How sport became the new religion – a 200-year story of society’s ‘great conversion’

Emeritus Professor Hugh McLeod writes for The Conversation

Aston Webb building

“Jesus Christ was a sportsman.” Or so claimed a preacher at one of the regular sporting services that were held throughout the first half of the 20th century in Protestant churches all over Britain.

Invitations were sent out to local organisations, and sportsmen and women would attend these services en masse. Churches would be decorated with club paraphernalia and cups won by local teams. Sporting celebrities – perhaps a Test cricketer or First Division footballer – would read the lessons, and the vicar or priest would preach on the value of sport and the need to play it in the right spirit. Occasionally, the preacher would himself be a sporting star such as Billy Liddell, the legendary Liverpool and Scotland footballer. Read the full article in The Conversation...