Life Stories

Football Makes History gathers life stories of unique individuals that help us connect the history of football to diversity and inclusion.

This is Football Lives.

What is Football Lives?

History can be explored through the lives of individuals. This collection gives you the opportunity to discover just how the life stories of people in football (players, coaches, referees and administrators) are intertwined with social, cultural, economic and political histories.

These histories may be small and local, or they may have impacted the world. This collection is not a hall of fame, and – just like the study of the past – it is not final. We note the significance of these life stories based on what history, and indeed present, they shed light on.

Some football lives are heroic and have paved the way for inclusion, democracy and human rights. Others have done just the opposite. In order for us to learn about the past through the lens of individuals, we include thinking points for each life story.

Podium

The Podium contains the three most viewed football lives in Football Makes History platform.

Petra Landers: For the Love of the Game

Petra Landers has had many triumphs in football, but thinks the governing bodies have not given women’s football the right support. Her story is one about diversity, equality and education.

Petra Landers: For the Love of the Game

Petra Landers has had many triumphs in football, but thinks the governing bodies have not given women’s football the right support. Her story is one about diversity, equality and education.

John Blankenstein: Arbiter of LGBT Rights

John Blankenstein was a respected referee, and is remembered for being an activist for LGBT rights. His story is one about social equality and exclusion.

John Blankenstein: Arbiter of LGBT Rights

John Blankenstein was a respected referee, and is remembered for being an activist for LGBT rights. His story is one about social equality and exclusion.

John Blankenstein: Arbiter of LGBT Rights

John Blankenstein was a respected referee, and is remembered for being an activist for LGBT rights. His story is one about social equality and exclusion.

John Blankenstein: Arbiter of LGBT Rights

John Blankenstein was a respected referee, and is remembered for being an activist for LGBT rights. His story is one about social equality and exclusion.

Carmen Pomies: Football Francais Feminin

Carmen Pomies was an outstanding athlete in many sports, and one of the pioneer female footballers in France. Her life story is one about Gender history.

Carmen Pomies: Football Francais Feminin

Carmen Pomies was an outstanding athlete in many sports, and one of the pioneer female footballers in France. Her life story is one about Gender history.

Latest Life Stories

We are adding new football lives on a regular basis as we build a wider and more comprehensive collection with our partners. Our latest additions are:

LIFE STORIES  Latest

All Life Stories

in alphabetical order
Fatmire Alushi

From Refugee to World Champion

Mario Balotelli

Magnet for Controversy

Anatoliy Banishevskiy

Multiple Belonings

George Best

Victim of celebrity?

John Blankenstein

Arbiter of LBGT Rights

Zvonimir Boban

Yugoslavia, Italy, Croatia

Stjepan Bobek

Champion of Tito’s Yugoslavia

Vsevolod Bobrov

Soviet Olympic Hero

Jean-Marc Bosman

Revolutionary who set footballers free

Emma Clarke

England’s first black female player

Neta Cohen

Young woman saved by Football

Vikash Dhorasoo

Vocal for change

Alfredo Di Stefano

The Making of a Madrileno

Raoul Diagne

The first player of African origin to play for France

Robert Enke

Casualty of the Beautiful Game?

Eusebio

The Black Pearl

Justin Fashanu

Casualty of prejudice?

Odd Frantzen

Forgotten hero of the Bronze Team

Stephanie Frappart

Whistling on the Big Stage

Gottfried Fuchs

The One who got away

Falko Götz

Through the Iron Curtain

Helen Graham Matthews

Promoting the Women’s Game

Gyula Grosics

The Rebel who stayed

Gheorghe Hagi

Maradona of the Carpathians

Asbjorn Halvorsen

Victim of Dictatorship

Eddy Hamel

New York, Amsterdam, Auschwitz

Julius Hirsh

Iron Cross to Enemy of the State

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Being Zlatan

Christian Karembeu

Facing Empire in Football

Arthur, Lord Kinnaird

Aristocratic Founder of the Game

Edith Klinger

Muzzled Austrian Referee

Helmut Klopfleisch

Fan on the wrong side of the Wall

Ernst Kuzorra

One of "Germany's Polish Champions"

Petra Landers

For the Love of the Game

Valeriy Lobanovskyi

Heart of Ukrainian Football

Nat Lofthouse

The One-Club man

Paolo Maldini

Crown Prince of Milan

Hugo Meisl

Mastermind of the Wunderteam

Carolina Morace

Ahead of her Time?

Nadia Nadim

The Danish Girl from Herat

Bruno Neri

Partisan commander

Otto Nerz

Germany’s coach who died in a Soviet camp

“Nettie Honeyball”

Pioneer of women’s game

Mesut Özil

Not German Enough?

Fred Pentland

Missionary for the ‘English Way’

Michel Platini

Icon who fell from Grace

Carmen Pomies

Football Francais Feminin

Vittorio Pozzo

Coach of “Mussolini’s team”

Helmut Rahn

Der Boss

Megan Rapinoe

Champion of Women’s Rights

Florrie Redford

The Preston Munitionette

Matthias Sindelar

Austria’s sportman of the Century?

Marvin Sordell

Facing up to Depression

Nikolai Starostin

The Cost of Defying Beria

Bibiana Steinhaus

Woman in Authority

Raheem Sterling

Fighting back against Prejudice

Josep Sunyol

Casualty of Spain’s Civil War

Fergus Suter

Working-Class Professional

Fatih Terim

Emperor of Turkey

Bert Trautmann

The German who Stayed

Walter Tull

Black footballer and Soldier

Alex Villaplane

From Football hero to war-time villain

Andrew Watson

The first black international player?

Arpad Weisz

Jewish, Hungarian, Italian?

Lev Yashin

The Hero of the Soviet Union

Do you wanna know more?

HISTORY CAN BE EXPLORED THROUGH THE LIVES OF INDIVIDUALS

  • Stories
  • Videos
  • Educational Resources

The football signpost to WWII

Football certainly has produced numerous incredible matches. Matches remembered forever because of mighty performances by the greatest players of all time or because of a heroic performance by an underdog.

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