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Online course

English Football: a Social History

A short course looking at the history, sociology and politics of football with a focus on Leicester City Football Club.

English Football: a Social History

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

This short course will explore the sociology and history of football, with a focus on Leicester City Football Club and their successful 2015/16 season.

We’ll explore the origins of football, from early clubs to professional leagues and European competition; the role of the media and formation of the Premier League; and how LCFC rose from 5,000-1 outsiders to 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.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 8 secondsThis 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 secondsAnd 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 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?

  • Available now
  • Date to be announced

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 the media, 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?

Neil Carter

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.

John Williams

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?

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

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.

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Join this course

Free

  • Access to this course for 5 weeks
  • Includes any articles, videos, peer reviews and quizzes

Upgrade - $49

  • Unlimited access to this course
  • Includes any articles, videos, peer reviews and quizzes
  • Certificate of Achievement to prove your success when you're eligible

Course highlights Get a taste of this course before you join:

  • Early football fans
    Early football fans
    video

    What were football fans like in the early 1900s? What happened on a match day and how did the players engage with them? Hear from players and experts.

  • Green background with team sheet showing players from the 1999 Chelsea all-international team
    The Internationalisation of English football
    article

    We watch international stars every week in the Premier League. But which club fielded the first completely non-British team, back in 1999?

  • A Champions League football resting on a pedastal within an empty stadium.
    The development of the Champions League
    article

    English teams are involved in the Champions League knock-out stages this Spring. But is the Champions League good for domestic football?