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Dr Neil Carter

Job: Senior Research Fellow

Faculty: Art, Design and Humanities

School/department: School of Humanities

Research group(s): International Centre for Sports History and Culture

Address: De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, LE1 9BH

T: +44 (0)116 250 6278

E: necarter@dmu.ac.uk

W: www.dmu.ac.uk/sportshistory


Personal profile

Neil Carter is a Senior Research Fellow in the International Centre for Sports History and Culture.  He joined the ICSHC in 2004 as a Wellcome-Trust research fellow.  He is a social historian with an expertise in the history of sport and leisure and the history of sport and medicine.  His research has focused on a range of issues relating to the development of sport in Britain and also internationally, and he has published widely in these areas.  He is the author of the The Football Manager: A History (Routledge, 2006), the first academic study of this subject, and his Medicine, Sport and the Body: A Historical Perspective is to be published by Bloomsbury Academic in 2012.  He is also the editor of Coaching Cultures (Routledge, 2011), which was a product of a conference he organized titled, ‘Managing Athletes’.  He has presented numerous papers at conferences, contributed entries to the Dictionary of National Biography and encyclopaedias as well as acting as a referee for leading journals and books publishers.  Other research interests include sport and learning disability, the relationship between sport and the media, and the relationship between sport and public health.  Dr Carter is the reviews editor of the journal Sport in History and has delivered a series of public lectures and participated in media debates on the history of sport and sporting culture.

Research group affiliations

International Centre for Sports History and Culture

Publications and outputs 

Click here for a full listing of Neil Carter's publications and outputs|.

Key research outputs

Medicine, Sport and the Body: A Historical Perspective (Bloomsbury Academic, 2012)

‘The Rise and Fall of the Magic Sponge: Medicine and the Transformation of the Football Trainer’, Social History of Medicine, 23:2 (August 2010)

‘From Knox to Dyson: Coaching, Amateurism and British Athletics’, Sport in History 30:1 (March 2010)

Research interests/expertise

  • History of sport and leisure in twentieth century Britain
  • Global history of sport and medicine in nineteenth and twentieth centuries
  • History of sport and public health
  • Sport and learning disability
  • Sport and ethnicity in twentieth century Britain
  • History of coaching
  • Sport and the state
  • Sport and the media 

Areas of teaching

  • Twentieth century British history 
  • History of sport and leisure
  • Sport and politics 


  • BA (Hons.) History, Polytechnic of North London, 1989, 2:1
  • MA Sport, Politics and Society, University of Warwick, 1996, Distinction
  • PhD, ‘A Social History of the Football Manager, c.1880-c.1966’, University of Warwick, 2002

Courses taught

  • HIST 2001, Sport, Leisure and Culture in Twentieth Century
  • HIST 3095, Sport in Britain, Europe and the USA, c. 1850-1940
  • HIST 5022, Sport, Politics and Policy
  • HIST 5025, Football – Past and Present 

Membership of external committees

  • Special Olympics Leicester 2009 Legacy Group, 2008-10 

Membership of professional associations and societies

  • British Society of Sports History, 1998 – present 
  • Society for the Social History of Medicine, 2004 – present 

Forthcoming events

‘Herbert Chapman and the Rise of the Football Manager’, Football Association 150 Years Lecture Series, National Football Museum, Manchester, 2013

Conference attendance

‘The Maximum Wage: The Manager’s Dilemma’, “50th Anniversary Seminar: Reflections on the abolition of the maximum wage in football (1961 – 2011), De Montfort University, 9 June 2011

‘The Punch Drunk Boxer: a socio-cultural and political construction’, University of Birmingham, History of Medicine Unit, 2 June 2011

‘Learning disability, sport and television: A case study of the Special Olympics GB National Summer Games 2009’, Ideograms Seminar, University of Leicester, 2 March 2011

‘Monkey Glands and The Major: Frank Buckley and modern football management’, Sporting Lives Symposium, Manchester Metropolitan University, 4 December 2010, Podcast: see http://www.ipr.mmu.ac.uk/groups/scsd/category/news/|

‘An Amateur in a Professional Game: Sir Harold Thompson FRS, the Football Association and English Football’, 11 June 2010, Invited Public Lecture, The Royal Society, jointly presented with Matthew Taylor, Podcast: see http://royalsociety.org/Podcasts-of-Library-events/|

‘The Punch Drunk Boxer: Popular Perceptions in Inter-War Britain’, Society for Social History of Medicine Conference, University of Durham 8 July 2010

