Graham Hughes

A Devilish Pastime: A history of football in all its forms by Graham Hughes (self-published, 2012), £2.99.

Where did football come from? How did it get to be so popular? And why can't we, across the English-speaking world, even agree on what the word ‘football' means?

A Devilish Pastime tells the story of how ancient and medieval ball-games evolved into mass-audience sports that are a major part of modern life: soccer, rugby (union and league), American and Canadian football, Australian Rules and Gaelic football. It traces the development of their rules, playing styles and cultures, also touching on the social, cultural and political histories of the lands where they have blossomed.