in having wartime sport to keep for men who can't join up because obviously not everyone can join up for various different reasons. Partly also because you need people in factories and shipyards to help a 'total war' be fought. And so the FA comes out with a line of  like, you know, people should go and join up. And we greatly encourage ... i think everybody who can do that, should do that. At the same time, those who can't  should have an activity that they can continue to do, and to go and either do or to go and watch, and to shut down the game entirely would cause too much disruption and would unfairly hit those who rely on it who are over age, you know, people who work in industry but who are over age and can't join up. So sorry, that's a  a long answer so to speak to that question. And what that means is that the season continues in 14/15 at the professional level, which then leads into further controversy as the season goes ahead, whilst that in Britain they start to get further news of as the British army starts to come into contact with the Germans on the western front. 

Tom Thorpe [00:13:51] Is this what would be known as the anti football debate that takes place in 1914/15? And did it also apply to other sports as well as and besides football? 

Alex Jackson [00:14:01] Yes. And so yeah, it's part of obviously football gets to a degree singled out, but it is, as you say, part of a wider debate about the place of entertainment in sport. I think it's probably best to put them both together cause at the time people did that because football is singled out. Also the musicals to a degree as well. It's very interesting that horse racing, a very commercialised sports, which involves a huge amount of gambling, has a large professional workforce, is not picked at in the same way, which might be something to do with the fact that obviously a lot of aristocrats and people of that class are heavily invested in it in various different ways. And that's a point that's brought out at the time. Horse racing does come in for criticism at different points. I think later on in  through that  14/15 period. But at the beginning, football is quite clearly coming in for a lot of criticism partly because you can see a ... a clear differentiation between rugby union. Although the thing that ... needs to be almost still now is when sometimes the two sports are compared is that Rugby Union was an amateur sport and professional, and football encompasses very professional and amateur responses - body, groups, rather. And so what's  been under-explored and wasn't clear at the time is the response of amateur players within association football. And yes, it involves a very ... at times very bitter, heated, vicious debate on both sides. There's an awful lot of well, I almost call that propaganda being thrown at it. And so you have hostility from certain segments of society. Some have been opposed to football people or unhappy with its commercial aspects. And so that's almost like an unease with some of the working class elements of the game and the commercial side. But I think at the same time it's also important to recognise that some people did find it problematic and quite understandably so, when it's like letters from people who've had sons who have joined up and they've been killed quite early in the war - to see a large crowd of people at a game on a Saturday, in their mind, as if nothing's particularly different. It was obviously very challenging for them and so there is that emotional reaction to it as well. At the same time, you have some elements of the conservative press being duplicitous, using photographs of pre-war games for arguments around this very  tortured logic to war - and also unfair calls for selective conscription, to say of all footballers should be forcibly conscripted, which is obviously what you can have conscription it should be for everyone. And that's what the football people very early on, on the football side are  calling for conscription is the fairest way to solve these debates, which obviously, as we know, takes several years to come to fruition in the sense that early on you have people within the football community saying, well, if we're going to have this, then we're going to have to either shut down all the music halls and all this kind of stuff. We're going to have equal criticism or if we're not going to have it then we need to have conscription and that everyone can go or other it can be decided on their use to the nation - but at the same time whilst there's a lot going on, the football still is continued to be played and the FA Cup does not get cancelled, as there are some calls for it, and that continues. So in some ways there's a very big hostile debate to it that I think sometimes is seen as ... essentially deciding football's fate. And at the end of the 14/15 season, football - shuts off some of the professional side of it. And I think then at that point, - some historians, I think, have interpreted that football ends as a meaningful activity. So in the book, I've tried to take it beyond that 14/15 season ... because there's just so much more to that particular story. 

Tom Thorpe [00:17:52] And why not tell us about it now? So what happens to football when the 1914/15 season, which I think must be in the summer of 1915? Is it played in 16, 17, 18? 

