The English Game: Who was Arthur Kinnaird? Netflix introduces fans to football legend

The English Game - Netflix | Edward Holcroft as Arthur Kinnaird

The English Game on Netflix tells the story of some of the key figures in the early days of professional football.

Netflix may be best known for creating hugely expensive blockbuster TV shows such as Stranger Things and The Witcher but thanks to its ever-growing audience, the content on the streaming service has had to diversify.

Also appearing on Netflix in recent months have been the likes of docuseries, international films and TV series and, of course, a whole load of kids' content.

One of the more eye-catching additions in recent weeks is The English Game. A historical drama that comes from the creator of Downton Abbey, Julian Fellowes.

The series tells the stories of key individuals during the early years of football before the game became fully professional.

One of the key characters in the series is Arthur Kinnaird but just who was this legend of the game?

  • READ MORE: The truth about The English Game's Fergus Suter

The English Game on Netflix

The English Game is a six-part TV series that arrived on Netflix on March 20th, 2020.

It tells the stories of two football players, both coming from opposite ends of the class divide.

One is Fergus Suter, a stonemason who arguably became the first-ever professional football player as well as Arthur Kinnaird and it is the latter who we are focusing on here.

The English Game - Netflix | Edward Holcroft as Arthur Kinnaird

Who was Arthur Kinnaird?

Arthur Kinnaird, born on February 16th 1847, was the 11th Lord Kinnaird.

He grew up in the wealthy London borough of Kensington and would go on to study at the prestigious Eton College. 

During the 1870s and 1880s, Arthur Kinnaird became one of football's biggest stars at the time.

Not only was he a prolific player for Wanderers and Old Etonians but he also remains one of the most decorated players in the history of the FA Cup, winning the tournament a total of five times (three times for Wanderers and twice for Old Etonians) between 1873 and 1882.

After putting his playing days behind him, however, Arthur Kinnaird went on to become the President of the Football Association in 1890.

It was a position he held until his death 33 years later in January 1923, just months before Bolton Wanderers won the first-ever FA Cup final at Wembley. 

Arthur Kinnaird, 11th Lord Kinnaird (1847 - 1923), principal of The Football Association, talking to a soccer player during a match at a stadium, UK, circa 1910.Arthur Kinnaird (centre)

Who plays Arthur Kinnaird in the series?

Playing Arthur Kinnaird in the Netflix series is Edward Holcroft.

The 32-year-old actor is best known for his role as Charlie Hesketh in the film Kingsman: The Secret Service and its sequel The Golden Circle.

Other major roles he's held include Aaron in Vampire Academy, Alex in London Spy, Thomas Wintour in Gunpowder and Dr Simon Jordan in Netflix's Alias Grace.

All six episodes of The English Game are available to stream now on Netflix.

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