Podcast 224: Strength in Depth – A History of Non-League Football, Part 4

by | Oct 3, 2020

A little later than usual, it’s time for this week’s edition of this week’s episode of Strength in Depth, our weekly podcast history of non-league football. Last week’s podcast took us up to the start of the second world war, but this week we’re going right the way back to 1893 for the history of the FA Amateur Cup. At the time, it’s arguable that the true dividing line in English football wasn’t between ‘league’ and ‘non-league’, but was between amateur and professional.

This distinction proved so emotive that cleaved the game of rugby in two, and despite the tensions that did spring up between those that believed in the fundamental right to get paid for what was, effectively, work and those who believed that sport and business should be kept at arm’s length, with sport being performed fot the love of the game itself. In view of this, the Football Association offered the amateur game its own competition, which would run for eight decades, but this wasn’t enough to prevent its absolute purists from breaking away. The FA Amateur Cup final would become a national event, screened on the television, but the onward march of professionalism would end up rendering it obsolete by the 1970s.

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