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Football on Film

Football and film: two giants of 20th century spectacle. Born just a few years apart, film and the professional game have grown up together, as this fascinating collection shows.

We kick off with some of the earliest games committed to celluloid - including a fledgling Man Utd - tackling the evolution of the game through the 20th century in newsreels, instructional films, adverts and feature films, and revealing filmmakers' struggle to capture the game's thrill and energy. The films explore not only professional football but the women’s game, miners' teams and schoolboy leagues, while giants on display include Geoff Hurst, Tom Finney, Brian Clough, Emlyn Hughes, Stanley Matthews, Denis Compton and the Charlton Brothers. Balls were heavier and shorts longer in the early days, while goalkeepers could expect little protection from marauding forwards from the ref (in his fetching tweed plus-fours). But it's striking, too, how little has changed. Fans then were every bit as passionate as today's. The wider issues are familiar too: big money signings caused concern, while women footballers challenged the male establishment. Times change and players - even teams - come and go, but the beautiful game is much the same as it ever was.

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George Best at 21
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George Best at 21

News19687 mins Location: Belfast

Flush on wages of £160 per week, George Best ponders money in the game, the pressures of fame and his footballing future.

Don of Elland Road
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Don of Elland Road

197426 mins Location: Leeds

Don Revie sits in bed talking to the Sunday papers, barks out instructions in a game at Liverpool, calls out the bingo numbers, and Terry Yorath collects his weekly pay packet.

Derby County and Brian Clough
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Derby County and Brian Clough

News19684 mins Location: Derby

"The way we're playing I don't want to see an awful lot of them". Typically blunt words from Brian Clough as his team prepare for a visit by Leeds United.

Saturday Fever
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Saturday Fever

Cinemagazine19619 mins Location: Tottenham

A snapshot of Saturday afternoon football watched by thousands of adoring fans, plus contrasting scenes of Southport and Spurs players in training.

Football
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Football

Sport196728 mins

Clement Freud explores the importance of football to the people of Liverpool - be they backing Liverpool or Everton in the FA Cup.

Target - Geoff Hurst
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Target - Geoff Hurst

Advert19681 mins

England's 1966 hat-trick hero doesn't sweat the small stuff - or at all, according to this deodorant commercial.

The Charlton Boys
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The Charlton Boys

Documentary196854 mins Location: Ashington

Terrific portrait of Bobby and Jackie Charlton, pillars of football history, at the height of their playing careers

Mining Review 13th Year No. 7
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Mining Review 13th Year No. 7

Cinemagazine19608 mins Location: Linton

Bobby Charlton and his brothers Gordon and Jack meet their father Bert, a miner, as he clocks off from work.

The Saturday Men
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The Saturday Men

Sport196327 mins Location: West Bromwich

A young Bobby Robson is one of the footballers profiled in this 1962 documentary following a week in the life of West Bromwich Albion FC.

George Best at 17
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George Best at 17

News19645 mins Location: Belfast

A fresh-faced football legend-in-the-waiting is interviewed for the first time and enjoys a kickabout on the local Cregagh estate.

George Best Boutique
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George Best Boutique

News19683 mins Location: Trafford

Browse through the oh-so-fashionable goods on offer at the George Best boutique. Silken scarves, corded belts, trendy jackets and what’s this? A football icon turned tailor!

George Best
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George Best

Inside Film196925 mins

The football legend talks about life as player and 'pop star'

Quick Brew - Football
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Quick Brew - Football

Advert19751 mins

Glorious Ladies All Stars get a 10-0 lead against the QB's: time for an uplift with Quick Brew's quicker teabags!

Guinness - Plinths
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Guinness - Plinths

Advert19761 mins

Pete and Dud prove to be stout football fans in this Guinness commercial recalling a great sporting moment - however fleeting.

CWS Football Boot Advertisment
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CWS Football Boot Advertisment

Advert19551 mins

The great Stanley Matthews reveals the new range of football boots he helped design exclusively for Co-operative stores in this 1950s advertisement.

