Humans have thrown and kicked a ball towards some form of goal fo as long as people have lived in communities. In any historical period, in part of the globe, football-type games have been played by men and women. This week’s ‘Rugby Reloaded’ takes the long view of ‘folk football’ in Britain before the emergence of the modern rugby and soccer football codes, and asks why it lagged behind sports like cricket and boxing, and did not develop into a modern game until the last third of the 1800s.

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