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‘Fancy! A lot of working chaps beating a lot of gentlemen!’
In 1879 in the FA Cup third round a football team from the humble Lancashire cotton town of Darwen took on Remnants – a Berkshire club of the moneyed and well-connected – and beat them. It was football’s first ever giant-killing.
Their reward was a quarter-final with the mighty Old Etonians. It was rulers against ruled, rich against poor, champions who used old football tactics against underdogs who used new, the men who were supposed to have invented the game against the lower orders who had taken it up: it was an encounter that was seen to be symbolic.And it had a sub-text that within a year or two became a bitter controversy.
Underdogs is a fascinating story that covers the very birth of football and its development towards the game we recognise today. Storyteller, football historian and connoisseur, Keith Dewhurst, shows how 120 years ago, near its beginning, football was already reflecting the modern game closely – money talks, cheating abounds, and victory is secured whatever the cost.