What of Football? Let me at once confess that in my opinion this king of winter pastimes has done more to refine, dignify and elevate the masses of English people than any sport I know.
My only regret is that the many thousands that stand watching the games played, one half of the number are not themselves engaged in it. They would be all the better for it.
Bull-baiting, cock-fighting and rat-killing have well-nigh disappeared from the amusements of a certain class, but football today is stronger than ever.
As a healthy and invigorating sport I recommend it, and I feel confident in my own mind that all who play it, who mix with the world, who advance in life, feel improved in morals, in health, and in broad-mindedness. They learn how to take defeat with good grace, and acquire the inestimable quality of submission to superior forces, which prompts the loser to offer his hand and congratulate the winner.
Football, in fact, brings a flood of sunshine into the wearying gloom of thousands who are compelled by force of circumstances to be cooped up from year end to year end and in factories and in grimy workshops.
• Edwin W. Cox, 1894, who later became Editor of the Aston Villa News & Record