• University of Leicester
  • De Montfort University
  • Leicester City Football Club

English Football: a Social History

A short course looking at the history, sociology and politics of football, including focuses on the World Cup and Leicester City.

5,340 enrolled on this course

English Football: a Social History
  • Duration4 weeks
  • Weekly study3 hours
  • 100% onlineTry this course for free
  • Extra BenefitsFrom $59Find out more

Examine the roots of football and its rise to modern prominance.

This course will explore the history and culture of football, with a focus on the World Cup and on Leicester City Football Club.

We’ll explore the origins of football, from early clubs to professional leagues and European competition; the role of media and formation of the Premier League; the World Cup from origins to Russia 2018; and how LCFC became unlikely Premier League Champions.

The University of Leicester and De Montfort University have joined Leicester City Football Club to give a unique insight into the history and sociology of the sport, and the inside story of a premier league club.

Download video: standard or HD

Skip to 0 minutes and 8 seconds This is a familiar scene played out each weekend at stadiums all around the world. Many of these fans will play football in muddy fields a million miles from football’s elite. In this course, we will explore football and its place in society. The Premier League is now watched by millions worldwide, and it’s become dominated by a small group of super wealthy clubs. So it’s particularly surprising, when in 2016 a relatively small and unsuccessful club managed to win the Premier League, defying odds of 5,000 to one, and in the process turning the football world on its head. We’ll be using this club, Leicester City, as a case study to explore the history of the game and the social role of football today.

Skip to 0 minutes and 51 seconds And we’ll be asking you, as fans, why football is important to you. This ball is a very famous ball in Leicester City’s folklore. It comes from the 1928-1929– We’ll finish the course by exploring the scenes that took place here in 2016 and finding out how they affected, not just the 30,000 fans inside the stadium, but the quarter of a million at the victory parade, and many millions worldwide. But has anything really changed? The big clubs are dominating again, transfer fees are growing ever more incredible. Has the game lost touch with ordinary fans? Help us to explore how football still matters by joining us on this free course.

What topics will you cover?

  • A history of football from early leagues and formats, through to the present day.
  • The influence of the media, and European football, on the English game.
  • The social impact of football: on fans and communities, through disaster and euphoria.
  • A history of the World Cup, from origins to Russia 2018
  • A case study of one Premier League club, looking in detail at their folk history and modern success.
  • A detailed look at Leicester City Football Club’s remarkable ‘great escape’ and title-winning season 2015-16.
  • An examination of the present state of football, and how it might change in the future.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and learn at your own pace. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Summarise key points in the history of football, from its roots to the Premier League
  • Evaluate the role football plays in society, from fans to local and international communities
  • Debate economic influences and motivations in modern football
  • Discuss the current state of football, and its role in society

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for anyone interested in football and its background, its place in world culture and media, in the Football World Cup, and in LCFC and its effect on the city of Leicester and in the wider world.

What software or tools do you need?

Just an interest in the beautiful game.

Who will you learn with?

I am a senior research fellow who works in the International Centre for Sports History and Culture, De Montfort University, Leicester. My expertise is in the history of sport, especially football.

I am a Sociologist who has been researching and writing about sport - especially football - for over 30 years. I now live in Leicester but my home city - and my club - is Liverpool.

Who developed the course?

University of Leicester

The University of Leicester is a leading research led university with a strong tradition of excellence in teaching. It is consistently ranked amongst the top 20 universities in the United Kingdom.

De Montfort University

De Montfort University (DMU) is a dynamic institution with a long and vibrant history of improving people’s lives through education.

Leicester City Football Club

Formed as Leicester Fosse in 1884, Leicester City Football Club’s steady rise culminated in the most extraordinary of Premier League title triumphs in 2016.

Learner reviews

Join this course

Start this course for free, upgrade for extra benefits, or buy Unlimited to access this course and hundreds of other short courses for a year.


Join free and you will get:

  • Access to this course for 6 weeks


Upgrade this course and you will get:

  • Access to this course for as long as it’s on FutureLearn
  • A print and digital Certificate of Achievement once you’re eligible

Unlimited (New!)
$279.99 for one year

Buy Unlimited and you will get:

  • Access to this course, and hundreds of other FutureLearn short courses and tests for a year
  • A printable digital Certificate of Achievement on all short courses once you’re eligible
  • The freedom to keep access to any course you've achieved a digital Certificate of Achievement on, for as long as the course exists on FutureLearn
  • The flexibility to complete your choice of short courses in your own time within the year
Find out more about upgrades or Unlimited.

Get a taste of this course

Find out what this course is like by previewing some of the course steps before you join: