I'm an historian of the F A Cup who has contributed research to many publications as well as historical articles on the competition to match programmes for over forty clubs, including the official programmes of Manchester United, Arsenal, Everton, Liverpool and Tottenham, dating back to the early 1990s. Formerly with The Independent in London. I write largely freelance and also have a long time love affair with The Grand National Steeplechase.
Indeed I thought I knew a lot about this event until fortunate to be one of twenty invited historians to the course in the early years of this century where I was fortunate to meet several men far more knowledgeable than I on this event. I did however set out to try and put right many of the errors that had become popular misconception in regards to the Nationals of the 19th Century and have researched the Grand Nationals of 1836-1872 in great detail. I am a strong advocate of the reinstatement of the 1836-7-8 Grand Nationals to their rightful place as official races as they were never considered unofficial in the first place. They were only lost to history by accident of documentation, which has snowballed down the decades into a horde of publications repeating and adding errors to the early era of this race. Unfortunately a factual error in the Grand National is like a weed. They have gone unchallenged for decades and it may well take as long again to correct them in the published media as the errors have been repeated so often in print.
By using the correct press accounts of the time I hope to bury the errors once and for all by trying to find correct sources online. This is very difficult as there is still a large swathe of online publications that continue to use old, now known to be incorrect source material.