We actually covered this issue last year, but Steve Hendricks (who “watches Manchester City and FC Barcelona from Boulder, Colorado”) has written such an enjoyable piece about it, full of both footnotes and jokes, that I can’t resist posting it. A sample of his style:
I should explain that it turned up at Oxford, not Old Hall, because although it was first printed in The Oldhallian, it was penned at Oxford. The penner was an anonymous Old Hall alumnus (who, were there any justice in the world, would be called an Old Oldhallian but instead is a mere Old Hallian, or so say the killjoys at the school) who had alighted at Exeter College, Oxford, and was sending back dispatches on university doings to his old schoolmates. In his letter of December 1885, after wishing Old Hallians who had gone to Cambridge “every success notwithstanding their bad choice”, he reported that the ’Varsity lost to Aston Villa in what “was pre-eminently the most important ‘Socker’ game played in Oxford this term”—a phrase remarkable not only for the first use of soccer but for the last use, so far as scholars of the field have determined, of preeminently important to describe a game played at Oxford.
He ends with an offer to return “soccer” to the Brits when they decide they want it back “as freely as a Tom Cruise blockbuster”; “In return we ask only that, next time, you send a single Agüero instead of two Wright-Phillipses.”