125 Years of the Army Football Association 1888 to 2013

By Jack Rollin

ISBN 978-1-905891-65-8

Price: £14

Mid-sized paperback of 134 pages, illustrated

Foreword by Major General Bruce Brearley CB, Chairman Army FA


The Army Game traces the origins of football itself and reveals the influence the Army had in its development. It played a supporting role in the foundation of the Football Association in 1863 and then through the successes of the Royal Engineers in the FA Cup ten years later. Army personnel figured prominently in the early international matches. The momentum increased with the formation of the Army FA in 1888 and the inauguration of the still-flourishing Army Challenge Cup. That year coincided with the formation of the Football League, making the two competitions the joint second-oldest nationwide.

Royalty as Patrons regularly attended important matches including the start of the Inter-Service tournament, firstly against the Royal Navy and then with the addition of the Royal Air Force. Wherever the Army served, football was not far behind. In the Great War, many professional footballers were among the casualties and won decorations.

The inter-war years saw the Army expand its football despite a reduction in numbers. The start of the Kentish Cup against its wartime Allies was another competition carrying on the tradition. In the Second World War, HM Government insisted the game would continue and many outstanding international players in the service appeared in fund-raising matches. Once again the Royal family was visibly supportive. Footballers again fought in all war zones and suffered along with their comrades. Immediately after the war, the introduction of National Service brought many outstanding young Football League players into uniform.

In the last 25 years there have been many tours abroad and a continual implementation of new competitions. These have extended at different levels for representative teams, including those for women’s football as well as youth and Under-23. Courses for referees and coaching have further expanded the Army's football structure and authority. Despite ever-present operational commitments imposed on a shrinking Army, there continues to be growth in its sporting stature and this is reflected in The Army Game.

Jack Rollin is the former editor of Soccer Star and the Rothmans/Sky Sports Yearbook. This is the fourth title of his that Tony has been pleased to publish.

The book is a mid-sized sized paperback book of 134 pages with b/w illustrations and full-colour cover. The price is £14.00. Copies are available from sports booksellers and by post from Tony.  If ordering by post, please send a cheque or postal order for £16.00 (which includes £2 for UK postage and packing), payable to Tony Brown, to 4 Adrian Close, Toton, Nottingham NG9 6FL.

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