Victorian Football – ‘A gentleman's game played by gentlemen’: The Demise of the Gentleman Amateur and Rise of Professional Football, With an Exploration of the Links Between the ‘Little Tin Idol’, Reverend A.H. Johnson and the OUDCE, M Freeman
The ‘Little Tin Idol’ was the original Football Association Challenge trophy (FA Cup), given to the teams that won the competition from 1872 to 1896. The commonly held view is that football is ‘a gentleman's game played by ruffians’, a quote attributed to Oscar Wilde. However, an analysis of the Oxford University team that won the FA Cup in 1874 and other early FA Cup winning teams will show this view to be incorrect. A member of the 1874 team, Reverend A.H. Johnson, had a pioneering role in the development of the Oxford University Department for Continuing Education.