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Sport in History Podcast

British Society of Sports History

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The Sport in History Podcast brings you the latest in cutting edge research with interviews and talks with leading sports historians and up and coming researchers into Sports History. The podcast is a British Society of Sports History production from the UK's leading scholarly society for the history of sport. Click through to our website for further information on our events and to find out how to join the Society.
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The Greatest Podcast in the History of Our Sport

The Greatest Podcast in the History of Our Sport

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Traverse the triple decker steel cage full of rare white bengal tigers and fingerpoke the ghost of WCW with DoubleCakes and Doc Destructo. We pathologize, eulogize, and yapapize a bygone era of Big Boys. Get thrown from dizzying heights and buried under big, bald sons o'bitches. Put your butt in the seat for The Greatest Podcast in the History of Our Sport.
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Throughout the twentieth century women’s rights to compete in sport at international level started to be realised, with major tournaments and competitions starting to, reluctantly, open their doors to female athletes. Nonetheless, this battle had been difficult and long for many women’s sporting organisations who relied on dedicated committee membe…
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This emerging, ongoing research project delves into the historical influence of class distinctions on cricket in Greater Manchester, focusing on grassroots cricketers and their connection to their playing kit. With a background as a Salford native, the researcher is intrigued by the interplay of sport and social class, especially through the lens o…
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Dr Michael Connolly is currently lecturing in Sport Management at the University of Stirling, placed within the Faculty of Health Science and Sport.His research is centred within the Sport division and over the past five academic years he has worked towards producing the world's first biography of Brother Walfrid - most recognised as the prime foun…
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This episode is a recording of a Roundtable discussion during the first Cricket Research Network conference, held at the Museum of Welsh Cricket in Cardiff on 23 February 2024. The discussion was Chaired by Professor Dominic Malcolm (Loughborough University) and the participants (in the order in which they appear on the recording) were:Michael Coll…
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'For those who like the life nothing could be better’: The Games Mistress in Interwar BritainDuring the Edwardian period the ‘sporting girl’ was increasingly being framed as modern and aspirational. Intensive exercise programmes had been introduced at many British girls’ schools and the physical education colleges were graduating substantial number…
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In the decades surrounding the turn of the twenty-first century, few brands across the globe gained more recognition than that of FC Barcelona. During this period, the club engaged in two mission that were seemingly at odds with one another. The first was to globalize the club’s reach and expand into international markets. The second was to retain …
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Clem Seecharan, the distinguished historian of Guyana and Caribbean cricket, talks to David Woodhouse at a special event to celebrate his being given the Howard Milton Award for cricket scholarship.Clem talks about his youth growing up on Berbice in then British Guyana and the effect on him of reading the CLR James classic, 'Beyond a Boundary'. He …
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Barbara Buttrick and the History of Women’s Boxing in BritainThis paper explores the life and career of Barbara Buttrick but also the way in which her achievements have been remembered (and forgotten). Born near Hull in 1930, Buttrick faced discrimination and disapproval in the UK and was frequently banned and boycotted. Moving to the United States…
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‘I've been with them longer than my wife.’ Searching for emotional clues in published fan culture. The highs and lows of following Lincoln City 1945-2000Histories of emotions in sports have been mainly noticeable by their absence. This paper aims to begin to fill the gap Ross McKibbin identified when he questioned the failure of historians to serio…
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This episode Souvik Naha gives a paper on the relationship between cricket, nationalism and postcolonial identities in 20th century India.What cricket tells us about the making of a postcolonial cityIndian cricket mobilized a large and diverse popular following in the twentieth century. What was so special about cricket and why was it so important …
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This episode Geoff talks to cricket historian Jeremy Lonsdale about the MCC tour to India in 1926-27. The tour, led by Arthur Gilligan, was a pivotal moment in Indian cricket history with Indian cricketers proving that they were worthy to play Test matches in the very near future. Jeremy also talks about the political implications of the tour at a …
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This episode features the keynote presentation at the 2023 BSSH Conference at Manchester Metropolitan University. Dr Heather Dichter gives a wide ranging overview of the relationship between sport and soft power over the past century from the turbulent politics of the 1930s through the Cold War to the Beijing Games.Dr Heather Dichter of De Montfort…
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'The enemy within' football hooliganism and the miners' strike' During the 1980s Margaret Thatcher’s government attempted to reduce the economic power of the industrial working class by legislating against the trade unions and defeating the 1984-85 Miners’ Strike. At the time English football was an important part of male working-class culture, par…
