chapter  3
The football fever (2)
Pages 20

The language of football crowds Swearing and the use offoul and abusive language have never, of course, been the sole prerogative either of males or the working class. It would however, seem not unreasonable to assume that, in Britain around the turn of the century, working-class males were probably more likely than the members of other groups to swear in public. It is certainly the case that complaints about the language used at football matches regularly surfaced in the British press in the 1890s and early 1900s. Given the fact that working-class males had by that time come to form the majority of those who watched the game, it seems not unlikely that they were the principal targets of such complaints. This suggests that the pronouncements of men like Edwardes, Ensor and Abell on this score were more than simply expressions of prejudice against the working class. Here are one or two examples.