The Run of Play is a blog about
the wonder and terror of soccer.

We left the window open during a match in October 2007 and a strange wind blew into the room.

Now we walk the forgotten byways of football with a lonely tread, searching for the beautiful, the bewildering, the haunting, and the absurd.

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Wonderful Old Soccer Postcards

I haven’t read, or even seen, Hunter Davies’s Postcards from the Edge of Football, but I love looking at old football postcards. I like the thought that underneath all the large public channels of media and culture, the world is being crisscrossed with these incidental private images of the game, carrying greetings, questions, and experiences from one person to another.


Tom Browne, “A Full Back,” c. 1903

A Full Back


Tom Browne, “Head Work,” c. 1903

Head Work


Tom Browne, “Poor Referee!,” c. 1903

Poor Referee


Tom Browne, “Fisting Out the Ball,” c. 1903

Fisting Out the Ball


Tom Browne, “I’ve Swallowed It,” c. 1903

I've Swallowed It


Tom Browne, “D-D-Don’t Know,” c. 1903

Don't Know


Tom Browne, “After the Ball,” Christmas 1903

Christmas 1903


Handmade French postcard from 1903

Handmade 1903


“Half Time,” 1905

Half Time 1905


“The Hope of His Side,” 1907

The Hope of His Side 1907


“Well Saved!,” 1908

Well Saved 1908


“On the Ball,” early 20th century

On the Ball


“A Good Save,” early 20th century

A Good Save


“A Good Header,” early 20th century

A Good Head


The crowd at Exeter-Bristol City, 1917

Crowd 1917


Dutch football, 1918. The giant mustachioed man in the center appears not to notice the smaller man fouling him.

Dutch football 1918


Brighton & Hove Albion, commemorative FA Cup lineup card, 1922

Brighton 1922


The Wasps, Swindon, 1923

Wasps of Swindon 1923


The reverse side reads: “D. Jimmy – I’m sure this is you, because of the striped breeches. What ever have you been doing? Have you still a lot of work to do? Ask Alice to put some patches on your jersey before I come and see you again. Cecil.”

Little Jimmy


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Wonderful Old Soccer Postcards

by Brian Phillips · October 26, 2010

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