(…and other puzzles in rugby history)
By Tony Collins
Did a schoolboy named William Webb Ellis really invent rugby two hundred years ago in 1823?
It’s a myth – but has always been a major part of the game, emerging in the culture wars that led to rugby’s great split of 1895.
The debate between league and union is endless. Which rugby code can claim to be the authentic version? Who has rightful claim to the original British Lions? Why did rugby league become the dominant code in Australia? How come it isn’t the premier code in Wales?
There are endless puzzles on the pitch too. Why does union follow football and have a throw-in? What’s the role of the drop-goal in the modern age? And what are the reasons for the decline of scrums?
In Who Framed William Webb Ellis?, award-winning professor of history Tony Collins uncovers and explains these and many more such enigmas surrounding rugby.
He reveals, for example, that rugby was once far more popular than football, that Manchester was a hotbed of the oval ball, and that Leeds United owes its existence to a rugby league club.
So what did happen that meant soccer and not rugby ultimately became the world game?
Based on episodes of his Rugby Reloaded podcast, Collins also explores the culture of rugby, and looks at Tom Brown’s School Days, the 19th-century equivalent of Harry Potter, 1960s kitchen sink movie classic This Sporting Life, the mysterious ‘Battle of the Roses’ painting, and even a Sherlock Holmes detective story.
If you’ve ever had a question about rugby history, then this is the book you need to read.
From Morley Boy to Westminster Knight
by Sir Rodney Brooke
“Few, if any, public servants can match Sir Rodney Brooke’s 60-year record … six decades of unbroken service across local government, the NHS, education, utilities and beyond surely give him a unique perspective…” – The Guardian
Sir Rodney Brooke has had an eventful life at the sharp end – thanks to a career that led him from 15-year-old school-leaver in Yorkshire to the corridors of power at Westminster… and all points in between. In The Winding Stair, his sparkling collection of memoirs, he takes readers through its highs and lows – beginning as a reporter on his hometown Morley Observer newspaper and ending with a CBE, knighthood and honours from five more countries. In so doing, he reveals hitherto unknown details behind six decades’ worth of controversial headline moments and colourful personalities.
As a former chief executive of West Yorkshire County Council, he shares fascinating background into the mysterious death of Helen Smith in Jeddah; the Bradford City fire, in which 56 people were killed; and the handling of the hunt for the Yorkshire Ripper.
As Emergency Controller in the event of nuclear war, he was told to shelter in a Pennine underground lair – and restore order as Geiger counters said to emerge. Read how Halifax invented the guillotine; why dogs could bark at night in Otley but not Ossett; how the law told householders in Huddersfield to whiten their doorsteps before 8.00am or be fined five shillings; and why the press camped on his Ilkley lawn after he resigned over the notorious ‘Homes for Votes’ episode – when Dame Shirley Porter was surcharged £42.5m.
Accounts of how he organised the final reading of the Riot Act and interviewed a talking dog with Mrs Thatcher’s press spokesman, Sir Bernard Ingham, are found among tales of Princess Diana’s underwear in Roundhay Park, Princess Margaret and the cakes at Leeds/Bradford airport, sex and the Poll Tax, the murky Dolphin Square scandals and how Trafalgar Square very nearly became Nelson Mandela Square. For anyone interested in current affairs and the reality behind politics, The Winding Stair – From Morley Boy to Westminster Knight is not to be missed.
Lost Childhood and a Boy’s Journey for Justice
by Richie Barlow – with Becky Bond
Foreword by Niall Paterson, of Sky News
Richie Barlow recently celebrated his 40th birthday, a landmark date he never thought he would reach. Many were the times – when struggling to survive a desperate childhood and adolescence – that he clinged to a dream of simply making it to 22.
Abandoned by his abusive mother and stepfather and placed in an inadequate care system, he was sold into child prostitution and criminality while the state apparatus knowingly failed him. But for the love and hope shared by surrogate parents Pauline and Anna, Richie would have become just another tragic statistic.
Yet released back into the world with few coping strategies, he was determined to make his mark and have his mistreatment at the hands of the local authority recognised in order to bring about the change necessary so others would not have to experience the sort of tribulations, tragedy and sorrow he had.
Now in a loving relationship, married to Ben, a new family around him and an award-winning dog walking business, Richie’s story is one of immense determination and inner strength against the longest odds. It is about hope, reclaiming the past and gaining justice. Harrowing yet uplifting, it is a must read.
70 Delicious Recipes for Every Occasion to Capture the Essence of the North
with Bake Off’s Sandy Docherty
Rarely seen without a rolling pin, Sandy Docherty appeared on The Great British Bake-Off in 2015 and has been a regular guest on local radio and Channel 4 since – talking especially about food from the land of her birth. She achieved GBBO’s legendary ‘Hollywood Handshake’ for her rich chocolate-indulgent Yorkist Tart – among the recipes featured in this, her first collection of culinary treasures specific to northern English traditions. Each mouthwatering suggestion comes with a little potted history and instructions for deliciously moreish creations perfect for any time of day, whether for solo indulgence or enjoyably shared with family and friends. Learn how to make Leeds soup, Swaledale lamb and mint pies, Whitby chowder, Helvellyn butter, Batley truffle, Moggy and so much more… Plus, of course, the definitive recipe for Yorkshire Puddings in a book designed to evoke the sounds and smells of Sandy’s mother’s kitchen.
“Full of classy Yorkshire fodder. I look forward to trying them all!” – Julian Norton, The Yorkshire Vet
A STORY OF SOCK TAGS AND SELF-BELIEF
As told to Neil Jeffries
Foreword by Allan ‘Sniffer’ Clarke
Imagine a world without ‘Marching On Together’, sock tags and Target Balls…
Imagine a world in which pre-match warm-ups and football shirts with the player’s name on the back never existed…
Imagine a world without Paul ‘The Beaver’ Trevillion… and that would be today’s world.
Although first and foremost an artist, Paul ‘The Beaver’ Trevillion is a man with brilliant ideas. His long career has introduced him to all the world’s leading sportsmen, as well as royalty and politicians, and given him unique insights, drive and self-belief.
Those qualities and ideas he took to Don Revie in 1972, aiming to improve the image of the club and bring the players closer to the fans. Inventions such as sock tags, Target Balls and a hit single that became an anthem are remembered and loved to this day. New concepts including pre-match warm-ups and putting a player’s name across his shoulders proved Trevillion was decades ahead of his time.
In fact everything he suggested worked and together his efforts turned Leeds United into the world’s first modern day football club. And it only took him 50 days. Now, 50 years later, all the incredible secrets of that brief but unforgettable time are revealed…
Size – 218 x 22 x 284. Hardback – 176 pages