ByChris Bolsmann, Dilwyn Porter
Pages 19

The Corinthian Football Club could claim for many years and with some justification that it was the most famous soccer club in the world. At home in England, it became the standard-bearer for gentlemanly amateurism, sometimes labelled ‘Corinthianism’, in an era characterized by the advance of professionalism. The Corinthians also toured extensively in Europe, South Africa, the United States, Canada and Brazil, these overseas ventures weaving a distinctive and important strand in the web of transnational connectivity underpinning early-phase soccer globalization. At the same time, they actively promoted the ideal of amateurism, thus underwriting the era of amateur hegemony in world sport. Previous accounts of the club’s history, mainly written by apologists and insiders, have generated a myth, ‘the glory that was Corinth’, which demands critical scrutiny. Touring, whether at home or abroad, involved crossing boundaries – cultural and social, regional and national. It is argued here that revisiting the story of the Corinthians over the period of 1882–1939 provides an opportunity to explore key themes in the development of the modern game in Britain and elsewhere. Relevant historiographies relating to association football in England in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and the diffusion of soccer globally are surveyed.