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  • Published: 1 March 2012
  • ISBN: 9781407085968
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 320


The Unlikely Story of Football’s First FA Cup Heroes

The fascinating story of football's origins and the first ever FA Cup giant-killing

‘Fancy! A lot of working chaps beating a lot of gentlemen!’

In 1879 in the FA Cup third round a football team from the humble Lancashire cotton town of Darwen took on Remnants – a Berkshire club of the moneyed and well-connected – and beat them. It was football’s first ever giant-killing.

Their reward was a quarter-final with the mighty Old Etonians. It was rulers against ruled, rich against poor, champions who used old football tactics against underdogs who used new, the men who were supposed to have invented the game against the lower orders who had taken it up: it was an encounter that was seen to be symbolic.And it had a sub-text that within a year or two became a bitter controversy.

Underdogs is a fascinating story that covers the very birth of football and its development towards the game we recognise today. Storyteller, football historian and connoisseur, Keith Dewhurst, shows how 120 years ago, near its beginning, football was already reflecting the modern game closely – money talks, cheating abounds, and victory is secured whatever the cost.

  • Published: 1 March 2012
  • ISBN: 9781407085968
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 320

About the author

Keith Dewhurst

Keith Dewhurst has been a yarn tester in a cotton mill, a reporter for the Manchester Evening Chronicle, and a columnist for the Guardian. Six of his seventeen stage plays have been premiered at the National Theatre, and he is the author of more than twenty television plays, two novels, two movies and a theatrical memoir.

Also by Keith Dewhurst

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Praise for Underdogs

Fascinating... The beginning of professionalism, a change in the style of playing, the end of southern amateur Oxbridge chaps dominating football... Keith [Dewhurst] has done an excellent research job in recreating the times and tensions

Hunter Davies, Spectator

Keith Dewhurst...does a sound job of explaining how Darwen's exploits presaged a seismic shift in football power, as the upper-class amateur ethos of clubs based mainly in the south inexorably lost gruond to the more hard-nosed, and increasingly more skilful, approach of clubs in the North-West. [A]story of FA Cup magic

Simon Redfern, Independent on Sunday

It is a brilliant story, and Dewhurst tells it with forensic detail… Full of fascinating facts and some wonderful anecdotes as he traces the early development of football into a mass sport as the aspiring sons of the industrial classes went to public schools and brought the game back home with them… Fascinating stuff

Sarah Crompton, Daily Telegraph

An absorbing historic insight into their unlilely cup run, as well as the game's early struggle to establish itself

Four Four Two

If you're looking for a true, well-written football story highlighting class divisions, how the game changed and early evidence of the will to win set in Victorian England, then Keith Dewhurst's Underdogs will not disappoint

Birmingham Post

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