Alex Jackson [00:18:06] Yes. And so, yeah, these are  the forgotten seasons, especially on the men's side. So what the big moment is here, it's a very interesting point from a home front story is, in the summer of 1915, the FA and the football bodies as a whole, are trying to decide what to do, they the find 14/15 season's being quite financially bad for many professional clubs; at the amateur level, lots of players have gone and joined up. And so it's about, what kind of football season is it? Firstly, can football continue and if so, in what shape or form, a bit like we had at the start of the 14/15 season. And so in the summer, the FA decides that there ... will be no payment of players. So it's not the end of professionalism. So big major clubs do continue playing through the war. And you say if you were in charge as a manager at Manchester United, you can still receive your money for your activities. If I was a player who wanted to continue to play I could not be paid to play. So that's very interesting ... as basically it sends the game back to its pre-professional roots into the 1870s and makes working class professional players amateur for the duration of the war. And also they also say that football can continue as long as it doesn't interfere with the war effort. So what happens is the football league and the clubs in London organise a series of regional leagues for the major clubs. So there's Lancashire, Midlands and London where groups play on a regional format, cut down travel and then at the amateur level County FAs, Some ... are still going and organising and encouraging play. Others have given up a bit during 14/15, especially when they had lots of players joining up. So from 14, from 1915, summer of 1915 onwards, football is on ... a very quite local, regional level and it very much depends on the attitudes of the local authorities and the clubs in your area about what level of football is available to you as a spectator and as a player. But it does go ahead. And you do have millions of fans still watching these regional games and lots of players still play at the local level. And then, obviously of course you then have women starting to play on a much bigger scale from about 19 through 1917 and 18, you have ... one or two early games in 1915 and 16, and then it becomes a much bigger .... women's football scene. So very broadly speaking, that's the ... the football that continues. And ... the men's side has tended to have been overlooked, but it's still very significant, I would argue, in terms of numbers of spectators. And then when you start digging out the actual meaning of the game to people because in some ways its meaning is both, and more during that period because it's an escape from war, but it's also a key reminder of your pre-war life in very different ways. 

Tom Thorpe [00:21:00] But tell us about that, so ... how did football, the FA and players support the war effort?  

Alex Jackson [00:21:14] .... three key ways I think is the best way to look at it. So a lot of it obviously on your first side there's military service, so, that ranges obviously from voluntary enlistment in 1914 and 15, and again, to trying to delver down into this a little bit to this because at the professional level, professional footballers as a group are really interesting to studies, naturally  work with a group of working people. And it had been , I think previously, based on some statistics that had been out there in the contemporary press that they had a volunteer rate of about 40%, which was seen as quite good in the context of what we know. I ... dug down into a bit more and I think that ... a lower figure based on the research that I've done is  more in keeping with some of the wider responses within different groups -it makes them a bit more similar to coal miners who still had a relatively strong response, but it's less like the middle classes. So there's military service by professionals at the amateur game. Again, there's a really strong campaign amongst the FA and its counties and individual clubs to encourage amateur players to join up. And again, that's really fascinating when you dig down into ... county responses, trying to understand where they fit into those regional patterns that we know and explore - right down to individual clubs. Some of the bits I try not to get too lost in, lost in too many times you forget sometimes you get a team photograph and then today with the wonders of Ancestry and all the other tools we have at our disposal, you can start digging out the whole teams and then getting these little snapshots in different places of  ... you know, one I wound was ... suburban west Manchester where there were clearly ... middle class clerks going into Manchester and Trafford and then seeing how that particular team went to different places. Some of them joined up together and served in Gallipoli, others went to other regiments and served across. So there's, there's that element to it. And then you get conscription, which is fascinating because again, as a group, footballers go before tribunals. And so that's fascinating exploring their particular story there ... So that ... and then was say tribunals and then obviously conscription takes more players into the services. So there's that element to it. And then also a bit, I just have to remind myself and my listeners, it's  like that or second it's. At. And the second level is  providing money for the war effort through deductions from gates at league games, special and gates from special charity games, or through fundraising activities organised by clubs and newspapers. And then the third aspect is ...  Helping morale of both civilians and soldiers in general. And I said in both the second case, the second and third points directly, really, that's something that's been really ... underexplored, I think, in terms of football's contribution, outside of women's football, to the Homefront story, because obviously, when it comes to charity fundraising, that's where civilians can get active themselves. And so, you know, that real sense of clubs taking pride in engaging about how where the money they raise goes and encouraging people to donate because you also have collections at grounds. Again, that's another way women can get engaged. So you have women going around the terraces collecting for different funds. I think in Bradford they had a lady and several women who said like, you know, raised like £400/£500 worth of material to send to the front. And you have newspapers again being very active on that side. So one of my favourite bits there was finding the Nottingham Football Post had a ... where Nottingham had players, the cigarettes, a famous cigarettes company, so they had a nice little tie in, so to speak. And so they arranged to send players cigarettes to the front and you so you could, they organised a big fund that raised about £300,000 during the war. Which is quite a substantial amount ... and so you could send in ... the charge at the last level a lot like sixpence, and then  later up to a shilling for two just to send a single box of cigarettes to  the front so you'd be given a postcard, which would go out with a box of cigarettes. So then the soldiers could write home to say thank you to the newspaper or to the person who sent it. So each week Nottingham football post alongside the football gossip has its page on its fund, has pictures being sent by troops to the front or troops smoking that being issued generally, but then a summary literally every week they list every single person who contributed and their address. You could do a whole separate project. Someone could do that mapping that all across the they had collections at pubs, so different pubs were competing against each other, pub regulars were writing about say, oh, it's good to be not forgotten like by the White Horse, you know, the guys there. Thanks very much. And it's also quite poignant because obviously some cigarettes get sent out and whoever they're being sent to has been  killed by the time they arrive. So you have soldiers at the front posting back saying, I'm really sorry. Unfortunately he was killed but we've distributed them to his mates. So thank you for that. And yeah, it's just that kind of stuff. It's just, you just find one source like that and you kind of think, well, you could all do a whole separate study on things like that. 