Women's Football  Dick Kerr's V Listers
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Women's Football Dick Kerr's V Listers

Sport19215 mins Location: Valley Parade, Bradford

Preston's famous 'Dick, Kerr's Ladies' team play local side, Lister's Ladies, at Bradford's Valley Parade ground.

Enfield F.C. v. Ediswan Factory
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Enfield F.C. v. Ediswan Factory

Non-Fiction19212 mins Location: Enfield

Difficult times for women's football, but it doesn't stop the battle of the light bulb makers in North London.

Quite Unfit for Females
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Quite Unfit for Females

Non-Fiction19211 mins

A light-hearted newsreel item on the Football Association's proposed ban on women's football in 1921.

Leicester City Football Training
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Leicester City Football Training

News19783 mins Location: Leicester

Leicester City players meet their new manager who has introduced a brutal new training regime.

World's Cheeriest Charity
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World's Cheeriest Charity

Non-Fiction19272 mins

Soccer silliness at West Ham courtesy of the 'Ancient Order of Froth Blowers' and pals - including music hall stars and the world's tallest woman.

Shrovetide Football Match
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Shrovetide Football Match

News19571 mins Location: Atherstone

A football match with no teams or goals? Atherstone's traditional free-for-all has only one rule - killing is not allowed!

Gloucester Football Hypnotist
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Gloucester Football Hypnotist

News19592 mins Location: Gloucester

Southern League football team Gloucester City call in famed hypnotist Henry Blythe to take them to a higher plane.

England 'swamped'
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England 'swamped'

Non-Fiction19271 mins Location: Belfast

England team struggle with deplorable weather conditions in Belfast.

Battle of the Bakeries
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Battle of the Bakeries

Sponsored film19644 mins Location: Belfast

Baker tries to best baker, as the two distinguished firms compete in a Gaelic football game in West Belfast.

Exiles v Nomads in the Smallest League in the World
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Exiles v Nomads in the Smallest League in the World

Sport19805 mins Location: Isles of Scilly

Exiles v Nomads in the Smallest League in the World

Irish Cup Semi- Final Coleraine V Ballymena
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Irish Cup Semi- Final Coleraine V Ballymena

Non-Fiction19293 mins Location: Belfast

1928-29 Irish Cup Semi-Final action between Ballymena and Coleraine, from Belfast's Windsor Park.

Nigerian Footballers in England
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Nigerian Footballers in England

Documentary194910 mins

An enlightening account of the first Nigerian football team to tour outside West Africa.

Everton v Liverpool (1902)
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Everton v Liverpool (1902)

Non-Fiction19025 mins Location: Liverpool

The earliest surviving Merseyside derby on film catches two of Everton's goals in a 3-1 home win.

Alvey: Ashbourne Shrovetide Football '66
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Alvey: Ashbourne Shrovetide Football '66

Amateur film19667 mins Location: Ashbourne

World Cup year 1966 but this is a different kind of 'beautiful game' and in these conditions Geoff Hurst would've certainly struggled to get his famous hat-trick.

Football. 86 in the Shade
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Football. 86 in the Shade

Non-Fiction19291 mins

Arsenal v Leeds United from Highbury in the opening match of the 1929-30 season.

Nottingham Forest European Cup Civic Reception
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Nottingham Forest European Cup Civic Reception

News19794 mins Location: Nottingham

Cloughie waves his magic wand and it's the greatest day thus far for the lads of Forest. Their first European Cup victory and the city grinds to a halt in scenes of jubilation.

Football League Cup
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Football League Cup

News19803 mins Location: Wolverhampton

Wolves, 1980's League Cup winners, celebrate with an open topped bus parade that brings back memories of the glory days of the 1950s when the team was unstoppable.

Football Season: Fulham V. Bury
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Football Season: Fulham V. Bury

Sport19121 mins

After relegation from the Football League Division One the previous season, Bury FC turn up at Craven Cottage for their first ever meeting with Fulham.

Burnley v Manchester United (1902)
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Burnley v Manchester United (1902)

Non-Fiction19022 mins Location: Burnley

First-ever footage of Manchester United in a tense Edwardian football fixture.

