National sporting events

Sports which were extremely popular with spectators, such as football, cricket and racing, soon became national sports, where special excursion trains would carry the spectators to the event. Transport made it possible for cricket to flourish as a sport; William Clarke of Nottingham organised the first All England Cricket XI, where they travelled around the country playing at least 30 games a year. The railway system made it possible for the XI to play against a variety of clubs of different levels and experience; it also meant people who had not yet experienced such a sport could get involved and enjoy the event.

Football also started to prosper with the development of rail travel and in particular the newly industrialised areas such as Lancashire and Yorkshire. The teams and supporters could travel by rail all over the country and now had the opportunity to join the football league which had begun in 1888. This meant that the football league started to increase in popularity and size and consisted of; Aston Villa, Preston North End, Bolton Wanderers, Everton, Burnley, Accrington, Blackburn Rovers, West Bromwich Albion, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Notts County, Derby County, Manchester United, Liverpool, Newcastle and Sunderland.

It wasn’t until the first decade of the twentieth century that Arsenal, Clapton Orient, Chelsea and Tottenham were elected into the football league. Within national sporting events taking off it soon moved onto international events and foreign competitions, such as the rebirth of the Olympic Games in 1896. Sport in the 19th Century soon travelled across the world due to the British Empire taking it upon themselves to spread their forms of government, religion and culture to nations which they considered to be less privileged.

Sport had been based around social class for many years, however as time went on the definition of amateurism and professionalism began to change and was more based around money. Originally amateurs were considered to be Gentlemen who played sports fairly and in good spirit of the competition. However this soon changed and you would only be considered amateur if you did not receive money for your participation in sport. Amateurism used to be based around fair play, by which a player would discipline themselves rather than leaving it up to a referee or an official.

An example of this was recorded back in 1882, where if one of the players for the Corinthian Casuals committed a foul they would award the opposition a penalty kick and remove their goalkeeper based on the principle that the opposition accepted the consequences of the foul. The Corinthians were the epitome of amateurism and always followed the code; ‘not everyone can win but those that do should do so according to the rules and spirit of the game’. Amateurism began to change when the gentlemen amateurs started to dislike being beaten by their social inferiors.

This is extremely apparent in the sport of rowing, whereby the gentlemen involved in the Amateur Rowing Association instigated the ‘Manual Labour Clause’ which stated that, ‘anyone who was a mechanic, artisan or labourer’ could not particpate in the sport. This helped retain a social distinction in the sport and prevented the gentlemen amateurs from being beaten by the lower class professionals. Rugby Football began in the 19th Century however, developed differently in the north from the south.

Whilst the south remained amateur the northern players needed to be paid to play sport or at least receive broken time payments which compensated for a loss of earnings whilst playing sport. In 1896 this lead to a North/South split where the northern players turned professional, this was frowned upon by the gentlemen amateurs, and the southerners remained amateur. The northerners continued to play rugby football league, where the southerners played rugby football union.

It was only in 1996 that the Union game moved over to the professionalism as a result of the players needing to earn money. Cricket continued to have both professionals and amateurs whereby the gentlemen remained amateur as they did not need to earn money from sport and the lower classes/players were the professionals. They would not mix teams but play against each other. During the 20th Century many other changes occurred in amateurism and led to other terms known as: Shamateurism, whereby the amateurs receive ‘under the table’ payments.

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