Tom Thorpe [00:26:36] And now I know your book doesn't cover this subject in great detail, but what impact did the war have on the female game? 

Alex Jackson [00:26:45] And so, yeah, so I do this as a chapter. Yeah, it's interesting because there's so much research coming out on this. This is where this particular area is, where they have a whole specific book in the future, because we are still finding out so much more about the women's game. What I found there is nothing else to is probably one of the  broader studies on this specific time period. So it goes from just having a few games playing as women start moving into different areas of the workforce ... during the First World War, obviously not as they haven't been in the workforce, the increasing numbers, especially in male dominated industries. And so then it .... takes off partly as a recreation activity for women who want to play, who enjoy playing as a rest from work. And something new to do alongside the new work they're doing. Then it is also an important fundraising activity that they too can participate in ... partly because it's new and different, women's games are sometimes very, quite successful in terms of their fundraising ability. So at the top end, they can attract crowds of up to 20,000 for some of the major games. So what you have is ... from a very small basis ... it then mushrooms, and you have - not uniformly across the country, but in different areas, you have different areas of popularity. The northeast is one of the key areas. So you have a lot of teams playing, you have some of the first organised leagues and cup competitions in the history of the women's game. And you also have even some people thinking like, well, women's football will continue to take off after the war, you know, where there's even one person going like, oh, maybe it will, they will have professional female players as a  a big radical notion for people to get their drone on. So it is all to say what is access, one of the better known aspects of the home front story. So unfortunately after the war, the women's game unfortunately is held back, but that's almost a separate story. So we'll probably touch on the second issue. 

Tom Thorpe [00:28:49] Which quite neatly squeezing point penultimate question, which is what was the legacy and impact of the Great Wall on football? For instance, how was it played, administered and appreciated? And what … how did it shape it in the war, the  game? 

