How Scotland Invented...

The Scottish Game: How Scotland Invented Modern World Football

Below is the current draft of the introduction to my book.


Hello there. Fun fact: Scotland invented modern world football. The way the game is played all over the world, is the direct result of the way Scotland developed football over the past 500 years. Surprising eh? First time you have heard it? Well, buckle up, because here we go.

You might have picked this book up, because it has a striking cover. You might have flicked through it and liked some of the old pictures. This is the bit where I tell you why I have written a book about facts which many football fans already know. It is to do with speaking truth to power. This is my small effort to start a movement which will rewrite almost every sentence ever written on football, in the next fifty years.

Here are two quotes which have helped me plan this book. One is from George Eliot: the famous English female writer. Yep. Female. Hard to get a book published in the 1800s when you are just a girly, so Mary Ann Evans went round the problem and pretended to be a bloke. Sad, but it is what is is. Here is the quote:

It is not enough simply to teach truth; that may be done, as we all know, to empty walls, and within the covers of unsaleable books; we want it to be so taught as to compel men's attention and sympathy.

This what I am trying to do. The history of how football was created is not even a general, English invention: it is an invention of a London based, social elite. An elite, who have no right to claim the Scottish Game as their own, let alone the game of the people of Yorkshire and Lancashire.

Following the inspiration of Mary Ann, I am not going to waste my time trying to find a judgement on the importance of Scotland to the modern world game. I have been doing that for forty years and I have been patient enough. In that time I have found that Scotland gets mentioned, only because England occasionally played against them. It would look weird if the world’s first international was mentioned as ‘Somebody v England at a ground somewhere in a City that’s not in England’. However, and here’s the thing…

Almost every time that Scotland is mentioned in history books, it is always in the context of England inventing football and Scotland following on later. This is not true. I will show you how and why.

I know the truth. I know that Scotland invented modern world football. I know that the vast majority of anglocentric historians would disagree with me. I am ready for that. I am going to go beyond Ms Elliotts ‘empty walls’ and try to do as she recommends. I will teach the truth in such a way that men and women pay attention. I want them to go away to teach themselves more about ‘my’ ideas.

Here is my other quote, from another writer who used a fake name. Just in case his work was crap and he embarrassed his family. Checks notes. George Orwell. Real name: Eric Arthur Blair.

Who controls the past, controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.
(‘1984’ The book of that name, not a random date.)

Why does this mean so much to me? We live in a country where the mainstream media kowtow to the London media. Just imagine if the German media just followed what the Paris media told them. There would be uproar in the Bundestag, the German Parliament. The German people would demand news presented by people in Germany from the point of view of German issues. If someone wanted to know what French citizens thought, they would watch France24 or buy any of the hundreds of French publications available.

Compare and contrast. In 2014, one Scottish newspaper supported the Independence Referendum.

Out of 37

The BBC is legally bound by its Charter to support the ‘social cohesion’ of the UK. If you watch the news, the increasing majority of people who want to take back independent nation status for Scotland are known by the negative term ‘separatists’. All this means is that the BBC would struggle with a story which places Scotland at the centre and in front of England, in any aspect of world history. No cohesion there. Scotland - number one.

Almost all my facts are taken from other people’s research. That is the way of the world. I did a massive amount of work on football history between 1990 and 2004. It was necessary, to create the displays for the Scottish Football Museum. Even then, I had half a dozen curators beavering away. I had the support of hordes of amateur historians. I had the knowledge contained in the books they had written. This book pulls together ideas from the last 200 years and tells you why these different facts mean that Scotland is number one.

You will see info boxes talking about some of the books which you should go away and read. Why? Just to see if you agree with my spin on the facts of others. Why have I chosen this way? I don’t have time. I have a job - to pay the mortgage. There are many brilliant historians who have already dug up the facts I need. No point buying a dog and barking yourself. I am confident that you will agree with me. The way I put those facts together, creates a different reality. A Scottish reality. Not a reality dreamed up in the fevered imagination of posh people from southern English public schools and a few hangers-on.

This book has been written, to right one of the great historical wrongs of the last 150 years. That ‘wrong’ is the flat lie that England invented world football. It is a lie that is so common, it now passed without comment. It is a lie which is repeated every European Nations Finals, every World Cup Finals, every time Sky have to tell us that two mid-table teams playing on a Monday night is the most exciting event since the 1970 World Cup Final between Brazil and Italy. That is my favourite game of all time, by the way. You will have come across Brazil: they are the country who were taught the Scottish Combination game by Scotch Professors in the 1890s and 1900s.

Only recently, in October 2019, I was given a sharp reminder of the depth of the problem from, of all places: ‘Black History Month’. The English FA had put up on its website, its contribution to the month. They had a list of great Black British players. Fair enough, you might think. In the blurb on Arthur Wharton of Preston North End, the EFA stated that Wharton was ‘widely considered not only England’s, but the world’s first black footballer’. Note the use of the weasel words ‘widely considered’. As in: ‘that’s what we think’. Even Wikipedia would slap you down, but there it is.

Given that I announced the news about Andrew Watson more than 20 years ago, you might have thought they would have heard something. Not a bit of it. Fake news. If it isn’t English, it doesn’t count. If English historians wrote about Andrew Watson, they would have to ask why a Black Scot was asked to come down to London to teach the Corinthians FC how to play football. Surely they already knew, seeing as they invented it? Yeah - get used to my sarcastic nature.

All the answers are here. They lead to many more questions. Question everything, including me. Make your own decisions, from a foundation of increasing knowledge. Here we go, here we go, here we go...

Giving History a Sporting Chance