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Join Conor Heffernan as he interviews Turlough O'Riordan and Terry Clavin, co-editors of the wonderful 2022 collection Irish Sporting Lives. We are also delighted to be joined by Irish Sporting Lives contributor (and force behind a successful conference) Carol Osborne.Irish Sporting Lives can be purchased directly from the Royal Irish Academy at ht…
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Roger Domeneghetti is Senior Lecturer in Journalism at Northumbria University while maintaining a career as a freelance journalist where he has worked for Associated Press, Sporting Life and the Morning Star among others.In 2015 Roger’s book, From the Back Page to the Front Room, a history of England’s football media, was short-listed for the BSSH’…
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The geographies and finances of bare-knuckle prize-fighting in Britain, 1860-1880From the mid-nineteenth century bare-knuckle prize-fighting in Britain was reported as being in retreat. Yet, despite opposition and condemnation prize-fighting retained a ubiquitous social and cultural presence, both inside and outside the ring. Large crowds made up o…
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This episode features a paper given by Katie Holmes at the IHR on women's running.Until October 1975, women in the UK did not compete in marathons, nor were they allowed run in any other long-distance road races. Women’s Amateur Athletic Association rules prohibited them from racing further than 6000m. Road racing was an almost entirely male preser…
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Brother Walfrid (Andrew Kerins) is best known for founding Celtic F.C. in 1888. While his name is known well within the club's history, biographical details of Walfrid are often lacking. Listen as Conor speaks with Dr. Michael Connolly from Sterling University concerning Michael's new book,Walfrid: A Life of Faith Community and Football. The book c…
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This episode features a paper given by Alec Hurley at the British Society of Sport History's Sport & Leisure History seminar at the Institute of Historical Research in London.Though sport clubs are universal, there exists – as nineteenth century French diplomat Alexis DeTocqueville claimed – a uniquely American disposition toward the formation of a…
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This episode Geoff talks to Jeremy Lonsdale about his latest work on Yorkshire cricket history, 'A Game Emerging: Yorkshire before the coming of the All England Eleven'.The book tells the story of Yorkshire cricket from c. 1750 to the 1840s and in their conversation Geoff and Jeremy discuss the way in which cricket fitted into wider societal change…
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In this episode Rob Colls examines the ‘Fight of the Century’ - between the American John Carmel Heenan and the British boxer ‘Brighton Titch’ Tom Sayers - which took place on 17th April 1860. The fight was a landmark in the history of international sport whose staging and coverage encapsulated many of the dramatic social, technological and economi…
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Eric Blakely gives a paper on Zoom about his fascinating research into the social background of the 750 or so athletes who competed for Great Britain and Ireland in the 1908 London Olympics. Eric's paper is followed by questions from the audience.British Society of Sports History
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Join Conor Heffernan, Oliver Knabe and Alan McDougall as they discuss the new edited collection Football Nation: The Playing Fields of German Culture, History, and Society. Published in 2022, this collection draws from a range of different fields to discuss the socio-political and cultural importance of football in Germany across the twentieth-cent…
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This episode Geoff talks to David Woodhouse about his quadruple award-winning book, 'Who Only Cricket Know: Hutton's Men in the West Indies 1953/54'.Held at the London Library in central London it's a wide ranging discussion in which David explains why the MCC tour of that year was a key moment in the history of cricket and society more generally o…
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This episode is a recording of the paper given by Max Portman at the Institute of Historical Research on 14th Nov 2022.If one is to talk about the importance of sport within East London, West Ham United is always a part of the conversation. As the premier football team within the area, West Ham United are ingrained in the popular culture psyche of …
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This episode Geoff talks to Dr Rich Parry about his latest book, Swallows and Hawk, which tells the history of South Africa through the medium of MCC cricket tours .Beginning at the end of the nineteenth century Rich tells us how cricket and the development of colonial capitalism went hand in hand throughout the twentieth century on the continent o…
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Join Conor Heffernan and David Patrick as they discuss David's upcoming co-edited book with Ian Phimister, A Boxing Legacy: The Life and Works of Writer and Cartoonist Ted Carroll (Rowman, 2023). Ted Carroll was one of the greatest American artists and sportswriters of the twentieth century, most notably as a boxing cartoonist and journalist. As a …
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The Accidental Sports HistorianRamachandra Guha is a historian and biographer based in Bengaluru. For many years, Ramachandra Guha wrote scholarly, heavily footnoted, academic books and papers which dealt with subjects other than sport, while moonlighting during the weekends as a writer of popular, anecdotal, articles on Indian cricket and crickete…
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Professor Richard Holt, whose critical sport on British sport history, opens the BSSH's 40th anniversary with a retrospective keynote on the development of British sport history and the areas still in need of historical attention. We are thankful to Professor Holt for a fascinating paper, which can also be found in print form online at https://www.…
