Watford v Kaiserslautern, 1983 UEFA Cup

Watford completed a meteoric rise from the Fourth Division to the First between 1978 and 1982, under future England manager Graham Taylor. The Hertfordshire club then finished second behind Liverpool in 1982-83, and embarked on their first-ever European campaign the following season. They drew tough opponents in the First Round, Kaiserslautern, founder members of the…

By MisterPBLW September 28, 2019 0

Shahan Petrossian: An Interview

This interview is a new development for the 1888 Letter, and I hope the first of many. In the course of my research for this blog over the last 18 months, I kept finding useful links to the site Soccer Nostalgia, and videos posted on YouTube by ‘sp1873’. The site contained a wealth of detail…

By MisterPBLW September 7, 2019 0

Football Magazines: A Collaborative Project

Introducing a collaborative series between the 1888 Letter and Soccer Nostalgia, exploring the experiences of football magazine readers. We will be posting contributions from fans worldwide on both blogs, over the coming months. Soccer Nostalgia (@sp1873): When one becomes a serious Soccer (Football) fan, the next step in the evolution is to read about it…

By MisterPBLW August 31, 2019 2

Manchester City v Oldham Athletic, 1988

It’s hard to imagine the hugely successful global brand that is modern-day Manchester City being troubled by their impoverished neighbours Oldham Athletic, currently languishing in the bottom division of the Football League. Yet a look at their head-to-head record suggests they were once evenly matched, and the Latics occasionally held the upper hand. In their…

By MisterPBLW August 24, 2019 0

France in the 1980s: The British Abroad

The 1980s saw a number of high-profile transfers of players from the Football League to the wealthier Italian and Spanish sides, a trend which gathered pace when English clubs were banned from European competition after the Heysel Stadium tragedy of 1985. Among these were Liam Brady, Joe Jordan, Trevor Francis, Graeme Souness, Ray Wilkins, Steve…

By MisterPBLW August 10, 2019 0

The Days of Cricketing Footballers

On the eve of the 2019 Ashes series, I look back at the days of cricketing footballers, today a rare breed but a phenomenon which enjoyed a ‘golden age’ from the late nineteenth century. The giant of Victorian cricket, Dr W.G. Grace, was also a keen footballer who appeared for the Wanderers; Grace later became…

By MisterPBLW July 31, 2019 2

Football in North America: The Background

Football in North America, or soccer as our trans-Atlantic cousins prefer to call it, has a longer history than many people imagine. Canada and the USA contested the first international fixture outside the British Isles, at Newark, New Jersey, in 1885, where a group of British expatriates had established the American Football Association, the world’s…

By MisterPBLW July 20, 2019 2

England v Uruguay, 1966 World Cup

After the excitement of the preparations and build-up, the 1966 World Cup Finals kicked off at 7.30 p.m. on Monday 11 July 1966 at Wembley. After the low-key opening ceremony, hosts England took on Uruguay, twice winners of the tournament, in front of an expectant crowd of over 87,000 at Wembley. Alf Ramsey, England manager…

By MisterPBLW July 11, 2019 0

South America: The British Abroad (An Introduction)

The British had extensive banking and business interests in South America, as elsewhere in the world, by the second half of the 19th century. They were heavily involved in developing the rail network, which took them to every corner of the Continent. There they established institutions including schools, social and sporting clubs for the expatriate…

By MisterPBLW June 29, 2019 0