Alex Jackson [00:29:04] It's an interesting one as arguably the war football's experience. The war is shaped by in terms of that central moment when the FA decide not to pay players. That ... shapes the wartime experience as almost looking backwards. It's obviously partly about trying to react to some of that criticism in 14 and 15, but it is ultimate. And by doing that, it's saying that the game is an inappropriate game, one without money at the top levels for players. So that's a backward looking vision. So in the war, some people do welcome that. You have journalists talking about it saying, oh, this is really great. You know, we've taken out some of these, you know, the excessive money plays just lounging around, waiting to play in the still playing on a Saturday that now got jobs. There's even calls for suggestions that players should have to have jobs after the war. But that is ... as far as it goes in terms of that ... approach to thinking envisaging a post-war world and it's a post-war world through the prism of a wartime world and through the prism of previous world war, a world that's looking back to the 1870s. What you get is, I think, common to a lot of the rest of society, it's very much about setting that clock back to that 1914 clock and  going from there. So the professional game quickly restarts. There are no limitations around wages brought in, wages are restored and they go back up for players. Transfer wages, sorry transfer fees come back in very quickly and they start boosting up quite quickly as well, because you've had all the disruption of war you need to rebuild your teams. There's the same desperate grab for quality talent, especially when it's hard to get hold of decent strikers or forwards who always cost a lot of money. And so from that side, that's about looking backwards, as is the bar. As the essays found in 1921 on FA clubs hosting affiliated women's football sides. So women's football is banned as women are told they are not allowed to play - it's they're not allowed to play on the grounds owned - belonging to clubs within the FA. And so that is a crucial barrier because it basically means the space in which women can play is taken away. They've got to find grounds or areas outside of that, outside of the main football areas. And that's very much partly about sexism or very hard to argue , it's mainly about sexism in that regard. And so that ... shuts off that particular development, which obviously then has a legacy because it took nearly another 50 years before women's football - the FA started engaging with it again. As I say, when we look at where women's football is today, you can see that long term legacy ... of that immediate post-war decision. And one of the other things that does come in after the war that's interesting or rather that stays after the war is that during the war they introduced gate sharing, which is where they were to deal with some of the financial issues that clubs face through which to reduce crowds. And quite this big disparity between the crowds that some clubs got into because major clubs like Liverpool, Everton, could still attract decent crowds, and make a profit. Clubs like a Bury, for example, struggled badly during the war. They had to do very different things to make money, such as selling the timber from the stands, letting sheep graze on the pitch. I think during one summer they did a deal with a local pub landlord, and had some sheep for some other things like that. So that's what we're keeping the grass down, saving some money on the grounds in this case. They introduced gate sharing, which when it was brought in in 15/16, wasn't greeted enthusiastically, shall we say, by some of the big clubs. So the 16 in the summer of 1916 when the having the  football league meeting about this, some of the big clubs, Everton, Liverpool, the Sheffield clubs, Manchester clubs get together and say - get rid of gate pooling, we're not playing, we're going to form our Little League, which obviously has some perhaps echoes of the European Super League through people might remember last week. So at that point ... all the smaller clubs, a bit like, Oh, no, don't do that. Yeah, okay. Right, well, we'll vote for that issue. But then they're struggling so badly that the big clubs would eventually decide that  we do need small clubs because then we might not have the games to play. So we will go back to some gate chairing and so at the end of the war and they have a vote 'do we keep gate sharing' of a certain amount and surprisingly there's a vote in favour for it, although I think Everton are still opposed to Everton throughout were very much 'why should we prop up smaller clubs with less money or ambition?' All these different arguments around them, so that remained in place until, I believe, 1983. And when it went, it was one of the precursors to obviously … the voices. This one might call out the increasingly hyper commercialisation of the professional game from the 1990s onwards. It's kind of the modern game we have with us today. So by taking away that gate sharing, one of those principles of mutual support and aid to each other that paves the way for the modern game we have today. And so, yeah, I mean, at the individual ... What I was thinking about as well is ... those of us of the big level where it has a different individual level level did have quite an impact. Some clubs moved during the war ... so Queen's Park Rangers were at one ground, they then had to give it up for munitions - to become a munitions factory. So then they end up moving eventually to that to their to ... to Loftus Road. I'm trying to think of one or two. There are one or two other London clubs who also lost their grounds either temporarily or permanently, because space was such a premium within London. I think its most profound impact was probably at the level of individual lives, in terms of lives ended or disrupted. Players who had their careers lost to the war through time or through wounds, both mental and physical. And some of those stories we just don't know, because obviously it's not the kind of case where it might be the player had a promising career to go on to, and then they never came back or they came back and never had a chance to join their club. I think I found some very touching stories that we covered within the exhibition of people who did overcome that. So, like Jimmy Seed, was a player for Sunderland Reserves, he joined up, served in the DLI. He was gassed twice and came back to Sunderland. They played him once in a friendly when he's still recovering from being gassed, which would be, I don't know quite how he managed that and they took one look at him after the all game they released him and he then went to the Welsh valleys, resurrected his career there. Signed by Tottenham and helped them win an FA Cup Second Division. After a little while he wanted to keep on her wages. Tottenham wants to reduce them, so they let him go to Sheffield Wednesday with a relegation fight at the bottom of first division. Tottenham were mid-table and without Jimmy Seed Tottenham slumped, got relegated because Sheffield Wednesday just survived ... and because he helped them go through that ... and then the following two seasons ... with him as captain they won two back to back first division titles so like a  Leicester lost but two years running they were that good ... and so that's a lovely story because it's heartwarming and he managed to overcome that obviously how many of the players were in a similar situation and just you know, went back to whatever they were doing so and so, yeah. And I think there's just obviously so many more of those individual stories to be  uncovered and explored really. 

Tom Thorpe [00:36:47] My final question is where can people learn more about your work, the museum and get the book? 

Alex Jackson [00:36:54] Well, the museum is in Manchester, so I should definitely, obviously give them a plug, we're in central Manchester near Victoria  train station in Cathedral Gardens. So it's ... you have to pay to enter, but it's a yearly ticket so you can go back as many times as you wish within that. And you can see some material relating to the First World War on display there including Donald Bell's Victoria Cross, which is on loan from the Professional Footballers Association. That's obviously one of our very special items on display. You can also see the Football Association's War Memorial and that they produced in the early 1920s there as well. You got to plug the book, which is coming out at the end of March, hopefully, hopefully on some bookshop shelves in April that fingers crossed and that's with Pen & Sword. So if you want to pre-order it now, you can get £5 off the asking price. I've also ... written one or two bits, including one article relating to the First World War in the Blizzard, which is a  quarterly football publication. And I've also written one or two academic bits as well, so sometimes they're more difficult to get hold of. So if you do want to contact me directly either via Twitter where it's Dr. AlexChap1 or at the National Football Museum, if you just drop an email to Alex.Jackson@NationalFootballMuseum.com. I'll be happy to share research or just hear what people have been researching themselves because having written the book, it's obviously one of those things you write about, but you're still researching it afterwards. And I think that's just going to be quite a lot more that's still coming out there. So, yeah. 

Tom Thorpe [00:38:32] Alex, thank you very much for your time now. 

Alex Jackson [00:38:35] Thank you very much.