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ISBN 9780714653594

Terrace Heroes

The life and times of the 1930s professional footballer







The 1930s saw the birth of the football idol – prototype for today’s powerful media sport stars. The players of the 1930s were the first generation of professionals, yet until recently the life and careers of footballers of this generation has been little studied. 

In 1930s Britain, football became increasingly commercialized, and the rise and development of both local and national media enabled players to become widely recognized outside of their immediate local context for the first time. 

 Tracing the origins, playing careers and ‘afterlives’ of several First Division players of the era, Graham Kelly’s revealing history explores the reality of living in Britain between the wars and draws interesting comparisons with lives of the modern football hero today.


1. Professional footballers as ‘terrace heroes’

2. The career path of professional footballers

3. Footballers as employees

4. Directors, managers, trainers and coaches

5. Footballers’ lifestyles

6. Footballers and the media

7. Jack Atkinson – Bolton Wanderers

8. Bob Baxter – Middlesbrough

9. Harry Betmead – Grimsby Town

10. Jack Crayston – Arsenal

11. Billy Dale – Manchester City and Ipswich Town

12. Jock Dodds – Sheffield United and Blackpool

13. Harold Hobbis – Charlton Athletic

14. Joe Mercer – Everton

15. Cliff Parker – Portsmouth

16. Bert Sproston – Leeds United, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City

17. Conclusion


KELLY, Graham. Terrace Heroes: The life and times of the 1930s professional footballer. Londres: Routledge, 2004.
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