I have to admit to being a late convert in life to the game of Rugby – well into my thirties. Coming from a football family I didn’t realise the huge gulf between the preening primadonnas and big money of the modern game of football, and the more gentleman’s game of rugby football. Every game I watch reinforces that it’s all about the game – not the hype around it.
It has been a delight to publish the re-release of ‘Rugby Football in the Nineteenth Century‘ originally published by the Isthmian Library back in the late 1800s when Rugby split into two codes. Here Graeme Marrs M.B.E comments on the book and how historian Paul Spiring has brought this amazing book back for today’s rugby fans:
“It is both a privilege and a pleasure to write the Foreword to this fascinating addition to the library of Rugby Books. I am particularly delighted as Bertram Fletcher Robinson was a relation – admittedly much further up the family tree – but a relation nevertheless and one who obviously had the true ethos of the game very much in his heart. I shudder to think what he would make of today’s game, with its professionalism and all the disadvantages that brings. I admit to being firmly in Will Carling’s ‘Old Farts’ camp. The ‘amateur’ game is for me, albeit one cannot stop progress.
Apart from family, I also connect with Bertram Fletcher Robinson in rugger terms. He won three Rugby Football Blues for Cambridge University during the early 1890s: today the Anti Assassins (periodically described as the poor man’s Barbarians!) play Cambridge University at Grange Road every year in the Lent Term: I just happen to be the current Honorary Secretary of the AAs!
I can only describe this book as a thoroughly entertaining read – not only entertaining but instructive and it gives the reader a thorough insight into how the game was played and the spirit in which it was played at that time. Paul Spiring has done a splendid job both in researching the subject and producing such a readable volume: all credit to him.
I commend this book to all – one does not have to be a rugby enthusiast to derive enjoyment from the read, although it should be mandatory reading for all involved with the Rugby Football Union!“