The book is unusual as it gives prominent footballers the opportunity to describe in detail their approach to their specialisms, at a time when there were 11 distinct positions on the field from goalkeeper to outside left, and players would stick to their allotted role. Here, they offer advice to young players but also talk about their own science. Here, for example, is goalkeeper Harry Rennie talking about narrowing the angle: "I think a goalkeeper should not be content to stand and catch cold in his goal, letting his opponents shoot at their own sweet will. He should try and inflict his will on them by leaving his goal (within easy reach) and thus inducing his opponents to throw away their chances by shooting from impossible distances." He writes of special bending, twisting, stretching and breathing exercises, and how to distribute the ball upfield.
Welsh genius Billy Meredith talks of crossing the ball from the goalline, Jack Bell about the importance of teamwork, Dickie Boyle on good communication. It all adds up to the conclusion that footballers by the end of the Victorian era thought a great deal about tactics, practice and coaching.
The chapter headings are:
Goalkeeping: Harry Rennie (Hibernian)
Right back: Walter Arnott (Queen’s Park)
Full back: Dan Doyle (Celtic)
Right half: Richard Boyle (Dundee)
Centre half: James Kelly (Celtic)
Left half: Jackie Robertson (Rangers)
Outside right: Billy Meredith (Manchester City)
Inside right: John Campbell (Third Lanark)
Centre forward: Bob Hamilton (Rangers)
Inside left: Alex McMahon (Celtic)
Outside left: John Bell (Preston North End)
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