Mara Gómez at practice (Photo from Instagram with permission).
Mara Gómez at practice (Photo from Instagram with permission).

February in Football

Here is what you enjoyed reading in February!

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

Exploring Football History in the past and present

In February we posted stories about different people and their connection to history. From a story about a football player experiencing history as a soldier in World War I to a story about a transgender professional football player making history.

  1. World War I in one life by Helen Snelson.There are many connections between World War 1 and football, but on Football Makes History we are interested to look from a point of view of teaching. This article explores the life of Donald Bell (1890-1916), a teacher, football player and soldier or in other words one working-class life of football and war.
  2. Mara Gómez: Pioneering transgender professional football made by students at the Køge Gymnasium (Copenhagen, Denmark). The story of Mara Gomez is one of paving the way for transgenders in professional football.

Highlights to cherish

In February we continued our #onthisday social media campaign with 48 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 February were that on:

  • 1 February Italian paleontologist Vittorio Vialli was born. 30 years later, in a Nazi concentration camp, he took this picture. Enrico Cavalieri wrote an incredible story about this picture. Earlier in the Enrico already wrote something about Primo Levi and football in concentration camps. 
  • 4 February 1987 Dimitri M’buyu became the first black player to play for Belgium. We asked the question: how have pioneers like him paved the way for future generations?
  • 12 February John Blankenstein was born. He was a referee who led 500+ league matches and 88+ international matches. He is remembered for football & his legacy as an LGBT rights activist is continued by the John Blankenstein Foundation.
  • 16 February Austrian midfielder Karl Wahlmüller died in Estonia, fighting against Soviet Red Army. He had been enrolled by the Wehrmacht after the Anschluss.
  • 19 February 2020, Atalanta Bergamo hosted Valencia in a final-16 Champions League match. It was a superspreading event of the Covid-19 pandemic. Peter Bijl wrote up a story to reflect on the wider impact of Covid-19 pandemic on the world of football.
  • 21 February 1988 Everton played Liverpool in the FA Cup, the match was tainted by a racist incident against Liverpool player John Barnes. But Barnes was neither the first or the last footballer to be subjected to racist abuse. What more can supporters, players and the authorities do to eradicate racism from football?
  • 28 February 1980 Constante Bonazza passed away. In July 1944 he was sent to Auschwitz but he survived. After the war ended he decided to stay in Poland and became the first italian to play in to play in the Polish league.

These were just some of the highlights! Explore more of our February stories on our social media. Miss something? Why not tell us.

Teaching Football History

In the month of February Football Makes History released multiple historiana units. Here is the list of learning activities we released this month:  

  1. Igor Jovanovic made a learning activity about migration called; Understanding (football) migrations’ push and pull factors. The goal of activity is to expand the knowledge of your students about migration.
  2. Gareth Thomas made a learning activity called; Could a disaster save English Football? This activity is designed to help your students develop social and civic competences.
  3. Dario Brentin made a learning activity called; Football, the national team and national identity. This activity uses football in France to teach students about questions of migration, citizenship and multiculturalism/diversity.

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.

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