Leon Sperling in 1920s.
Leon Sperling in 1920s.

December in Football

Football stories from the month of December

What moments in football history have we highlighted in the last month? How do they provide us with historical mirrors to the present?

International Migrants Day

On 18th December we celebrated International Migrants Day with the release of our latest Football Makes History documentary The Right to Play. If you have not seen this meaningful story about a team made by and for migrants in Milano, make sure you do! We are eager to hear back from you how you have experienced it, and if/how you might have used in educational settings.

Kicking Football for Change

In December we have published articles to help raise awareness on how the history of football is interjected with winds of change. If you have missed them, make sure to check out our stories about:

  1. Democracy: One man, One vote by Peter Bijl. In the early 1980s, Brazil was living in a brutal military dictatorship. One oppositional movement became visible to a wide audience all over the country, shouting for democracy and fueling the fire for the masses.
  2. Climate change: Global Game! Green Game? By Dominik Pesamosca. As an arena of inspiration and emotion, football has a unique possibility to raise genuine awareness among its millions of fans, that the time for action is now. UEFA has recently expressed its commitment for climate action. But we are, in fact, quite literally in injury time. And earth has no VAR.
  3. European cooperation: Simply the best? By Zdravko Stojkoski. Born in a time of a divided Europe, the history of the “Ballon d’Or”, in terms of organisation as well as the winners, paints a picture of European history and society as well.

Highlights to cherish

In December we continued our #onthisday social media campaign with 56 entries, playing close attention to stories – large and small – that connect football to social and cultural developments on the continent. Some of our highlights from December were that on: 

  • 3 December is International Day for Persons with Disabilities. Marcel Put wrote up a reflection on how football has worked for inclusion.
  • 8 December 1939 Fahrudin Jusufi was born in Zli Potok, Yugoslavia (now Kosovo). Eintracht Frankfurt fans used to sing Ju-Ju-Jusufi. In 1991 he said on the conflict in the Balkans: “Why would I have any problems?”, he replied. “I’m a Gorani, if that even interests anyone.”
  • 15 December 1941 Leon Sperling was killed in the ghetto of Lviv. The Jewish footballer from Poland is one of many tragic stories whereby football and genocide are entangled.
  • 15 December 1965 Derry City FC (DCFC) were due to play a historic second round European Cup clash with Anderlecht RSC. The ball never rolled. Why? Enrico Cavalieri wrote up a short summary.
  • 18 December 1914 Frantisek Fadrhonc was born. He was a czech sports educator, official and trainer who fled to The Netherlands in 1948. There he contributed to the Dutch football culture. One story to ponder the transnational nature of football in Europe and beyond.
  • 23 December 1940 Estonian football player Otto Silber was executed in Saue near Tallinn by soldiers of the Soviet Union. 
  • 27 December 1915, Gyula Zsengeller was born. A star of the Hungarian national team, he is also well remembered on the other side of the globe. Why?

These were just some of the highlights! Explore more of our December stories on our social media. Miss something? Why not tell us if you think we missed something important in December.

Pass the ball around

Our campaign’s content is almost entirely produced by educators. Each day we aim to deliver interesting mini-stories from football’s rich history. These will be posted on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. The content is aimed to support the educational objectives of the Football Makes History project. If you are reading this and have suggestions or ideas for the months ahead, we are most happy to receive those! Join us! Help our team tell the stories that matter.

Waiting for UEFA2020, we provided you with a 365-day #onthisday series of posts. Here is what you enjoyed reading in December!

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