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Dr Neil Carter

Job: Senior Research Fellow

Faculty: Arts, 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




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.

He is currently the programme leader for the MA Sports History and Culture.

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 Football Manager: A History (Routledge, 2006), the first academic study of this subject, and his Medicine, Sport and the Body: A Historical Perspective was published by Bloomsbury Academic in 2012.

Neil is currently writing a history of British cycling, which is due to be published in 2019 by Bloomsbury Academic.

Between 2014 and 2016, he was editor-in-chief of the journal Sport in History and has participated in media debates on the history of sport and sporting culture. He has written for media outlets such as History and Policy and the BBC History Magazine

Dr Carter has supervised a number of doctoral students and welcomes PhD applications in the history of sport and leisure.

Research group affiliations

International Centre for Sports History and Culture

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

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 the body


  • 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
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education, De Montfort University, 2008

Membership of external committees

  • Special Olympics Leicester 2009 Legacy Group, 2008-10 
  • Athlos – website for athletics literature – Trustee

Membership of professional associations and societies

Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, 2015 –

Fellow of Higher Education Academy (FHEA) PRO59560, 2009 -

British Society of Sports History, 1998 -

Social History Society, 2015 –

Society for the Social History of Medicine, 2018 –

Forthcoming events

[Add Projects information here] 

Conference attendance

“‘A festival of self-punishment”: Englishness, British cycling and the Tour de France, 1918-39’, Sport and Leisure History series, Institute of Historical Research, 26 November 2018

‘The lure of the road’: cycling, politics and Englishness in inter-war Britain, Social History Society Annual Conference, Lancaster University, 21 March 2016

‘Cycling’s Great Split: Class, Politics and the formation of the British League of Racing Cyclists’, British Society of Sports History Annual conference, Leeds Beckett University, 5 September 2014

‘Herbert Chapman and the Rise of the Football Manager’, Football 150, 1863-2013, National Football Museum, Manchester, 15 May 2013,

‘Amateurism and the Contradictions of Coaching in British Sport’, Amateurism in British and Irish Sport’, Boston College, Dublin, 29 November 2012

‘British Boxing’s Colour Bar, 1911-48’, Black History Season, The Hidden History of Black British Sport, DMU, 22 November 2011

‘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

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

‘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

Consultancy work

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

Current research students

1st supervisor

  • Mel Reid, ‘A history of caving in inter-war Britain’
  • Craig Thomas, ‘The BBC and Class: 1945-55’
  • Brigid Power, ‘Using Sports Heritage to Promote Diversity, Equality and Social Inclusion: A Case Study of Rugby League’s Heritage Programmes’
  • Gareth Edwards, ‘Commercial television and sport: A history, 1955-1992’
  • Keith Myerscough, ‘Commercially Organised Swimming: A History of Natation in Lancashire, 1846 to 1906’
  • Tom Weir, ‘A history of sport and people with learning disabilities, 1960-2012’

2nd supervisor

  • Derek Schofield – ‘A history of the English folk dance revival’

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)

AHRC Midlands 3 Cities, ‘A history of sport and learning disability’, PhD studentship, 2016-19, first supervisor

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, 2009 – 2014

Sport in History, editor-in-chief, 2014 – 2016

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

Case studies

‘English Football: A Social History’, Future Learn, 3-week MOOC, Joint course creator with University of Leicester and Leicester City Football Club, 29 January – 16 February 2018

Between 2014 and 2017, I wrote over 90 articles for the Leicester City Football Club matchday programme on the history of football

Member of after-show panel discussion for Tom McNab’s play, 1936, about the Berlin Olympics, Sadler’s Wells Theatre, London, 19 July 2012

Special Olympics Great Britain National Summer Games, Leicester 2009 – Report Launch, House of Commons, 26 October 2011. 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.

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