Football Feud
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Football Feud

Non-Fiction19291 mins Location: Old Trafford Cricket Ground

Derby Day - Manchester City clash with Manchester United at Old Trafford for the bragging rights of the city.

Huntley and Palmer Digestive Biscuits
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Huntley and Palmer Digestive Biscuits

Advert19811 mins

Liverpool and England footballer Emlyn Hughes gets nostalgic when he takes a team of aspiring youngsters through their paces

Fair Footballers
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Fair Footballers

Non-Fiction19251 mins Location: Herne Hill

Music hall star George Robey kicks off the action at this international ladies' footie match at Herne Hill, South London.

Glasgow Cup Final
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Glasgow Cup Final

Non-Fiction19241 mins

Close calls in the goalmouth as Celtic and Rangers meet at Parkhead for the 1929-30 Glasgow Cup final.

Regimental Football Match and an Outdoor Stew
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Regimental Football Match and an Outdoor Stew

Amateur film19352 mins Location: Surrey

The chaps of 6th Battalion, the Queen's Royal (West) Surrey Regiment, enjoy a game of football while a man cooks a rustic stew outdoors.

Report on Aston Villa
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Report on Aston Villa

News197116 mins Location: Witton

Aston Villa, the must successful cup side in England, have fallen on hard times but the 1971 League Cup final might just be the game that takes them back to the big time.

They Call It Football
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They Call It Football

Non-Fiction19231 mins

Tottenham Hotspur takes on an assortment of music hall performers (and their horses) in this comic charity match.

Harry the Footballer
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Harry the Footballer

Drama19118 mins

A daring rescue by a plucky lady fan saves the day for Bestham Vampires in this early footie short.

Football Freaks
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Football Freaks

Animation & Artists Moving Image19716 mins

Do not adjust your set! This off-beat jukebox cartoon is definitely more freaky than footbally

Lady Footballers
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Lady Footballers

Sport19180 mins Location: Southend-on-Sea

Women munitions workers from the Kynoch and Vickers Maxim factories take to the pitch in Southend during WWI.

Norwich City v West Bromwich Albion
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Norwich City v West Bromwich Albion

Sport19753 mins Location: Norwich

Canaries defender Mel Machin attempts to dominate the pitch in this 1975 match for Norwich City at their home ground Carrow Road against West Bromwich Albion.

Footabller Geoff Hurst signs on the line
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Footabller Geoff Hurst signs on the line

Sport19701 mins Location: St Austell

Footballer Geoffrey Hurst signs on the line for fans

Association Football Season Begins: Woolwich Arsenal V. Liverpool
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Association Football Season Begins: Woolwich Arsenal V. Liverpool

Sport19111 mins Location: Plumstead

Woolwich Arsenal at home to Liverpool in front of a crowd of 12,000 in the opening match of the 1911-12 season.

Cricket Ball and Football Manufacture
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Cricket Ball and Football Manufacture

Interest film19313 mins

A load of balls - footballs and cricket balls, that is - are crafted by hand from leather and string.

Elland Road Football Control
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Elland Road Football Control

Non-Fiction197623 mins Location: Leeds

Back to the bad old days of skinners, as worn by these Man. United troublemakers, being escorted by police dogs along that perilous walk from Elland Road to Leeds railway station.

Elland Road 1979
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Elland Road 1979

Non-Fiction197927 mins Location: Leeds

Everyone knows their place in this now familiar weekly football ritual of rowdy working class youth arriving at Leeds, separated from their counterparts by police and fences.

Supporters' Pitch Invasion and Violence Exeter v Torquay
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Supporters' Pitch Invasion and Violence Exeter v Torquay

Sport19772 mins Location: Exeter

Supporters' Pitch Invasion and Violence Exeter v Torquay

Cheers Echo Round the Land!
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Cheers Echo Round the Land!

Non-Fiction19252 mins Location: Hammersmith and Fulham

Hats off to the huge crowds that turn out for the opening day of the football season at Arsenal and Chelsea.

Wembley Bound!
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Wembley Bound!

Non-Fiction19291 mins Location: Wigan

The short-lived minnows Wigan Borough F.C. take on the mighty Sheffield Wednesday in the third round of the FA Cup.

