Football's Twelve Apostles: The Making of the League 1886-1889
by Thomas Taw
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In 1888 twelve clubs formed the Football League, a ground-breaking mission for which they were called Apostles. Afterwards the world followed. Football in the 1880s was wildly exciting and teeming with personalities. Beneath the Victorian veneer, its participants fought furiously with each other: players, club officers, spectators, match officials, advocates of the Football Association. It was a battle for the soul of the game. Supporters of these twelve clubs, especially the Invincibles Preston North End and Everton, Bolton Wanderers, Blackburn Rovers, Aston Villa, West Bromwich Albion and Wolves will relish how their League matches in 1888-89 are brought to life. Lovers of football will enjoy this fresh look at an old story, challenging received wisdom and disentangling the myths. In January 1888, before knocking the holders out of the Cup, Preston North End's captain Jack Ross told Aston Villa 'boss' William McGregor: 'Your men have no chance; if our forwards let you touch the ball at all, I shall soon get it.' Afterwards, Villa needed games. McGregor wrote to four clubs. They became Twelve, and were called Apostles. The Football League was born.
- Desert Island Books, October 2012
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