The history of leisure time for the working class, as we know it today, began in 18th century England. It then spread throughout Europe and Americas. Before that, leisure time was reserved for the elite. Soccer was the first sport to reach mass appeal and influence thousands of people.
In the late 1800s, during the boom of the industrial revolution, there was concern about the What sports health of workers in factories. In 1880s churches, schools, and industries agreed that playing ball was the best thing for working class men and women to do on Saturday.
Next was to see other boys and men playing ball games. Through the 1800s, literally thousands of clubs were established by trade unions, churches, factories, and railway workshops. This is how some of the most successful English soccer teams were founded. Newton Heath LYR Football Club was the founding club of Manchester United. In 1892, Liverpool was established. Arsenal soccer club was founded in 1892.
Schools were the main source of interest in sporting activities. All English towns after 1870 had an education system that attracted all schools to competitions. People paid to see their teams play on new grounds. Some of these grounds had covered stands that were provided by local authorities. People were able to read newspapers with a lot more coverage of sporting matches because of the literacy they had in school. As they do today, many people still read newspapers for their sport pages.
The commercial spinoffs of the games became more important as the excitement of them grew. Not only did sport games sell papers, but they also sold special equipments like shorts, jerseys and boats to boost and strengthen players. To soothe sore muscles, there was medicine. Beer was available to cheer people up when their team lost. This was the Fin de siecle era.
The interest in sport, which is Fin de siecle, went beyond that. Post and Telegraph were crucial in setting match schedules and reporting on results. The importance of trains transportation increased as a means to transport large numbers of fans to follow their clubs to other cities. Cup finals saw special fares on trains. In the 1800s, these cup finals attracted more than hundreds of thousand of fans.