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Don’t you know there’s a war on?

The British Army might be involved in a desperate struggle in northern France but that doesn’t mean that life should come to a standstill at home:

The Times, 14 September 1914 p2

The Times, 14 September 1914 p2

I jest, the Football Association has asked for guidance. This is what the Army Council had to say:

The question whether the playing of matches should be entirely stopped is more a matter for the discretion of the Association, but the Council quite realise the difficulties involved in taking such an extreme step, and they would deprecate anything being done which does not appear to be called for by the present situation.

One of the problems – a problem that will haunt the British Army until 1917 – is that it is a small army with a small supply industry. There simply is no great stockpile of uniforms, weapons and ammunition and no easy way of producing more. Sure, the Army may have recrutied 100,000 men (or is it 500,000?) by this stage of the war but there’s precious little they can do with them. So football might as well continue, as indeed it did until the end of the season in 1915.

4 comments to Don’t you know there’s a war on?

  • Patrick Crozier

    Hmm. It appears to have been both. Parliament asked for 100,000 and by the end of September got 750,000.

  • Nick (Natural Genius) Gray

    Currently, many western countries have Wars on Poverty, drugs, and Terror; but people are still playing sports! Is there a deferment program so you don’t get conscripted into these wars, or will everyone escape to Canada?

  • Regional

    Although Canada has much to offer, freezing your tits off eight months of the year can have it’s downsides.

  • Mr Ed

    Barbados in May seemed to have a host of Canadian refugees from the winter.

    I suppose that the difficult thing in wartime is to retain a sense of normality and the balance between carrying on with the normal, and getting the war won, so that one may return to normal. To abandon football would be to deprive many of a welcome diversion – all the more welcome in war – and to give the enemy a propaganda tool ‘The English are so scared, they have stopped playing Fußball‘ one might imagine the Kaiser hearing.

    Kitchener was begging Churchill, First Lord of the Admiralty for 10 million rounds of ammo in 1914, but Churchill gave him a mere fraction. The Navy ended up forming the Royal Naval Division to put sailors and Marines into action on land, the sea war having been a relative sideshow of battles of fleets in being in the main, whilst the U boats prowled. I do like the Q ships though.