Beyond altruism: British football and charity, 1877–1914

Kay, Joyce and Vamplew, Wray (2010) Beyond altruism: British football and charity, 1877–1914. Soccer & Society, 11 (3). pp. 181-197. ISSN 1466-0970

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Football charity matches and tournaments played a significant part in the development of the sport in Britain, overlapping the era of friendly games and the advent of competitive leagues. The football community prided itself on its contributions to charity, raising more money than any other sport before 1914, and stakeholders within the game – associations, clubs, players and patrons – gained considerable kudos for this perceived altruism. However, this essay will demonstrate that amounts donated, though welcome, were relatively minor sources of revenue for both institutions and individuals, and that the charity match became less important to clubs in a professional, and increasingly commercial, era.

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