In 1927, Welsh football reached a peak when Cardiff City beat Arsenal in the FA Cup Final. The game's popularity had grown at a notable rate in early twentieth-century south Wales and by 1939 football was an integral part of the region's popular culture. Rugby's claim to be the national sport looked tenuous when measured against the equally large crowds that football attracted and the significantly larger numbers who played the 'dribbling code' across the region. Soccer and Society surveys soccer's early history in south Wales. Through an exploration of the entire spectrum of the game, from international matches and professional clubs to schoolboy games, this fascinating book illustrates how soccer was shaped by wider social, cultural and economic forces. Drawing on a broad range of primary sources, Martin Johnes places football in its wider historical context. He shows how soccer was incorporated into a redefined national identity that emerged from the depression and political realignment in inter-war south Wales, and demonstrates the significance of the sport for twentieth-century Welsh history and culture.
Martin Johnes is a lecturer in Sports Studies at St Martin's College, Lancaster. He is the author, with Iain McLean, of Aberfan: Government and Disasters (2000) and has published widely on the history of both local government and sport in Wales.