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Join Conor and Professor Mike Cronin for a retrospective discussion on Professor Cronin's own career in Irish sport history, the rise of sport history as a discipline in Ireland and the areas still in need of attention.Professor Mike Cronin has been the Academic Director of Boston College Ireland since 2005. He was educated at the University of Ken…
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Rob Colls is Professor Emeritus of Sports History at De Montfort University.In his Keynote speech at the BSSH Conference 2022 he talks passionately about his life as a historian of sport and his research for his award-winning book, 'This Sporting Life', which tells the story of sport in England from the 18th to the 20th Centuries.…
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EDI Rep on the BSSH Exec Dr Amanda Callan-Spenn hosts a round table discussion of the issues around Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in the world of sports history with a panel of academics at various stages of their careers at the BSSH 2022 Conference at De Montfort University.On the panel:-Dr Paul Campbell (University of Leicester)Dr Lydia Furse…
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Join Conor Heffernan and Dr. Alexander Jackson as they discuss Dr. Jackson's new book, Football's Great War: Association Football on the English Home Front, 1914–1918. Learn how English football survived without professional football, the players who played on regardless, illicit payments and so much more.Dr. Jackson's new book is available to buy …
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Another podcast to celebrate the BSSH 40th anniversary this year. Today Katie Taylor chats with Dr Neil Carter from the International Centre for Sports History and Culture at De Montfort University.British Society of Sports History
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This special podcast episode is part of a series celebrating the British Society of Sports History’s 40th Anniversary. Throughout this series we will be talking to a variety of our members. From those who have been there since the beginning, those that have played important roles in the society, and those who have led changes. Today we are joined b…
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This episode Katie Talks to Max Portman about the history of West Ham Football Club in the late twentieth and early twenty first centuries.Max is a doctoral candidate at the University of Chichester and his current title is: How West Ham United operates as a nexus of communities since 1981?British Society of Sports History
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This episode features a paper given by Jon Hughes at the BSSH's seminar series at the Institute of Historical Research. Jon's paper,'We met the most serious opposition in the Ministry of Propaganda': Borders, Limits, and Summits in the German-British mountain film Der Berg ruft / The Challenge (1938)' is a fascinating look at how Anglo-German film-…
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Arthur Hopcraft’s much-celebrated The Football Man (1968) comprised chapters based on interviews with representative ‘football men’ of the 1960s – ‘The Player’, ‘The Manager’, ‘The Referee’ etc. But though there is a brief chapter on ‘Football and the Press’, the ever-present match reporter receives little attention.Bryan Stanley Johnson (1933-73) …
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This episode Geoff talks to Dr Duncan Stone about the history of English cricket. Duncan's new book, 'Different Class', examines how cricket in England has a long history of class and racial discrimination which continues to have an impact on the game today. The discussion looks at the difference in cricket culture between north and south, Duncan's…
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“I have had two thrills today. One racing at Newmarket this afternoon. The other here at speedway. And this is by far the greater”. Why did speedway become so phenomenally popular in the late 1930s and 40s?Very little historical research has been carried out on speedway racing yet it was a sport which attracted 12.5 million attendances in Britain i…
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Aaron Ó Maonaigh is an independent scholar and post-primary teacher in South Dubllin, Ireland.Today's interview focuses on Aaron's latest article in Soccer and Society: ‘In the Ráth Camp, rugby or soccer would not have been tolerated by the prisoners’: Irish Civil War attitudes to sport, 1922-3. Find the article at -https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/…
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John Fisher retired from the University of Newcastle in 2004 (from the Department of Economics, since defunct). He has written and published extensively on aspects of English and Australian rural and veterinary history. His most recent previous article is on Richard Cheslyn's father in the Transactions of the Leicestershire Archaeological and Histo…
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Jorge Tovar is an associate professor at the Economics Department in Los Andes University (Bogota - Colombia). He holds a Ph.D. in economics from UC Berkeley, specializing in International Trade and Industrial Organization. In addition, he has worked in sports economics and history for over six years, focusing on football and publishing various art…
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This episode it's Heather Dichter's paper at the BSSH/IHR Sport & Leisure seminar series from December 2021.The appearance of the Berlin Wall on the morning of August 13, 1961 immediately halted free travel in and out of Berlin, and it also had an immediately impact within sport. East and West German sporting relations came to a halt. More broadly,…
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This episode Malcolm MacLean of University of Queensland/DMU/University of Gibraltar gives a paper on rugby in Aoteoroa/New Zealand and the multiple meanings of the Haka.Recent historiographic trends that admit the voices, both schol-arly and archival, of Empire’s Others alongside emerging post- and de-colonial praxis are prompting a significant re…
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