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Black and white 1909 team photo of Tottenham Hotspur FC 1909

The Personal Costs of War: Illustrated by the 2014 England Football Squad

Jo Spear
RUSI Journal, 8 February 2021
The Great War, UK, History
Contemporary football provides a reminder of the multinational nature of British society and its historical war effort.

In June 2014, 100 years after the start of the Great War, Roy Hodgson picked an England FIFA World Cup football squad. In this article, Jo Spear uses the names of those 23 players to illustrate some of the personal and international costs of the conflict that raged between 1914 and 1918. The article does not claim to have found the direct relatives of the England squad, but people in history with the same or similar names and from nearby places, wherever possible.

BANNER IMAGE: Photograph of Tottenham Hotspur FC, 1909. Many went on to join the football battalion in the Great War. The most notable individual in this picture is Walter Tull. Courtesy of The National Archives/OGL

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Joanna Spear
Senior Associate Fellow

Dr Spear is a Senior Associate Fellow of RUSI and was previously a Visiting Research Fellow on sabbatical from the George Washington... read more

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