The history of football english england part four
Football, beginning between 1050 and 1075, found quick favor among the English. Perhaps that was because the natives came to regard each inflated bladder as the skull of a hated Dane, and they could kick it savagely without the aftermath of bruised toes.
Entering the 12th Century, football, without any basic rules, became something with mob-scene embroidery. Players of adjacent towns would meet at some midway spot. The bladder would be thrown down, as a signal for action, and then, with scores, and sometimes hundreds of players on each side, action would get under way. Apparently the rules provided that the team was winner which kicked the ball into the middle of the rival town. Play was accompanied by lusty yelling, and it is written that when victorious players came charging into small towns, kicking the football through the main streets, the non-combatant villagers became terrified. Shop keepers closed their stores and shoppers remained indoors until the tumult and shouting had died.
The authorities were asked to halt this random, roving game with its extra high jinks, lest the hoydenish fellows knock down small buildings, as well as fleeing pedestrians. The disciples of this game of "kicking the Dane's ,head" were commanded to confine their activity 'to a vacant area, or abandon the sport entirely.
That marked the beginning of standardization of the game. A field was marked off with boundaries somewhat similar to those governing soccer today. A point was scored whenever the ball was kicked over the goal line of the other team. The rules did not fix the number of players, but it was stipulated that "both sides must have an approximately equal number of players," and that meant anywhere from 19 to 50 on a side, depending upon how many craved action.
Until then the game had no definite name. It was called "kicking the Dane's head," "kicking the bladder" and similar descriptions. But in the 12th Century, it officially became "futballe" and soon its popularity exceeded that of many sports of early England. In fact, so many English indulged in "futballe," to the exclusion of all else during leisure hours, that King Henry II (1154-1189) became alarmed because his subjects were neglecting the compulsory practice of archery. He ordered "futballe" performers to "cease playe" and accomplished his purpose when he threatened imprisonment, not only for the performers, but also for the owners of land whereon the barred game was played.
So effective was King Henry's order that at the time of his death in 1189 football was little more than a fragrant memory. The ban was continued by succeeding rulers for more than 400 years, but because of the tolerance of certain monarchs, the game was played occasionally and, thus, the principles of the sport passed from one generation to another.