Mining Review 2nd Year No. 5
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Mining Review 2nd Year No. 5

Cinemagazine19499 mins

Rotherham United talent scout Joe McGuire is on the look out for miners with footballing flair.

Day-Dream Believer 1968
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Day-Dream Believer 1968

Amateur film19685 mins Location: Leicester

A daydream at the back of the class takes young Glynn Curtis all the way to Filbert Street.

Boy Footballer
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Boy Footballer

News19628 mins Location: Cleobury Mortimer

Lionel Martin is just fifteen years old but with eight top football clubs wanting to sign him his future appears mapped out.

Cumbria Local Newsreel Compilation
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Cumbria Local Newsreel Compilation

Non-Fiction191113 mins Location: Workington

A fascinating compilation of local topical footage from Workington.

Caerdydd, Tachwedd 1949 - Cymru 5 Belgium 1
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Caerdydd, Tachwedd 1949 - Cymru 5 Belgium 1

Amateur film19497 mins Location: Canton

At Ninian Park, 23/11/1949, the Welsh football team is victorious but perhaps only because the Belgians, according to a report in the South Wales Echo, were “disappointing”.

Plymouth Argyle v Exeter City
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Plymouth Argyle v Exeter City

Sport19762 mins Location: Plymouth

Plymouth Argyle v Exeter City

Minehead Town's Bob Boyd Interview
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Minehead Town's Bob Boyd Interview

Sport19772 mins Location: Minehead

Minehead Town's player-manager Bob Boyd on FA Cup tie with Exeter City

Football Managers
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Football Managers

News19775 mins Location: Leicester

What does it take to manage a football team? Two former players talk of the tough role at the top in a world where players are demanding Ј200 a week in wages.

Newsview Young World: Day in the Life of Sunderland AFC Manager George Hardwick
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Newsview Young World: Day in the Life of Sunderland AFC Manager George Hardwick

News19645 mins Location: Sunderland

A day in the life of stylish “Gentleman George” Hardwick, the new manager of Sunderland Football Club.

Footballer's Battalion
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Footballer's Battalion

Non-Fiction19151 mins Location: Shepherd's Bush

Professional footballers answer the call of duty and get in training; many would go on to fight in the Battle of the Somme.

Plymouth Argyle v Cardiff City
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Plymouth Argyle v Cardiff City

Sport19765 mins Location: Plymouth

Argyle's Mariner scores in front of Bobby Robson

International Association Match. England v. Wales. Played at Wrexham, March 11th, 1912
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International Association Match. England v. Wales. Played at Wrexham, March 11th, 1912

Non-Fiction19125 mins Location: Wrexham/Wrecsam

Action shots of the great Billy Meredith, the ‘Prince of Wingers’, the legendary soccer star who played for Manchester City, Manchester United and Wales.

Football - Ninian Park
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Football - Ninian Park

Amateur film194916 mins Location: Cardiff/Caerdydd

Ninian Park Stadium (1910-2009), home ground of Cardiff City Football Club and used by the national team, is shown here in its heyday. If you can identify the teams, please tell us.

Leicester City Football Team
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Leicester City Football Team

News19716 mins Location: Leicester

On a muddy Belvoir Drive training ground Leicester City players demonstrate the drive and dedication required to reach the top.

£6,000 Paid for a Centre Forward
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£6,000 Paid for a Centre Forward

Non-Fiction19231 mins Location: Chelsea

Scottish international Andy Wilson plays his first home game at a chilly Stamford Bridge after joining Chelsea from Middlesbrough.

Barnstaple Town v Exeter City
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Barnstaple Town v Exeter City

Sport1980 mins Location: Barnstaple

Barnstaple in pre-season friendly against Exeter City

Exeter City v Bristol Rovers
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Exeter City v Bristol Rovers

Sport19802 mins Location: Exeter

St. James’ Park Derby : Exeter City v Bristol Rovers

Donning Boots for the Soccer Season
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Donning Boots for the Soccer Season

Non-Fiction19221 mins Location: Tottenham

Heading, tumbling, skipping and tomfoolery at White Hart Lane as Tottenham’s first team prepare for the new season.

