Dr Gary James
Lecturer in Sports History, Manchester Metropolitan University

Manchester will host the inaugural International Football History Conference in June 2017.

Organised by International Sport & Leisure History at Manchester Metropolitan University, the meeting will take place 15th and 16 June at Manchester City Football Club’s City Football Academy. Delegates will travel from across the world to discuss the latest research into football’s origins, regional histories, gender, race and issues within football.

The meeting is being organised by Dr Gary James, Lecturer in Sports History at Manchester Met. Dr James is a specialist in all aspects of football history with a particular interest in association football in Manchester. His research is currently focusing on the birth of association football in the Manchester region, considering the teams, players, personalities that helped shape the growth of the game in the city.

His latest research talks of how soccer supplanted rugby as the city's premier team port and is free to download for a limited period here.

Dr James commented: “Manchester is such an important city for football today that it made sense to stage the inaugural football history conference here.  I see this as a great opportunity to bring football historians together to compare notes, talk about their own research and to establish a network of like-minded researchers."

The conference is supported by the National Football Museum, the publisher Taylor and Francis (who will enable a special edition of Soccer & Society to be produced out of the conference), the City Football Group, and Manchester Metropolitan University. 

In 2014 Dr James re-wrote the history of football in Manchester when he discovered what is now believed to be the region’s oldest Association Football Club. Previously it was believed that Turton FC, founded in 1871, was the oldest club in Lancashire, but Gary discovered a long-forgotten side, Hulme Athenaeum, whose roots go all the way back to November 1863. The club was founded more than a decade before it was previously thought there were any formally organised football clubs in Manchester – in the same year that the London FA was set up.