world war and football

How the World War affected football

The daily world events touch all parts of ​​life. Especially when they do not affect just one country, but the whole world. A war is one of these events, perhaps the most extreme one.

The First World War was a global conflict, unprecedented until then, in 1914 when it broke out. Europeans thought it wouldn't last long, but they were wrong. The hardness of war "haunted" forever those who have experienced this conflict. After the war, nothing was as before.

Anyway, How has the World War affected football? 'Marca' published a publication about the subject.

One of the countries that were more active role in global conflict, was United Kingdom. In England, the "mother" of football, during the 4-year war, all sports leagues suspended except football. In 1914-15 season, the «Football League First Division» continued normally and Everton conquered the title. Big "star" of the champion was Bobby Parker, who won the title of top scorer of the season with 35 goals. Oldham Athletic finished 2nd and Blackburn at the third position.

Since 1916, however, the situation changed and football could not "escape" from the consequences of war. The reason was simple. With the war continued for more than expected, many players in England were called to serve their country in the army. Those who initially refused to go, acquired the stigma of "traitor."

One of them was Jimmy Hogan, who did not avoid the outcry, especially since he decided to spend the war years in another country. Evolved into one of the leading coaches who changed football and his life became a book titled "Prophet or Traitor: The Story of Jimmy Hogan."

Bradford City team in the 1st World War
The only known photograph of Bradford City team during the Great War (1914-1915)

It was the clubs who decided if the players will go to war or not. They had the last word, and in most cases the answer was negative. Their attitude has caused many reactions, with critics stating that those players are not privileged and should not have special treatment.

There were, however, a few clubs and players who realize that it is their duty to serve their country literally sacrificing every last drop of their blood. In 1914, the 'Football Battalion', crated, where the same guild recruiting players to serve their country. Many of them never returned alive from the trenches. It is indicative that Bradford City lost 6 footballers who played in the first team.

Several footballers excelled in battle and was promoted like Donald Simpson (Crystal Palace and Newcastle) and Tim Coleman (Everton, Sunderland, Fulham).

The only benefit from the recruitment of men, was the rise of female football in England. Men to go to war, when women took their place in their teams.

In other major European countries, things were worse. In Germany and France, all events that had to do with football suspended. The local football players went to other countries.

Finally, in Italy, football stopped as a sport from 1915 until 1919. Serie A was created in 1898, but became professional in 1929. Before the war, the last champion was Genoa. With the return of football season 1919-20, the championship won by Inter.