England v Ireland at Manchester (1905)
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England v Ireland at Manchester (1905)

Non-Fiction19052 mins Location: Manchester

An Edwardian contest between teams representing the English and Irish Football Leagues, with plenty of goal-line action.

Shouts for City!
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Shouts for City!

Documentary197526 mins Location: Stoke-upon-Trent

From 'Red and White' Rosemary to 'Zigger Zagger' and veteran Fred Trimble, who has been watching the Potters since 1913: Stoke City's fans are a devoted bunch.

Derby v Grimsby
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Derby v Grimsby

Amateur film19343 mins Location: Derby

In October 1934 a high-flying Grimsby Town team put four past Derby County at the Baseball Ground.

Sheffield Wednesday v United
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Sheffield Wednesday v United

Amateur film195814 mins Location: Hereford

At a packed Edgar Street ground non-league Hereford United take on Sheffield Wednesday in a foggy and chilly cup tie.

Ball Control
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Ball Control

Instructional film/TV programme193510 mins

Listen to the wonderfully clipped tones of the commentator and the attempt at wit by his companion and you'd swear that Harry Enfield's 90s creation Mr Cholmondley-Warner really was alive and well in the 30s.

Coaching in the Game
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Coaching in the Game

Instructional film/TV programme194810 mins

Tom Finney, Tommy Lawton, Spurs and the Chinese team all help explain to young football enthusiasts how to play the beautiful game.

Alive and Kicking
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Alive and Kicking

Documentary19378 mins Location: Highbury

Arsenal footballers including Ted Drake, Eddie Hapgood and Cliff Bastin show off their skills in training for this council film to promote healthy living.

Exeter City v Aston Villa
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Exeter City v Aston Villa

Sport19771 mins Location: Exeter

Exeter City take on giants Aston Villa at St. James’ Park

Million Spectators Welcome Return of Football
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Million Spectators Welcome Return of Football

Non-Fiction19232 mins Location: Ewood Park, Blackburn

A whirlwind tour of the 1923-24 season opener: Manchester City's Maine Road debut, Blackburn v Chelsea and goals for Spurs against Preston North End.

Derby County v Leicester City
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Derby County v Leicester City

Amateur film19392 mins Location: Derby

Derby County take on Leicester City at the Baseball ground in April 1939 - the last full season of football before the outbreak of war.

Exeter City goalkeeper Ian Main studies at Exeter University
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Exeter City goalkeeper Ian Main studies at Exeter University

Sport19806 mins Location: Exeter

Exeter City goalkeeper Ian Main at Exeter University

Derby pits Argyle against Exeter
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Derby pits Argyle against Exeter

Sport1980 mins Location: Plymouth

Derby pits Argyle against Exeter

H.R.H. The Prince of Wales
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H.R.H. The Prince of Wales

Non-Fiction19301 mins Location: Upton Park

Great evocative shots from a boggy Upton Park, where West Ham play Tottenham in front of the Prince Of Wales.

'Spurs' Captain Marries
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'Spurs' Captain Marries

Non-Fiction19220 mins Location: Watford

Watford hosts the lowkey wedding of Tottenham and England captain, Arthur Grimsdell.

World Cup Football Vox pops
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World Cup Football Vox pops

News19663 mins Location: Birmingham

Did the Brummies of 1966 have a clue about the World Cup?

Shippam's football team
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Shippam's football team

Amateur film193015 mins Location: Chichester

Baggy shorts abound in this footie film from the thirties - where the chaps from Shippams Ltd play various matches, in rain or shine, and win a championship trophy.

Eclair Journal 102-1
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Eclair Journal 102-1

Non-Fiction19143 mins

A Tottenham Hotspur v Middlesbrough football match interrupts the many news reports about World War I.

Explore further

Edwardian Football
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Edwardian Football

The beautiful game, Edwardian style, in some of the earliest ever film of League, international and amateur football

FA Cup
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FA Cup

A piece of aged silverware represents the game at its simplest and, dare we say it, most romantic. Our collection brings you giants and giantkillers, long-forgotten clubs and euphoric crowds.