Why the real history behind The English Game matters – and what it tells us about modern football

Blackburn Olympic

The English Game, the new Netflix show from Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes, has landed at an opportune time. The show examines the early history of football in England and the class element of the game's progression, as a sport with rules laid down by the upper class became increasingly popular with the working class.

It was also a time where the topic of whether footballers should be paid was a genuinely controversial topic. As players' wages becomes a genuine bone of contention in a way not really seen since the lifting of the wage cap 50 years ago, Netflix must be pleased with the coincidental relevance.

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Conor Pope
Online Editor

Conor Pope is the former Online Editor of FourFourTwo, overseeing all digital content. He plays football regularly, and has a large, discerning and ever-growing collection of football shirts from around the world.

He supports Blackburn Rovers and holds a season ticket with south London non-league side Dulwich Hamlet. His main football passions include Tugay, the San Siro and only using a winter ball when it snows.