‘The Punch Drunk Boxer’, Boxing, History and Culture: New Themes and Perspectives, DMU, 30 June 2010

‘Sports Medicine as a Profession? The Early Years of the British Association of Sport and Medicine’, Body, Medicine, Movement  Conference, Universite de Lausanne, Switzertland, 15 April 2010 

“Girl, you have no faith in medicine’: Medical resistance to women’s sport in inter-war Britain’ British Society of Sports History Annual conference, University of Stirling, July 2009

‘From BASM to BATS: Sports medicine and the voluntary tradition’ British Society of Sports History Annual conference, University of Brighton, Eastbourne, September 2008

Consultancy work

Sport and the British, 30 part BBC Radio 4 series broadcast January to March 2012; co-consultant and interviewee

Current research students

  • Graeme Moir – 1st supervisor 
  • Paul Campbell – 2nd supervisor 
  • Steve Crewe – 2nd supervisor 
  • Nigel Hancock – 2nd supervisor
  • Dave Pendleton – 2nd supervisor 
  • Pearse Reynolds – 2nd supervisor
  • Neil Skinner – 2nd supervisor 
  • Tegan Carpenter – 2nd supervisor (external)

Externally funded research grants information

The Legacy of the Special Olympics Great Britain, National Summer Games, Leicester 2009; Leicester City Council, SOGB, CIES, NHS-funded, 2008-2010, co-director with Richard Holt (DMU) and John Williams (University of Leicester)

Internally funded research project information

HEIF 2010, ‘Leicester City FC Museum and Heritage Project, 2011-12, Investigator (PI Professor Tony Collins)

Professional esteem indicators

Sport in History, reviews editor, September 2009 – present 

I have acted as a referee for a range of international and national academic journals, including: International Review of the Sociology of Sport; Sport in History; Journal of Sport History.  I have also reviewed book proposals and book manuscripts for Manchester University Press

Case studies

I was a member of the after-show panel discussion for Tom McNab’s play, 1936, about the Berlin Olympics, at Sadler’s Wells Theatre, London, 19 July 2012.

Special Olympics Great Britain National Summer Games, Leicester 2009 – Report Launch 

On 26 October 2011 the Learning Disability, Sport and Legacy report was launched at the House of Commons. Liz Kendall, MP for Leicester West MP hosted the event and the report was received by the Minister for Sport and the Olympics, Hugh Robertson MP.  An Executive Summary of the report was produced for the launch. 

Liz Kendall acknowledged the “groundbreaking research” and ended by saying that she “hoped the government will read, reflect and act upon the recommendations of the report.”  Hugh Robertson thanked the city of Leicester for hosting the 2009 games and that “he was lucky enough to attend the games while he was in opposition”.  He also acknowledged Leicester as “one of the country’s greatest sporting cities”.

He then thanked the academics who had written the report, acknowledging that that wasn’t something you normally hear from politicians, and then said:   “Lessons learned from this study are immediately transferable as the nation prepares to host other major sporting events, such as the Olympic Games and the Rugby World Cup.  He then added: “The challenge of how to drive a legacy for these events is one we all face – and the lessons picked up by your work will be of enormous use to us.”

The launch was reported in a number of local newspapers including the Leicester Mercury and reference to the research was made in the House of Commons by Chris Heaton-Harris, MP for Daventry on 6 July 2011 (Hansard).

Lecture entitled ‘An Amateur in a Professional Game: Harold Thompson, the Football Association and English Football’ given (with Professor Matt Taylor of DMU) at the Royal Society Public Lecture Series on 9 June 2010. http://royalsociety.org/Podcasts-of-Library-events/|

Audience breakdown: 30 in total, of which approx 10 were Royal Society staff, 8 academics and 12 general public. 

From feedback forms received, the following comments were made: ‘Well researched presentation’; ‘this was outstanding – more sport-related talks please’; ‘interesting widening of range of issues discussed at Royal Society’; ‘clever idea!’ 

Rupert Baker of the Royal Society provided the following comment on the significance/ impact of the event:  ‘This was the first time the Royal Society Centre for History of Science has included a sport-themed event in its popular series of lunchtime public gatherings. The talk was a useful opportunity to attract a new audience to the Society, and to bring the football-related side of our Thompson Papers archive to the attention of the public.  All those present agreed that it was a thought-provoking and enjoyable discussion, and senior managers at the Royal Society are now more aware of the breadth of the Society’s archival holdings, and open to the possibility of further, less ‘mainstream’, Library events in future’. 

Neil Carter

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