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This book gives a fascinating history of the English experience of sport, following its development through the centuries from its earliest beginnings in social play and pastimes, via its adoption as an alternative to the clock-watching routine of urban life, to its modern incarnation as a global business. Key themes and issues in the evolution of sport are examined, including: social structures, such as the division between amateurs and professionals the growth of the popular press and the influence of television the post-war emergence of sports ‘welfarism’ and ‘sport for all’ globalization and commercialization. Looking ahead to the future, the author asks whether our sports experience is turning full circle, and if in the twenty-first century we are returning to a forgotten view of sport as a pastime and recreation.