Football reigns supreme when we talk sports with the British. The United
Kingdom is one of the biggest and most fervent of fans so the subject is definitely an easy conversation starter.
But if you want to keep things more interesting than usual, the following facts will surely come in handy. Some of them may sound weird but hey, history has its fine moments of “oops” too.
- At a time when rubber wasn’t invented yet, players used an inflated animal bladder as their ball. Oftentimes, a pig’s bladder is used for its durability, shape and availability. They were apparently the easiest to acquire and the most abundant. A few years later, leather was introduced as a protective layer or skin to make the ball more long-lasting.
- Football had no rules up until 1848 so games often ended in mass riots. The only objective was to bring the ball to the goal by any means possible as long as the hands are excluded. This led to a number of brutal sets participated even by an entire community. They were held in public places and roads. It became so popular and so out of hand that some people would be caught and detained for causing such a disturbance.
- During the 1300s, King Edward banned the sport from all the land in preparation for the war with Scotland. He feared that people would opt to play the game instead of practice archery.
- Speaking of royalty, reigning and oldest English monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, was a huge fan of the sport. As a teenager, she was said to repeatedly sneak out of the Buckingham Palace disguised just so she could watch and play matches with populace.
- During the first manned Moon landing mission in July 1969 famously dubbed as the Apollo 11, commander and the first man on the moon, Neil Armstrong, wanted to bring a football. NASA, however, deemed it a little too un-American and not representative of their home country. Armstrong brought an American flag instead.
- In the United States and Canada, the sport is known and called as soccer. However, the British were first to coin the term during 19th century England as a shortened and slang version of “Association Football”.
Care to add more weird and interesting facts to the list? Bring out your smarts and together let’s fill our heads with fascinating information.