This Game Changes Lives

Using Welsh Football for Social Good

From Planet 241

Russell Todd with Tim Hartley

In a collaborative article with Russell Todd, Tim Hartley sets out the vision for Expo’r Wal Goch in advance of its launch this year. This aims to become a diverse, progressive, politicised expression of working-class football fandom, channelling the spirit of Raymond Williams’ democratic definition of culture.

Growing up in the 1970s there was a tension if not animosity between the games of rugby and football. Those were the days of the great Wales teams and Triple Crowns galore. Rugby reigned supreme, at least in the south Wales Valleys where I was playing. When my mate Hywel Evans from Tonteg wanted to play football after our Saturday morning rugby match, the sports master told him in no uncertain terms, ‘One man, one ball, one game.’ And that was that.

Times have changed and Wales arguably has a new national sport with football having taken the place of rugby in communities across Wales. Sport is like any other cultural activity in how it brings people together. But love it or loathe it, there is something unique about football which gives it universal appeal and because of that, reach.

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