No Foreign Game: Association Football and the Making of Irish Identities
Carefully weaving together political, social, cultural and sporting history, No Foreign Game tells the story of Association Football in Ireland – a story not just of division and conflict, but also one of solidarity and celebration.
From its earliest days, Association Football was seen not just as a contest between individuals and teams, but also between nations and peoples. The Irish national team was among the first in the world to participate in international competition in the early 1880s, but not everyone accepted it as a truly national entity. Sport in Ireland was disputed ground in a manner that was not the case elsewhere – even the term ‘football’ itself was a contested one. But soccer followers generally found no contradiction between their sporting and national loyalties, and the game found an important niche in Irish life, supported by many leading nationalists, from James Connolly to John Hume.
This book provides a unique window into the history of Ireland and Britain, with keen insights into the making of national, regional, sectarian, class and gender identities that crystallised around Irish soccer. Taking the story from the 1870s up to the present, it examines the domestic as well the international game in Ireland, North and South, and sets both in a richly detailed historical and cultural context. It also examines the experience of Irish communities in England and Scotland, and the ways in which the game affected their relationship with their host societies.
Carefully weaving together political, social, cultural and sporting history, No Foreign Game tells a story not just of division and conflict, but also one of solidarity and celebration, and in doing so it breaks new ground in the history of Irish sport.
1. Scuffles, Schools and Scots: The Genesis of Irish Association Football
2. North and South: Rivalry and Resentment 1900–14
3. Things Fall Apart: Conflict and Division 1914–21
4. Football on a Divided Island 1921–39
5. Leagues of Nations: International Football 1921–39
6. National Service: War and Its Aftermath 1939–55
7. A Cold House: The Irish League 1939–72
8. Rise and Fall: The League of Ireland 1939–72
9. One Long War and Three World Cups: Northern Ireland 1956–86
10. Thirty Years of Hurt: The Republic of Ireland 1955–85
11. Coming of Age: The Charlton Years 1986–95
12. Hibernians and Celts: The Irish and Scottish Clubs
13. Pride and Prejudice: The Irish and English Clubs
14. Struggle and Survival: Domestic Football Since 1972
15. Administration and Its Discontents
16. Football for All?: Northern Ireland since 1986
17. Association Football in Modern Ireland
About the Author
James Quinn was born in Dublin and has lived there and in London for most of his life. He graduated from UCD with a Ph.D. in 1996. As a historian, he has written widely on eighteenth and nineteenth-century Ireland, particularly in the areas of biography and historiography, including lives of the United Irishman Thomas Russell (2002) and the Young Irelander John Mitchel (2008). From 1997 to 2022 he was an editor of the Royal Irish Academy’s Dictionary of Irish Biography, for which he wrote over 250 entries, mostly on politics, sport and popular culture.