If you know your history ….

I have written or co-written the following books on football prior to WW1:

  1. Flying Over an Olive Grove: the remarkable story of Fred Spiksley, a flawed football hero, first published 2016 in hardback by Red Axe Publications and due for softback release by Pen and Sword Publications in 2021 www.spiksley.com
  2. The Origins of the Football League: The First Season 1888/89 published by Amberley, first published in 2013 and reprinted in revised form in 2014
  3. Lifting the Cup: The Story of Battling Barnsley 1910-1912, published by Pen and Sword in 2010
  4. Manchester United: The First Halcyon Years 1907-11, published by Amberley in 2014
  5. Almost the Double: Sunderland AFC 1912-13, published by Empire Publications in 2012
  6. All Shook Up: Bury FC’s Amazing Cup Story FA Cup Winners 1900 and 1903, published by Empire Publications in 2010 and republished by Red Axe Publications in 2017
  7. The First Kings of Anfield: Everton 1890-91, published by Amberley in 2013

Plus: The Golden Boot: Football’s Top Scorers that includes articles on all those who finished as top scorer in a Division One season before WW1.

Republished works in 2020 with additional writings by myself:

  1. The Tales of Ambrose Langley
  2. The Prince of Half Backs: Ernest Needham
  3. When’s The Replay?

Currently working on

a biography of John Goodall of PNE, Derby County and England

Sunday Mirror work

In 2020 I have worked with Simon Mullock, the chief football writer at the Sunday Mirror, on 4 articles on various aspects of the history of football in which it has been possible to confirm who was the first paid footballer (James Lang of the (Sheffield) Wednesday), examine the history of referees in light of VAR and account for the rise of the PFA at the start of the twentieth century.  

For example




The oldest League club

As a result of this extensive work I have been frequently asked for comment by newspapers and radio on various historical aspects of the game. This included in 2019 and 2020 queries as to which club, following Notts County’s relegation in 2019 from the Football League, was now the oldest League Club in the World – it is Nottingham Forest, formed 1865. The English Football in 2019 confirmed that Nottingham Forest are at this time the oldest League club. https://www.lincolnshirelive.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/confirmed-football-leagues-oldest-club-2852714

In 2020, working my colleague Clive Nicholson, a lengthy document of well over 100 pages was collated to demonstrate that the claim by Crystal Palace FC (1905) to now be the oldest League club with links back to a club of the same name that was formed in 1861 and which lasted to 1875 was not accurate. This document, which was downloaded by more than 2,000 fans, was sent to the FA, which later issued a statement confirming there is no connection between the 2 clubs.

CPFC 1861 or 1905? Why the Eagles Claim to be the oldest League club should be grounded